[CONTENT NOTE: abortion rights.]
If I had known it was a link to the Times, I never would have clicked on it. But in my defense, I was reading a decent if lightweight article about Rep. Maxine Waters [h/t Alyssa] elsewhere, when I happened upon this passage:
Waters’ forthright condemnation of right-wing media came as a relief—and a rallying point—for Democrats sick of mainstream articles urging them to abandon abortion advocacy, or talk less about trans rights, or stop speaking out against sexism and racism. Critics have argued that these moves are necessary to broaden the party’s appeal and win back white working-class voters who swung from Barack Obama to Trump, and are credited with winning the election.
What fuckery is this? I wondered. How and why would “mainstream articles” possibly justify such demonstrably counterproductive nonsense?
So I clicked on “abortion advocacy.” And down the NYT rabbit hole I went.
The author of this terrible piece urging urging Democrats to abandon abortion advocacy is one Thomas H. Groome, a “professor of theology and religious education” at Boston College. Naturally I loathed this d00d already. After all, the word theology comes from the Greek logos, meaning “knowledge,” and theos, meaning “nothing” (which, as we well know ’round these parts, is synonymous with “gods”). I’ve found pretty consistently that people who dedicate their lives to the study of nothing have, unsurprisingly, very little wisdom to offer. And yet! These self-blinkered folks are also constitutionally incapable of keeping their spectacularly uninformed opinions to themselves. This is annoying as fuck, obviously. Worse still, they tend to lean conservative—with all of the empathy deficiency, narcissism, entitlement, ignorance and 100%-wrongness-about-everything that implies. Alas, this Thomas H. Groome d00d is one such tediously typical specimen.
The good professor opens his New York Times piece thusly:
When I came to this country from Ireland some 45 years ago, a cousin, here 15 years before, advised me that Catholics vote Democratic. Having grown up in the Irish Republic, I was well disposed to Republican Party principles like local autonomy and limited government. Yet a commitment to social justice, so central to my faith, seemed better represented by the Democratic Party.
If only Professor Groome had just listened to his gut back in 1972, we would not be subjected to a bizarre article entitled “To Win Again, Democrats Must Stop Being the Abortion Party” today. *sigh*
But wait—social justice is central to Catholicism? Sure. No misogyny, racism, homophobia, anti-semitism, child sexual abuse and institutional cover-ups, labor exploitation, slavery or human trafficking to see here, people! JUST MOVE ALONG.
Our professor friend then goes on to blame Hillary Clinton’s “unqualified support for abortion rights” for the thin margin of Catholics who voted for Trump over Clinton. We’ll get to Groome’s projection in a minute, but I want to point something out here:
HILLARY CLINTON’S SUPPORT FOR ABORTION RIGHTS IS NOT UNQUALIFIED.
She said, and this Groome character himself quotes her saying, “I strongly support Roe v. Wade.” In case you are unaware, Roe v. Wade is a 1973 United States Supreme Court decision available for anyone to read—including, presumably, professors at Boston College. If it does nothing else, that decision qualifies abortion rights.
How else to explain the relentless barrage of lawsuits over abortion restrictions since 1973, if not to determine precisely what these qualifications on abortion rights are? If the law of the land were indeed that abortion rights are “unqualified” (yes, I wish), there would be no legal basis for states restricting them—and by extension no cause for lawsuits challenging those restrictions.
This next part is where Groome’s bullshit starts really stinking up the joint.
By tradition and by our church’s teaching on social justice [?! –Ed.], many Catholics could readily return to voting reliably Democratic. But for this to happen, their moral concerns regarding abortion must get a hearing within the party, rather than being summarily dismissed. How might that happen?
To begin with, Democratic politicians should publicly acknowledge that abortion is an issue of profound moral and religious concern.
Abortion may be “an issue of profound moral and religious concern” to Thomas H. Groome, but he is in the minority of U.S. Catholics. In fact, Catholic support for abortion rights is almost exactly the same as the general population, with 53 to 51 percent, respectively, agreeing that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. I guess there are no basic math requirements for theology degrees, but that is what’s generally called “a majority.” Perhaps even more relevant, Catholics themselves have abortions at the same (or higher?) rates than members of other Christian denominations do.
But would holding a minority view on abortion ever stop likes of Thomas H. Groome from speaking about it on behalf of Catholic voters? Please. As if! No, he feels compelled to ‘splain to the Democratic party that it needs to jettison its (already inexcusably tepid) support for abortion rights in order to appeal to a slim margin of anti-choice Catholics. These are (allegedly) voters who went for Trump primarily because of their precious fee-fees about other people’s personal medical decisions. I’m no Karl Rove, but if the majority of Catholics (like the majority of USAmericans) are pro-choice, well, gosh, shouldn’t a party that wants to win elections appeal to them?
Democrats should not threaten to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funds to be used for abortion except in extreme circumstances.
Democratic politicians should also continue to frame their efforts to improve health and social services as a way to decrease abortions.
Why? Because Thomas Groome and his ilk are weirdly obsessed with other people’s medical procedures? I think not. How about instead, Democratic politicians frame their efforts to improve health and social services as a way to…oh, I dunno, improve health and social services?
The abortion rate dropped 21 percent from 2009 to 2014. That downward trend would most likely end if Republicans eliminate contraception services provided through the Affordable Care Act.
…and they will eliminate contraception services at the behest of—drumroll please!—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. And when they do? Well I for one cannot wait to read what this jackhole will write urging the Democratic party to drop its support for contraception to win back the anti-contraception Catholic vote. (No doubt The New York Times will be happy to run it, too.)
That Donald Trump, claiming to be anti-abortion, got the majority of Catholic votes to defeat a competent and decent Democrat underscores the continuing influence of abortion in American politics.
At this point, it should surprise no one that Thomas H. Groome is talking out of his pompous ass once again. Here he is, attributing (with no evidence) Catholic defections from (supposedly) reliable Democratic voters to Trump as proof that all of them share his rather off-putting insistence on other people’s involuntary servitude to fetuses. Project much, Tommy? SO SAD!
If Democrats want to regain the Catholic vote, they must treat abortion as a moral issue, work for its continued reduction and articulate a more nuanced message than, “We support Roe v. Wade.”
Okay, you know what? Fuck nuance. Fuck Catholics who voted for Donald Trump, especially if they did so primarily over objections to the human right to bodily autonomy. Until Catholic leaders are lobbying for Involuntary Organ Donation 4 All, they can shut the fuck up about the contents of other people’s uteri. Seriously, if you can’t get with the women-are-people program, just stay the fuck away from the Democratic party. It has more than enough problems with sexism as it is, thankyouverymuch. Go sit your ass down with the Republican misogynists and religious bigots where you belong. You’ll feel better! I’ll feel better. And hey, when you’re there, why not do everyone a favor and ‘splain at your fellow Republicans all that social justice stuff you value so much, huh? WIN-WIN.
I kid, I kid. No one can credibly claim to support social justice while knowing—and one damn well should know, if one is going to hold forth on the subject in the pages of The New York Times—that abortion restrictions result in no fewer abortions, only more dead and maimed women. That is why, if you take an anti-choice position, you are simply a run-of-the-mill misogynist. (And in Groome’s case, a rather dull one at that.)
Groome’s little screed is nothing less than a transparent plea to push the Democratic party even farther to the right, by appealing to a fetus-worshiping minority of Catholics. Yep, that sure sounds like a winning strategy.
We know all too well how the Democratic party’s shift rightward has worked out for the country, and for the Dems too. Conservative Democrats lose elections (particularly midterms) because the party’s base is understandably unenthusiastic enough about them to withhold support. The party hierarchy, however, is stubbornly determined keep them in leadership positions, to fund and support their primary campaigns against actual lefties, and to flood the House and Senate with these fuckers whenever possible. It’s not hard to understand why, really: they may not inspire the voters, but they definitely bring in the Wall $treet cash.
Yet the professor thinks Dems simply cannot prevail without his merry band of like-minded anti-choice Catholics—who, may I remind you, are in the minority of Catholics. We already know he’s not very good with math or statistics, but I really have to wonder how he thinks Democrats can prevail by alienating the majority of women.
Perhaps for his next treatise, Professor Groome will ‘splain to us why Democratic women should support candidates who treat their bodies with the same contempt Republicans do. I’m sure The New York Times will happily publish that crap, too.
Tl;dr: Apparently, they let any tool be a professor up there at Boston College. Also, The New York Times is confused and thinks it’s now owned by Rupert Murdoch. Hell, maybe it is. IDGAF.
Have a nice day.