Thursday, January 31, 2019

Have Catholics Become Expendable to Democrats?

There is a rule of headlines which says that for any which asks a question, the answer is "no."  That's fair, and I don't mind running against that. I write this more to note that the question would have been impossible to even ask until quite recently, and to wonder if this is a trend.

The amazingly ignorant statements by Kamala Harris and others, suggesting that the Knights of Columbus is an alt-right organisation, or the easy attacks on Catholic high school students, and the very calculated attacks on Roman Catholic as judges - from lapsed Catholics like Pelosi, in order to paint the others as fanatics - causes me to wonder what is up.  It struck me a suicidal at first, because I am so aware of the importance of Irish Catholics to the Democrats in New England, especially Massachusetts.  I have known people who let me know angrily and bitterly that they would never vote for a Republican because of what Protestants had done to their families in the 50's - or the 20's. The Kennedys were not unusual for Massachusetts, but utterly representative. I understand it is the same in Chicago, and would therefore bet that Irish Catholics were strongly Democratic in other cities as well.

There has been some puzzling over the years why Irish and other ethnic Catholics have remained loyal to the Democrats all these decades when they have been so clearly the more abortion-friendly party, and the usual explanation is how successful the Democrats have been at framing it as something that I Myself Find Clearly Wrong, but not something to be required of others in a diverse society.  This has been a successful strategy among African-Americans as well.  My own take is that this is evidence that identifying with a culture as a whole is more important than any part of it, even its religion. Yet whatever the reason, the thing is a fact, at least in my neck of the woods. Even The Dropkick Murphys and the rough youth of Quincy, who you might think would at least consider the anti-elitist appeal of Donald Trump, remain aggressively Democrat.  Because that's who they are.

It was a thing, at least.  Maybe that is not so true now.  My examples are of people my age or older, and I am no longer young. The old Irish Democrats are not going to change no matter what you do to them now, and the younger ones no longer attend Mass all that often. Perhaps they are easily persuaded that Catholicism is a separable piece, and old-fashioned (the horror!). I don't have my finger on the pulse of that at all.

One would think this is ripe for ridicule.  Is Notre Dame an alt-right school?  Is Boston College, where John Kerry got his law degree, now a dangerous place?  The colleges may get a pass, of course, because Catholic colleges are not always very Catholic anymore.  Georgetown comes to mind. They seem to have been co-opted into the religion of liberalism.


Grim said...

Liberal/Progressives rely on nuns to do a lot of their legwork and organizing, so I don't think they're going to dispose of Catholics. This is especially true in terms of bringing in aliens and resettling them.

I think the Democrats think that they can break Catholics away from the parts of the doctrine they don't like, so that organizations that are serious about adhering to Church doctrine can be safely painted as extremists. Abortion is the wedge.

I mean, Ireland just voted to legalize abortion. It's a wedge that is successful because, well, lots and lots of women want to be able to have sex without pregnancy. Lots of men want to have sex with them, too, without a baby coming out of it that will alter their lives.

(Altars are fine, as long as they don't "alter" anything.)

Once you give up the Church's doctrine on abortion, the rest of the sexuality doctrines are easily set aside; and they have to be, in order to be a good neighbor who won't disapprove of the gay married couple down the street. And once you've done all that, well, the Church remains very useful for all those other purposes.

james said...

Is Catholicism there more of a faith or a cultural thing? "We're Irish, therefore we're Catholic by definition, and if the pope dissents, so much the worse for him."

Sam L. said...

Catholic colleges are not really Catholic any more.

Laura said...

There's some question over whether Trump won the Catholic vote or not-- it was, in any event, a near-run thing. Probably, older Catholics and more actively religious Catholics broke slightly for Trump, and younger/less actively Catholic voters broke for Clinton. IOW, we're a long way away from 1960, where Catholics voted in a block the way African-Americans vote now. There are some "ethnic Catholics" out there, but in my experience, it doesn't make sense to say "ethnic Catholic" the same way you can say "secular Jew", or even "atheist Jew". Most Catholics who leave the faith call themselves "former Catholics" or "collapsed Catholics" or "ex-Catholics" or "nones" (or whatever). They're maybe ethnically Irish, for one more generation anyway, but they don't say "Catholic" unless there's at least some level of connection to the religion (say being married in the Church, or baptizing their kids, or going to Church at Christmas and Easter).

My explanation of the political phenomenon is, most of the Democratic leadership comes from an aggressively secular, urban group. They don't know anything about religion (any religion). They don't know anybody personally who is significantly motivated by religion in any way. So, somebody who actually is, is some sort of illogical freak to them, and they're not likely to encounter anybody in their "real" lives who contradicts this. The Kennedy's had Rose Kennedy, and perhaps Bobby, as "serious" Catholics, in amongst the various rogues and wastrels and strap-hangers. Today's Kennedys, or anybody else in the leadership, has nobody who actually limits their lives/appetites/actions based on a religious belief.

So, they make their decisions based on what they see/feel in their personal lives-- they know nobody who takes Catholicism seriously, as a serious check on their actions; they can't imagine any opposition to Democratic policies as based on anything but viciousness and bias; they get privately rewarded by their friends for holding these revanchists and bigots to account, finally. That this is utterly counterproductive for people trying to win competitive districts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc. (or the Electoral College, for that matter) is irrelevant to them. Or, at least, "emotionally invisible". All of their friends approve vigorously of hassling traditionalist Catholics as bigots, anyway, and they get fundraising commitments for "fighting" or "resisting" or whatever, so...

I've been wondering more and more lately if the Democrats are basically doing a "Thelma and Louise" right now.

bart simpsonson said...

Everyone white (except the actual Ruling Class and Donor Class of the party) has become expendable to the Evil Party, particularly since many of those Expendables are less and less reliable voters. The Evil Party is putting most of their eggs (hopes) long-term in the illegal invader basket. New Democrat voters is the reason that opposition to any increased enforcement or increased deportations is the hill that the Democrat Party will defend to the death...............hopefully it will be their undoing.