I came across the following article while scrolling through my social media news feed, “Jeannie Gaffigan: My loved ones told me ‘real’ Catholics vote from Trump. Here’s my response.” Source: America Magazine
I encourage you to read it for yourself before reading my summary and commentary. But, if you’re limited on time, here’s a direct paragraph taken from her article that seems to best summarize her main ideas,
“My faith, family and Catholic education have given me the belief in the innate dignity and worth of every single human being. Human life is sacred, and all humans have equal value. Of course, this means it is wrong to intentionally take a human life under any circumstances, but it is also wrong to disregard human life through racism, unjust social and economic structures, providing inadequate access to health care, wantonly harming the environment, abusing or neglecting anyone—a child, a mother, a father, a grandparent, an immigrant. I am not sure how one thing that harms a life can be weighted more strongly than another, but based on the reaction to Jim’s now-infamous tweetstorm, it is abundantly clear that there is a segment of the Catholic Church that feels that the single issue of abortion, for lack of a better word, trumps every other evil. Somehow a vote against Mr. Trump has become synonymous with not only being a “bad Catholic” but ultimately, being complicit in murder. And even worse, the murder of ‘society’s most vulnerable.’”
Ultimately, this Catholic author has been criticized by her community because she is voting for Joe Biden. She has found that the Catholic community mainly votes for the candidate that is pro-life without considering their other policies. She is voting for Biden because she agrees with his stance on multiple policies, so she is willing to acquiesce on his pro-abortion stance.
I find her argument, as presented in her article, to be illogical because she assumes and conflates. First, she assumes that Biden’s policies on racism, the economy, healthcare, the environment, and immigration are superior to Trump’s policies on such issues. However, she makes no case for each of these policies. Her whole argument for voting for Joe Biden is because of his other policies, yet she avoids defending a single one.
Second, she conflates these complicated issues down into one concept, social justice. In other words, she claims that voting for Biden is worth it because his policies fight for social justice. Note one of her concluding statements, “it is crystal clear to me that the right thing to do is vote for Joe Biden. I believe it will be impossible to tackle these other issues with a president who is working overtime to sow division and hatred in this country through insults, intimidation, fear and blatant racism.” Oddly, she turned the conversation from policy to a personal attack. She avoids supporting her claim and does not show how Biden’s policies support social justice and bring the country together. Instead, she throws out a personal attack calling Trump a racist and blames him for tearing our country apart. She goes further to support her argument that Trump is a racist by linking to an article titled, “Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2020,” from Vox. I have a hard time taking such an article objectively when it comes from a politically left news source. Even if she did convince me that Trump is a racist, it would still be a distraction from her main argument!
So, it appears that the author of this article is voting for Biden because he isn’t Trump! She agrees with Trump’s policy on abortion and disagrees with Biden’s stance on abortion yet makes no case for Biden’s other policies. Instead, she attempts to seal the deal with trending words such as social justice and racism. It appears that her audience is Catholics because the title indicates that this is a response to them. If that’s the case, then she has failed to provide solid reasons for why they should push aside their pro-life stance for the sake of other policies.
Although I am a Reformed Christian, not a Catholic, I was drawn to this article. Historically, Christians and Catholics accept a pro-life stance on the issue of abortion, albeit they disagree on several other topics. As a pro-lifer, I need clear cut examples, not buzzwords, to convince me to vote for a candidate that is pro-abortion. I am open to hearing some explicit, not-vague arguments for Joe Biden and his policies. I would prefer arguments that are void of reasons why Trump is the worst. I was hoping this article would do that, but it did not.
- A Catholic author is criticized by the Catholic community for voting for Biden despite his pro-abortion policies.
- She aims to have her readers consider all the policies a candidate stands for instead of voting for them because of one single issue.
- Yet, she assumes all of Biden’s policies are superior to Trump’s policies without providing reasons for this.
- If she intended to convince the reader to consider voting for Joe Biden despite his pro-abortion policies, she did not give any convincing reasons.