It’s not just social conservatives who have been left out in the lurch in this gubernatorial election. Fathers Rights advocates have already accepted the inevitability of a hostile administration come November.
In the last election, we actually had a choice: Cast a protest vote for the indefatigable and outspoken independent candidate Barbara Johnson, an unrelenting advocate for Fathers Rights who practiced what she preached in the courtroom. Or, if we didn’t want to ˜waste’ our vote, we could opt for the safer of the two major party candidates, Mitt Romney. Being not a Democrat, he was perceived as least likely to adopt policies further exacerbating the already intolerant plight of men who insist on maintaining their parental rights following divorce.
In hindsight, most would agree that Mitt Romney could not have been elected Governor in Massachusetts without reversing his position on abortion. This is simply the realpolitik in our state. Even so, it took Democratic opponent Shannon O’Brien’s critical miscalculation of the limits to which extreme feminist principles are actually shared by the average voter to ensure his victory. Recall, in a televised debate days before the election, O’Brien took the position that minors should be allowed to have abortions without their parents’ consent.
During his administration the Governor refused our efforts to engage him on the devastation to men and their children by the state’s anti-father policies on child custody, child support, and the issue that is particularly germane to the present election: domestic violence”more specifically, the state’s notorious abuse prevention law, 209A.
Whereas the best we got from Romney was a holding pattern, his second-in-command, Kerry Healey, made 209A and domestic violence one of her signature issues.
Candidate Healey’s strategy appears to be to adopt feminist positions on social issues (with the exception of gay marriage, though she supports civil unions) to try to drain some of the women’s vote from its traditional position in the base of the Democratic Party. Socially progressive Healey champions abortion on demand”excuse me, choice”and goes further by adopting radical positions on domestic violence exemplified by her crusade for ankle bracelets for 209A defendants.
But in her attempt to appeal to the women’s vote, she will lose a big chunk of the men’s vote”particularly those who have suffered the loss of their children because of the injustices institutionalized in our family courts. Her tough talk on restraining orders and gender crimes and her position on abortion will do for Massachusetts what the Mark Foley scandal threatens to do nationally: drive Republicans away from the polls. Only the most naïve advocates in the Fathers Rights community fail to recognize that 209A and the abuse prevention/domestic violence regime are key components of the ˜perfect beast’ carefully constructed over the past several decades that manufactures ˜deadbeat dads.’
Kerry Healey is right on one thing: 209A should be an important campaign issue. She’s just completely wrong on what needs to be done about it. For every flagrant injustice whereby a violent man escapes punishment through legal loopholes, there are a hundred innocent men who suffer from the blank-check provisions of a law that treats every man accused of a gender crime as guilty until proven innocent. The majority of 209A abuse protection orders are taken out by women who are in no fear of danger, but rather use the ˜protection’ order to gain power and control of the alleged ˜abuser,’ especially in divorce and child custody litigation. These bogus restraining orders are the direct cause of real violence and mayhem, as we are frequently reminded in the news.
Those who have been personally affected by this know to beware of politicians like Healey who claim ˜expertise’ in domestic violence. What that invariably means is that the ˜expert’ has been indoctrinated in the victim-feminist paradigm, which is, unfortunately, the only viewpoint presented in social science and criminal justice curricula.
At the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Violence Against Women Act last year, experts who advocated for eliminating the gender bias in the law and sought to inform the committee on facts contradicting the standard model were simply prevented from giving testimony. Only the shills from the domestic violence industry who have zero objectivity and present a completely one-sided and false picture were invited to testify. Senator Joseph Biden, who prides himself on his role in the creation of VAWA, would not allow the committee to hear one word from one person who might challenge the party line.
Some professional criminologists have gone on record criticizing Healey’s professed expertise in criminal justice. According to a recent Boston Globe article*, members of the American Society of Criminology have formed a group, Massachusetts Criminologists for Justice, expressly to raise concerns about Healey.
James Alan Fox, the Northeastern University criminal justice professor who started the group, said that they are offended by Healey’s claim to being a career criminologist, and then using that authority to advance a campaign that is so out of line with justice credentials.
If the Republican Party is serious about making some headway in Massachusetts, they should consider giving social conservatives a reason to vote. Pandering to the liberal left on feminist issues guarantees Democratic hegemony on Beacon Hill for years to come. Remember, Margaret Marshall and most of our liberal judges were Republican appointees. With a Deval Patrick administration, is it possible that we may some day look back on this as the good old days?
* Criminologists group takes on Healey Assails her ads, political agenda, Boston Globe, Oct. 19