Virtue Signalling and How Progressives Kill the Movement

Lucinda Gunnin
4 min readMay 3, 2022


Like many people, I woke up this morning to the news that a leaked opinion indicates the United States Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe V Wade, effectively ending federal abortion rights for American women.

There is a lot to unpack in the leaked opinion and a lot to look at, not the least of which is the impact overturning the decision will have on Americans’ right to privacy. Roe has long been the primary protection of individual privacy rights.

But this isn’t about that. This is about how progressives, and by that I mean anyone who isn’t a conservative, are killing themselves and any forward progress this country tries to make.

One of the first things I saw on Twitter this morning was someone had told David Hogg that as a white cis het man he shouldn’t speaking about abortion rights. Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, has a huge following. His platform gets the word out. Telling him that since he doesn’t have a uterus he can’t speak about abortion is exactly the problem the left has.

Recently, I’ve seen this in many forms. Some on the left said no one who wasn’t Black should be speaking out about the Chris Rock/Will Smith incident. The theory was that non-Black people couldn’t identify with the concerns the slap raised.

And to some extent, they were right. As a white woman, I cannot speak to the question of whether the slap perpetuates the myth of violence in Black men and if that has a chilling effect on efforts to reduce racism against Black people.

But I can and did say that as a person with a sometime visible autoimmune condition, Rock’s treatment of Jada Pinkett Smith was abusive and violent. I can and did say that as a wife, I would hope my husband was as willing to step up and defend me as Will Smith was for his wife. And I could say that I did not see the verbal violence Rock perpetuated as any different than the physical violence Will Smith responded with.

A whole lot of people said that as a white woman I had no place in the conversation. They are likely the same ones telling Hogg he has no place in a discussion about abortion rights or telling white suburbanites that they have no place speaking about Black Lives Matter.


No, white women should not be leading the conversation about Black Lives, but we should be echoing it and uplifting those voices. We should be calling out racism and bullshit and police violence. We should be saying over and over until our fellow white people listen that Black Lives Matter.

Disabled people should not lead the conversation about the misconception of violence among Black Americans. But we absolutely should point out that verbal violence against the disabled is just as harmful as physical violence. We should be calling out “jokes” that are ableist and harmful to disabled people. We should point out that autoimmune conditions don’t make you ugly or less than. We should be holding Jada up with love and affection and support.

And David Hogg might not be the best person to lead the conversation about what it means to lose Roe v Wade, but he shouldn’t be silenced. He should be allowed to be angry on behalf of those he loves and even those he doesn’t know. Men should be, must be, offended that women are being returned to some subservient status just because the right wing was able to rally behind a single cause.

As a political movement, liberals have a lot to learn from our counterparts. We need to stop dividing ourselves.

No one was asking Hogg not to support abortion rights. They were simply telling him shut up and sit down about it. And that is utter bullshit.

Instead of looking for a unicorn candidate that is perfect, or deciding that only people who are directly impacted by something can talk about it, we need to unite and get things done.

As a bi-sexual woman who has been in what appears to be a cishet relationship for 20 years, I don’t need to be the face of the LGBTQ movement, but I also shouldn’t be silent.

As a colonizer white girl through and through, I should not be the lead voice about Native issues or Black Lives Matter, but I should be out here talking about missing and exploited Native woman, the ridiculously high chance a Black child has of being mistreated or killed by the police, and the efforts of the other side to disenfranchise all of these people.

And I sure as hell shouldn’t be telling people that they don’t get to have an opinion on these huge societal issues.

Does David Hogg get to decide if someone should have an abortion? Nope. That’s a woman’s choice and the only people who get an opinion are those she invites to have an opinion about it.

But he is welcome to have an opinion about efforts to oppress women and to exacerbate the health divide between poor women and rich women. In fact, I hope that he does. I hope that he tells everyone he knows what a bad choice this is for the Supreme Court and for the country. And I hope at least one other cishet white guy hears him and understands what it means to women.

I hope that the good men out there are talking about things that don’t impact them directly, but are important and need to be changed. We can use all the help we can get.



Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She’s a news junky, sushi addict, and geek extraordinaire.