Friday, September 04, 2015

Snark Week

Look, I'll go along with the argument that verbally smacking Kentucky dingbat Kim Davis around for her looks or her (in the past) apparently loose moral code might not be all that productive, might even be something that the flying monkeys on the other side would do. [Ed.: There's no "might" about it.]

But Davis chose to put her selective religious observations above the law, above the functions of her job, above basic common decency. And because her cause is explicitly deciding who can and can't get married on her watch, because said institution is a sacrament in the eyes of gawwwd, it is fair game to point out that Davis' own track record with said institution is a hell of a lot worse than what she takes it upon herself to impose on others.

Since Davis was elected rather than hired, she can't simply be fired. But instead of letting her make herself into a martyr behind bars, maybe the county board of supervisors might initiate a recall election, or a recommendation to suspend and dismiss Davis, something along that line.

Over the past year or two, we've seen several high-profile stories where small businesses owned by religious people have been fined, threatened online, etc., by your garden-variety social justice warriors looking to set them straight. Those folks I can see a little more neutrally, in the sense that within reasonable bounds, small businesses should have the right to refuse service to people you deem objectionable.

The line gets finer and the slope gets more slippery as you try to parse the intellectual difference between refusing to bake a cake for a neo-Nazi versus a gay couple versus a black person, but for now, if I don't want to (for example) give a guitar lesson to someone who posts on Stormfront and talks about his love for Hitler and hatred for those people, that's my right. The point (and there is one) is that it is possible to have an intellectually honest debate about small business rights, and air both sides to at least some extent. (Should a neo-Nazi who owns a small business be compelled to serve me, even though he's offended by what I said about people like him?)

But Kim Davis is a public servant, and the Supreme Court has affirmed the right for same-sex couples to petition the state to recognize their union. No clergyman can be compelled to officiate their ceremony, no beleaguered baker or hand-wringing photographer can be forced to cater or capture the magic moments. But the person who issues the licenses can and should be expected to do her job.

The hypocrisy of Davis' personal history simply serves to illustrate not only her own ethical impasse with what she's trying to impose on others in defiance of the law and the government she works for. Like the Duggar family and countless other religious folks who've made it their mission to hector and lecture us heathens about our wicked ways, Davis' hypocrisy serves as yet another in a long line, a veritable pattern of this sort of "do as I say, not as I do" behavior. That is precisely why it is not only okay, but practically necessary to hoist these idjits on their own petards every time it happens.

And the louder they proclaim their virtue, the more likely it is bound to happen. Say what you want about Larry King and Mickey Rooney, they never took it upon themselves to serve as moral arbiters of the personal lives of consenting adults.

No comments: