Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dumb Op-Ed Du Jour

An America gone mad?  I might buy it.... but not from the Kim Davis story.  How is it mad?

Step 1:  Courts rule that gay marriage is peachy (ok, more complex than that, but that is the gist).  Equal protection under the law and all that.  Not mad, at least not mad unless you are homophobic and that is probably not Colby Cosh's point.

Step 2: Kim Davis, one of a very small group of clerks, refuses to implement the new law of the land.  Others said they would but backed down.  That thousands of officials in similar spots are following the law shows that the system works.  Oops.

Step 3: Irate individuals take issue with Davis's stance and go to court.  Courts ultimately rule that Kim Davis in contempt of court.  System works again.

Step 4: Kim Davis becomes today's cause celebre among pandering Republicans.  Big whoop.

In sum, the US is getting the right outcome.  So where is the madness?  That Davis is a Democrat?  That she is being disowned by her party and supported by the other?  That the son of Jim Bunning, a pitcher turned judge, is going to rule against her?

The only madness here is defining this situation as testifying to the madness of state of American politics.   Stick to focusing on Trump and his supporters--there you have an argument.

Well done, troll, well done.


Anonymous said...

The underlying issue surrounding the Kim Davis controversy has been the strange feature of many state judicial systems in the U.S. - the election of county clerks - leaving limited options to enforce the law if an obvious infraction occurs (http://huff.to/1KZ0hvQ). Sure, the ACLU can protest that jail time was too blunt a punishment, but their alternative (fining for contempt) allows her to keep her job and continue to refuse issuing marriage licences. As a result, the only other means of removing her would be to wait a year for an uncertain impeachment process; at least Mr. Cosh here admits this.

Still, he reduces everything to "the [fire-breathing] judge indulgently overlooked his impudence" and "a 19th-century blood feud between moonshiners." What a testament of willful ignorance. Yes, the judge, David Bunning, is the son of a nutty Republican Senator and was appointed likely due to nepotism (Cosh got it wrong, it was Dubya who did it and not GHWB). At the same time, it's hard not to be sympathetic given the situation he was handed. And yes, Davis is a southern Democrat or "Dixiecrat." It's not a surprise why the media doesn't find that fact relevant, just as it's not surprising why only right-wingers have gone to such lengths to defend her (http://wapo.st/1QeCR5K).

Then again, should we accept any better from Colby "Ruth Ellen Brousseau" Cosh, ground-breaking political commentator of National Post and Maclean's?

Anonymous said...

Okay, the laws changed on Davis, but let's put this in other terms. Let's suppose that it's an Orthodox Jew who is the postmaster of some town/city and he decides that it's against his religion to be open on some holiday or on Saturdays. Does his religious values get to trump everything?

If so, can we discriminate against people with religious values that clash with modern society? Can we say no Orthodox Jew can be a postmaster because such a person *might* close the post office on Saturday to the inconvenience of every non-Orthodox Jew?

Or is the real issue that Kim Davis's values are different because they are mainstream? In which case, how fair is that?

Steve Saideman said...

The difference here is that Kim Davis seeks to discriminate among the various people seeking legal services while your example is of someone who chooses not to do their job one day a week. So the analogy is not perfect. A reasonable accommodation can be made for your example--the Orthodox Jew can work on non-Saturdays. But Kim Davis has been unreasonable--that she was not letting those beneath her do their jobs.