We've been wondering when Maggie Gallagher- cofounder of the National Organization for Marriage- the flash-in-the-pan platoon of grifters and bilkers of the Knights of Columbus- would look up from her recent preoccupation- explaining how the bogus reparative therapy outfit on whose board she sits didn't deserve that New Jersey jury's judgment for committing consumer fraud- and weigh in on the Kim Davis case.
Now she has, and in the process, illuminates how political protest- Left and Right- has been reduced to self-promotion and money-beg pretext since The Man figured out it's easier to skip the Bull Connor stuff and just haul them away to a quick booking, release on personal recog and a small fine.
When Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience, he'd spent time in jail for defying a law he felt was wrong. Actions have consequences, and sometimes they are onerous. Gandhi, Dr King, and Nelson Mandela are just three of the luminaries who have made the point in large and lasting ways.
Maggie Gallagher dutifully pays tribute to this tradition in a National Review article (with the obligatory NR jab at The Negroes):
Kim Davis is showing us what conscience looks like. After all, getting in front of a slavishly approving media à la Ferguson does not confer moral significance on one’s willingness to break the civil law for a higher law. What makes civil disobedience noble is a willingness to sacrifice, if necessary, rather than submit to the civil law.But then comes the modernist take on civil disobedience, now shouted from the rooftops by the politicovangelist classes:
But is civil disobedience really necessary? The conscientious objector’s willingness to pay a price throws the ball back into our court: Are we satisfied with this result? Can we do better? Do we want to?This is the cri de coeur of the conservative couch potato, the angry precinct captain. "Why do we have to go to jail? Why can't we just get a law passed that says we can do what we want? And why do the ones we've already got on the books leave us feeling like one of our congresscritter's cheapest dates? He told us he would fix this!"
There is, to be sure, something risible in the spectacle of Ms. Davis- barely a year into her accession as Hereditary Clerk of Rowan, after decades of patient, Prince Charles-like waiting- hearing (seeking solace, the $80K paycheck stuck in her mother's aging hand, in Excel spreadsheet adventures like bearing husband #3's kids while married to husband #1, then getting husband #2 to adopt them before marrying husband #3, then ditching him to remarry husband #2) over and over from the oracles at Fox News and the Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Marriage and American Center for Law and Justice and Professor John C. Eastman (Gallagher's go-to litigator for NOM), that when the Supreme Court speaks, you can just ignore them; then having to go, hat in hand, to federal court to ask permission to ignore the Supreme Court some more.
And then getting put in jail by the illegitimate federal court, by a federal judge appointed, age 34, as a patronage treat to his Republican US Senator father by President George W. Bush? The world is truly upside down when your own side won't do for you as you done for them, election after election. I mean, really?
But the adults of the Republican Party try to remind their fractious offspring that treating the law like the all you can eat salad bar at the Sizzler can bite you back in unexpected ways. The kids stamp their feet and say well, if you let me take brother Jimmy along, between us we'd be over 18 and could get into that party.
It's like talking to someone with a criminal in the family: everyone should be in jail but ours. Law for thee, a good lawyer for me.
Maggie Gallagher can rarely write without revealing her puckish sense of humor, as when she frets that Kim Davis sits in jail at taxpayer expense, but still drawing a taxpayer paycheck. And she ends with her usual stirring call to Republicans to stop being such pussies and stand up and do something. Anything. Just don't make her do the jail thing. Acts of conscience are most stirring in the abstract.