"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Today's Must Read

This post, from Gaius Publius at Hullabaloo:

I had a different group of pieces I've been working on recently, revolving around a recent interview by Noam Chomsky that touches on our so-called "capitalism" and also on the Bernie Sanders candidacy. But this video sets that up nicely. It's a ten-minute speech by long-time British politico and Labour Party member Tony Benn, sadly recently deceased.

Here's the video:

GP has done a partial transcript at the link. Key quote:

So privatization is a deliberate policy, along with the destruction of local democracy and the destruction of the trade unions to restore power back to to where it was. And what we're now back in, that's what the whole crisis is about, the restoration of power to those who've always controlled the world, the people who own the land and the resources and all the rest of it. And that is something we need to understand. ...

Since I live in a state and city with a governor and mayor who belief fervently in privatization (one Republican, one Democrat, but both oligarchs), this sort of hits home -- aside from the fact that I can see it happening across the country.

I think I need a long walk in the park.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Let the Protests Begin!

Roland Emmerich's film Stonewall had its official premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and of course, trans activists were there.

LGBT protesters crashed the red carpet at the world premiere of Stonewall at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). They say the film downplays the key role that trans people of colour and lesbian activists played in the 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movement in the US. TIFF fans weren't happy to see them. Stonewall’s gay director, Roland Emmerich, tells Daily Xtra he wanted to make a movie for everybody. “I never quite understood this whole word of ‘whitewashing,’” he says.

I lost patience with the whole "whitewashing" and "erasing trans people" arguments when they were trotted out in reaction to a two-minute trailer. Nobody ever gets a clear idea of what a movie's actually about from a trailer. And of course, you can imagine how much sympathy I have for those "activists" who rail on about white cis-gender gay men -- as though we had nothing to do with gaining any ground in the civil rights arena.

As for Emmerich rewriting history, there are some illuminating comments at this story at Towleroad. For example, commenter FLL has a couple of actual facts:

(1) Sylvia Rivera and was not present at the Stonewall Riots. There is testimony showing that Sylvia wasn't there (please see my reply to Darien Taylor below). So why does the protester in the clip above wear a t-shirt that mentions Sylvia Rivera?

(2) In all these years, no one has ever come forward to suggest that Miss Majors was present during any of the rioting. It's obvious by listening to any interviews Miss Majors has given that she is lying.

(3) The unidentified white lesbian who was the victim of police brutality was exactly that, an unidentified white lesbian. She was not Stormé DeLarverie, who is an African-American. Stomé herself always refused to verify that she was the lesbian in question. The policeman beating the lesbian with his nightstick enraged the crowd of mostly white gay men. The unidentified white lesbian was the victim, not the "leader." The only leader which took action was the crowd itself.

I remember hearing about the riots a couple of years after the fact (news coverage wasn't what you'd call "extensive"), and remember the reports of drag queens and gay men rioting. Suddenly, by the '80s and the rise of the New Left, the whole thing was the work of trans folk. (I'm not going to belabor a possible connection there -- draw your own conclusions.) I noted here the documentary evidence that white gay men were, indeed, the majority of the protesters.

As for the film itself, I've only seen a couple of reviews (I admit to being somewhat turned off by blog posts rejoicing in the fact that critics are panning it), and what struck me about them is that they take Emmerich to task for not making the movie they think he should have made. Sorry -- as a long-time reviewer of works in different media, including film, you don't do that. I have no patience with reviews that wind up being about the reviewer rather than the work, and I'm certainly not going to pay attention to them.

I don't know if I'll manage to see it -- it is on limited release, which means my favorite cheap theater is not showing it, and it's a tight month.

I may have more on this, but not right this minute.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Yeah, I'm Still Here

Somewhere. I've been apprised that my absence has been noticed. It's nothing serious -- just that the news is more of the same, only kicked up an order of magnitude, and the combination of Kim Davis (who got an award for breaking the law) and the Republican presidential wannabes is sort of paralyzing.

This, however, interested me. Via Digby:

One 15-year-old I interviewed at a summer camp talked about her reaction when she went out to dinner with her father and he took out his phone to add “facts” to their conversation. “Daddy,” she said, “stop Googling. I want to talk to you.” A 15-year-old boy told me that someday he wanted to raise a family, not the way his parents are raising him (with phones out during meals and in the park and during his school sports events) but the way his parents think they are raising him — with no phones at meals and plentiful family conversation. One college junior tried to capture what is wrong about life in his generation. “Our texts are fine,” he said. “It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem.”

The fallout from this is pretty substantial:

In 2010, a team at the University of Michigan led by the psychologist Sara Konrath put together the findings of 72 studies that were conducted over a 30-year period. They found a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students, with most of the decline taking place after 2000.

Across generations, technology is implicated in this assault on empathy. We’ve gotten used to being connected all the time, but we have found ways around conversation — at least from conversation that is open-ended and spontaneous, in which we play with ideas and allow ourselves to be fully present and vulnerable. But it is in this type of conversation — where we learn to make eye contact, to become aware of another person’s posture and tone, to comfort one another and respectfully challenge one another — that empathy and intimacy flourish. In these conversations, we learn who we are.

I have so far resisted that sort of connectivity -- I don't have a cell phone, and I've avoided getting involved in most social media -- no Facebook, no Twitter, none of that. I do notice, however, the number of people I see -- mostly younger people, but by no means exclusively -- who are on the bus, or walking down the street, or in coffee shops or restaurants -- who aren't really there. They're on their phones. I remember seeing people on rollerblades with their ears stopped up with earphones while they were 'blading down the sidewalks or streets, and thinking "These people must be nuts -- that's a great way to get killed." Phones aren't quite that extreme (although a lot of these people are listening to music), but still. . . . They're not only shutting themselves off from human contact, but from the world around them.

I have seen this resilience during my own research at a device-free summer camp. At a nightly cabin chat, a group of 14-year-old boys spoke about a recent three-day wilderness hike. Not that many years ago, the most exciting aspect of that hike might have been the idea of roughing it or the beauty of unspoiled nature. These days, what made the biggest impression was being phoneless. One boy called it “time where you have nothing to do but think quietly and talk to your friends.” The campers also spoke about their new taste for life away from the online feed. Their embrace of the virtue of disconnection suggests a crucial connection: The capacity for empathic conversation goes hand in hand with the capacity for solitude.

In solitude we find ourselves; we prepare ourselves to come to conversation with something to say that is authentic, ours. If we can’t gather ourselves, we can’t recognize other people for who they are. If we can’t gather ourselves, we can’t recognize other people for who they are. If we are not content to be alone, we turn others into the people we need them to be. If we don’t know how to be alone, we’ll only know how to be lonely.

Bus rides are part of my "alone time" -- I seldom even read on the bus: I watch the world outside, and the people riding with me. But then, I've always been an observer. And I have a high tolerance for being alone.

I wonder if it's a fear of being alone that drives part of this technological connectedness. After all, we're social animals, hard-wired to travel in groups. Being alone is something that a lot of people avoid, I think, even in situations like running errands or riding the bus -- so, grab your phone and stay connected. Except you're not, really.

It's sobering to realize how much of our communication relies on the nonverbal -- facial expression, body language, tone of voice -- that you don't get on a phone or on the Internet. That's what really does the damage. (Why do you think emoticons were invented? An attempt to replace some part of what we're missing by face-to-face contact.)

There's a lot more to be said on this topic -- I find myself tempted to wander off on all sorts of tangents, but I'm not going to. Read both the Times article and Digby's post, and you can wander off on your own tangents.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

When Is a Clock Not a Clock?

The "perp"
When some English teacher thinks it's a bomb. I'm sure you've been reading about Ahmed Mohamed, the fourteen-year-old kid with a passion for inventing things who was arrested for bringing a "hoax bomb" to school. Here's the after-the-fact face-saving by the police chief:

Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.

At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”

School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.

“The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” Boyd said, describing the incident as a “naive accident.”

Original reports noted that the officers questioning Ahmed felt he was "not forthcoming" when he kept insisting it was a clock. Maybe that's because it was -- a clock.

Digby has a must-read post on the climate that makes this kind of stupidity not only possible, but inevitable:

This is, of course a direct outgrowth of the paranoia and nativism that's been with us since 9/11. I wrote about how we reacted to 9/11 in this piece for Salon yesterday and I highlighted this 2002 article by Peggy Noonan that speaks directly to this attitude:

“So the Southerners are eyeballing the young Muslim males. Maybe these guys are bad guys. They allow themselves to think this in part because one of the things Americans regret most since Sept. 11 2001 is their lack of suspicion. We’re all very live-and-let-live. Before Sept. 11, young Muslim males could tell someone in passing that soon those towers in New York will go boom. And fearing to offend, fearing to hurt the feelings of another person, we’d let it pass. We’d mind our business, give them the benefit of the doubt. And now we wish we’d been less friendly, less trusting, less lazy or frightened. We wish we’d been skeptical. Hell, we’re the only nation on earth that is now nostalgic for paranoia.”
You may recall that as the "Shoney's incident" where a middle aged white woman from Georgia got panicked at the sight of 3 "Middle eastern looking" medical students eating and joking around in a restaurant and called the police who instigated a three state manhunt. The students were detained for more than 17 hours and lost their medical residencies at the Florida hospital to which they were enroute. Jeb Bush called the woman to commend her for her sharp observation skills. It was widely celebrated on the right as you can see by Noonan's ugly screed.

Of course, one has to take anything from Noonan with a grain of salt -- or a quart of gin -- but it's indicative of an attitude on the right, and in this instance, we are talking about the right, also known as Texas.

Digby picks up on this insight from Glenn Greenwald:

There are sprawling industries and self-proclaimed career “terrorism experts” in the U.S. that profit greatly by deliberately exaggerating the threat of Terrorism and keeping Americans in a state of abject fear of “radical Islam.” There are all sorts of polemicists who build their public platforms by demonizing Muslims and scoffing at concerns over “Islamaphobia,” with the most toxic ones insisting that such a thing does not even exist, even as the mere presence of mosques is opposed across the country, or even as they are physically attacked.

Back to the reaction of the teachers and police: there really is no excuse for this level of stupidity and lack of mature judgment. I suppose this is what happens when you start labeling critical thinking skills as a bad thing. And then, there's the fact that the boy is Muslim: this statement by the police chief reeks of bulshit:

Asked if the teen’s religious beliefs factored into his arrest, Boyd said the reaction “would have been the same” under any circumstances.

But don't take guns away from white boys.

But I digress: Greenwald has a very good point: there are interests who are accumulating a lot of power and money by keeping us scared shitless. And they keep building on it: witness this exchange between Jeb! and The Donald:

“Your brother and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama,” Mr. Trump taunted the former Florida governor. “It was such a disaster those last three months [of George W. Bush’s administration] that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected.”

Jeb Bush retorted, “As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: he kept us safe.” The audience at the debate cheered.

“You remember the rubble [at the World Trade Center]?” Mr. Bush asked. “He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong, and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.”

Mr. Trump replied, “You feel safe right now? I don’t feel so safe.”

And there you have the whole syndrome.

I read stories like this and I think about my neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, which has a large Muslim population -- Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Arab, African -- as well as Latinos, African-Americans, Vietnamese, Russians, and even plain old white-bread American mongrels like me. (And I've probably missed a group or two.) I can't imagine something like this incident happening here. (Of course, with public schools, anything's possible, but still. . . .)

So what's the lesson here? Eclectablog has one answer:

They terrorized a bright young man for being clever and creative and industrious, showing him that having an Arab-sounding name and brown skin means you are a suspect just because of who you are. The long-term impacts on him could be devastating.

They showed Ahmed’s classmates that it’s okay to treat people who look different or have foreign-sounding names as less than human, stripping away their dignity, and making them look like criminals simply because of who they are, not because of anything they have actually done.

Finally, as my friend Stephanie White put it on Facebook, they taught Ahmed and his classmates that “bigotry still carries the force of law in our country.”

I should note that the school administration claims that the coverage is biased (as does the mayor, who is not noted for her pro-Muslim sentiments), and the comments at the Dallas News story have a fair measure of comments blaming the "PC left" for the less than positive reaction. Yeah, well: I really try to be reality-based, as much as possible, and I don't think I have much of an ideology (except, maybe, "We're all in this together"). That said, just looking at the reported facts, this was a major eff-up from the git-go on the part of the teacher, the administration and the police.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Two back-to-back posts by Digby this morning that connected in my head. From the first:

In those days, Republicans believed that government and military leaders were heroic protectors of all we hold dear. But even as kitschy as Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” performance was, and as overweening as the GOP’s patriotic love of men in uniform, that statement above is a remarkable validation of the American dedication to the concept of civilian control of the military. He might have been wearing a fake uniform (he liked to do that) but they acknowledged and respected him for his political leadership.

Something seems to have changed their minds. According to this new YouGov poll, these same patriotic Republicans still love the military passionately but are no longer attached to that moldy old concept of civilian control:

“Republicans (43%) are more than twice as likely as Democrats (20%) to say that they could conceive of a situation in which they would support a military coup in the United States.”

Hmm -- what changed? Could it be that we now have a Democratic president who also happens to be African-American?

But it gets better:

For instance, the latest Washington Post poll shows that they are not so cynical that they cannot imagine anyone having the qualities that are required for such a job:

1) Republicans say by 64-35 that Trump is “qualified to serve as president.”

2) Republicans say by 60-35 that Trump is “honest and trustworthy.”

3) Republicans say by 53-45 that Trump understands the problems of people like them.

4) Republicans say by 54-42 that Trump “has the kind of personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively as president.”

I wish this were from The Onion. I really do.

But connect it to the next post:

A man known as "The Donald":

Mr. Trump attended the New York Military Academy after years of rowdy and rebellious behavior at Kew-Forest, a more traditional prep school in Queens. Mr. Trump once recalled giving a teacher at Kew-Forest a black eye “because I didn’t think he knew anything about music.”

A man known as "Il Duce":

Born on July 29, 1883, Mussolini gained a reputation for bullying and fighting during his childhood. At age 10 he was expelled from a religious boarding school for stabbing a classmate in the hand, and another stabbing incident took place at his next school.

It might serve to remember that, in spite of all the cries from the right about "liberal fascists," fascism in Europe was really an unholy alliance of conservative elements in government, business, and the church. Just sayin'.

Read both posts.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Today's Must Read

This piece, by Amanda Marcotte, on the desperation of the "religious" right:

Unfortunately, though, Davis’s behavior isn’t just a bratty tantrum. This whole incident is also a sign of a troubling development in the religious right: As their cultural power declines in the face of growing diversity and liberalism, religious conservatives are embracing scary levels of radicalism. They don’t have the numbers anymore, so they are turning to scarier and more radical demands to seize power in any way that they can.

In this light, the ignorance displayed by leading Republican figures about the way the American legal system works is a little more sinister. Mike Huckabee, although we consider him laughable, is probably the best example:

Mike Huckabee has been at the frontlines of pushing the claim that Christian conservatives simply have the right to ignore or overturn democracy to impose their will, and not just because he’s been running around Kentucky, trying to get himself on camera as much as possible in support of Davis’s attempt to ban gay marriage by fiat. He’s also been using the campaign trail to argue that the president should be able to simply end rule of law and start ruling like a dictator.

He doesn’t use the word dictator, of course, but make no mistake, Huckabee has repeatedly and shamelessly promised that if he is elected president, he will start declaring his beliefs to be the law of the land without the cooperation of Congress. In a Google hangout, he laid out the scheme: Declare as president that there are “constitutional rights of the unborn” and simply ban abortion by fiat. He claimed a similar authority during the Republican debate, a moment that got startlingly little play even though it was literally a candidate for president arguing that he would make himself a dictator.

The calls for armed insurrection start to take on a little more weight. And if you don't think it can happen here consider this:

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.

You may remember them as the group that forced the stand-off at the Bundy Ranch, when Cliven Bundy wanted to use our land for free to graze his cattle.

What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Her Fifteen Minutes Is About Up

In spite of all the hoopla (or maybe because of it), and despite what the usual suspects are spreading through the usual channels, Kim Davis' cause isn't all that popular. From Rasmussen, which leans somewhat right:

But just 26% of Likely U.S. Voters think an elected official should be able to a ignore a federal court ruling that he or she disagrees with for religious reasons. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 66% think the official should carry out the law as the federal court has interpreted it.

There always seems to be about a quarter of the U.S. population that thinks our system of laws is only a suggestion, and that they know better -- or at least, their preacher does.

At any rate, it seems that most of the country sees Kim Davis for what she is: a self-centered, arrogant bigot using her religion as a smokescreen.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Kim Davis Is Still In Jail

And according to the judge's order, will stay there until she agrees to issue marriage licenses to all legally qualified couples. So far, she's refusing.

Mahablog has a good, concise summary of the state of affairs as of this morning. She makes one telling observation: "At this point the story is the fallout." That's really it. Davis has no legal options left, although she's vowed to appeal. At least, her attorneys say so, but she really has no legal recourse left: both the Sixth Circuit and the Supreme Court refused requests for stays on Judge Bunning's order, and given the force of her arguments to date, they're not likely to entertain an appeal.

Mat Staver, of Liberty Counsel, her attorneys, is eating it up:

Staver also compared Davis to other "prisoners of conscience."

"Kim joins a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience. People who today we admire, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan Huss, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more."

Surprisingly, he left off Rosa Parks.

"Surprisingly" because just about everyone else has dragged Parks into the fray. Staver was probably blinded by the dollar signs he's seeing. And let's face it: there's nothing admirable about Kim Davis: the people Staver mentioned were all working for fairness and equal treatment of all -- they are Davis' polar opposites. And, judging by her refusal to allow her deputies to issue licenses, it's obvious that the real issue here is her desire to force her personal religious beliefs on everyone one else through the powers of her office.

Not surprisingly, the one thing that keeps shining through on Davis' part is her overwhelming arrogance, including her refusal to allow her deputies to issue licenses in her place and her assertion that those licenses "are not worth the paper that they are written on." (There's some question about that last: the County Clerk's signature is required, but there is provision for maintaining the business of the clerk's office during the clerk's absence -- and being in jail certainly counts as "absence.") It's obvious that the real issue here is her desire to force her personal religious beliefs on everyone one else through the powers of her office.

Good luck with that.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Kim Davis Is In Jail

and I have to be out early today, so I'll catch up with this after some of the dust has settled. The right wing is all over this.

Here's a report.

And this is priceless:

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Today in Disgusting People

, or, "Today in 'Christian' Love," or, "Today in Compassionate Conservatism" -- take your pick. This:

A program designed to help ex-felons who served time for drug offenses went into effect September 1st in Texas.

Texas soon will allow tens of thousands of residents convicted of drug crimes to receive food assistance from the federal government, joining almost every other state in ending a ban that once covered the entire nation.

Because it makes sense that if ex-convicts are able to feed themselves and their families, there's less incentive for them to return to their old habits. I mean, let's face it -- getting a job these days is not easy for anyone, and it's worse if you've got a record.

But never fear -- Fox News to the rescue:

Morning fearmongerer [sic], Brian Kilmeade presented the story with the intro,

'Hey, thousands of felons are receiving food stamps ON YOUR DIME.'

He interviewed a run-of-the-mill Texas Republican, Matt Rinaldi, who represented the compassionate Conservative opinion that giving aid to the downtrodden is just enabling them. Rinaldi identifies as a Roman Catholic, who apparently eschews the Gospel of Jesus. He identifies with the Tea Party, who wants stronger border security and expanded Second Amendment rights. . . .

Rinaldi gave the usual shtick, why should drug dealers get aid when single mothers, who have done everything by the book, are getting the same assistance?

Hmm . . . how many of those single mothers have never been married? And what book is he talking about?

For some reason, I keep coming up with a parallel between the conservative attitude toward former convicts and children: you're OK if you're someplace where we can keep you under control, like prison or your mother's uterus, but once you're out on your own -- well, you're on your own.

To Fox's credit, they did have a rational person on the show presenting the other side of the story. But Kilmeade's lede is pretty thoroughly reprehensible.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A Little Commentary on History as a Process

You've no doubt heard about the latest episode in "Christian" soldier Kim Davis' ongoing battle to force her personal religious beliefs on the citizens of her county.

The sound is rather faint, at least in the key part, but here's a transcript:

Davis: We’re not issuing marriage licenses today.

Man: The Supreme Court denied your stay.

Davis: We are not issuing marriage licenses today, so I would ask you all to…

Man: Based on what? Why are you not issuing marriage licenses today?

Davis: Because we’re not.

Partner: Under whose authority are you not issuing marriage licenses?

Davis: [stern look] Under God’s authority.

The "Christian" right is all over this one, of course, with the usual lies and misrepresentations. Here's Bryan Fischer, one of the most shameless liars in that camp:

My point is that Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County Kentucky, she is the ONLY one who is obeying the law. This is not civil disobedience on her part. This is civil obedience. In fact I would suggest that she is the only one in this entire scenario who is actually obeying the law. Because a court ruling, ladies and gentleman, is not the same thing as the law. We know what a law is. A law is something that is passed by the elected representatives of the people and signed into law by the chief executive official…the law that’s on the books is the DOMA law passed by Congress in 1996…that’s the last time Congress has addressed this thing in the form of a law…Now the Supreme Court has issued a ruling that is contrary to that, but remember the Supreme Court has no legislative power whatsoever.

What the Supreme Court does have, as we all know (those of us who did not flunk high school civics), is the power of judicial review: the Supreme Court can nullify a law if it is found to violate the Constitution. Don't expect Fischer, or any of his fellow-travelers, to mention that. (By the way, DOMA is not even the issue here. But this is Bryan Fischer.)

And this wouldn't be complete without a dose of Palinesque word salad from Rand Paul:

You know I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for states to just get out of the business of giving out licenses. Alabama has already voted to do this…anybody can make a contract and then if you want a marriage contract you go to a church. And so, I’ve often said we could have got around all of this, also, in the sense that I do believe everybody has the right to a contract. There never should have been any limitations on people of the same sex having contracts. But I do object to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage, on something that’s different than most people defined as marriage for most of history. So one way is just getting the state out completely. I think that’s what we’re heading towards, actually. Whether or not people who still work for the state can do it without the legislature changing it, is something I’m going to leave up to the courts exactly how to do it. But I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say they do believe in something is part of the American way.

Shorter Rand Paul: I don't like the Supreme Court's ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land, so let's just take the government out of marriage. We can ask the courts how to do it.

But enough of the comedy segment of this post. I had some thoughts, reading through these stories this morning, about how this all is most likely going to play out.

History is a series of reactions. They tend to happen these days within a couple of generations, at most. The sixties were a reaction to the enervating conformity of post-War America. The Reagan eighties were a reaction to the sixties. And now we're about to see, I think, a reaction to the dominance of the "Christian" right over the past thirty or so years.

In the particular instance of Kim Davis, Warrior for God, I won't guess whether Davis is looking forward to "Christian" crowd-funding to save her ass, but in the short term, she's going to be a hero to the "Christian" community -- she'll join the bakers and florists on the martyr circuit -- all on "Christian" radio and TV shows: this is their basic tactic for the new mantra of "religious freedom," which is what they're banking on to roll back nondiscrimination laws in general. But for the wider audience -- the American public -- crap like this is starting to be a major turn off, because the god-botherers don't understand that you can't carry this past a certain point. I think we're starting to see the reaction to the last couple of generations of "Christian" hegemony in American politics -- public opinion is on our side in general, and most Americans don't really like the idea of discrimination. Yes, it's the courts leading the way, which is so often the case in this country, but in spite of the "religious" right's efforts to de-legitimize the courts, they are setting the standard.

So, the backlash is going to come, and it ain't going to be pretty -- for them. They're setting themselves against the Consitution, and that doesn't go down well. For Kim Davis to cite "God's authority" when violating people's rights just makes her and her supporters look like just what they are: arrogant, self-centered bigots.

And just to underscore that last point, here's what Davis' Bible has to say about obeying the law:

Romans 13:

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

(With thanks to commenter Wayne at the AmericaBlog story.)

Footnote: With regard to Davis' hypocrisy -- much has been made of the fact that she's been married four times. BeccaM, in the comments to the AmericaBlog story, cites this article:

The Kentucky county clerk facing potentially stiff penalties for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses has been married four times, raising questions of hypocrisy and selective application of the Bible to her life.

The marriages are documented in court records obtained by U.S. News, which show that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis divorced three times, first in 1994, then 2006 and again in 2008.

She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband. They were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second. Davis worked at the clerk's office at the time of each divorce and has since remarried.

Bit it's all OK, you see, because four years ago she found Jesus:

The leader of the organization providing her legal representation, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, says he’s not sure precisely how many husbands Davis has had, but that it's not relevant.

“I know she was married more than once – I’ve heard three [times],” he says. “It’s a matter of fact that she’s been married multiple times.”

Staver says “it’s not really relevant, it’s something that happened in her past” and that her conversion to Christianity about four years ago wiped her slate clean. “It’s something that’s not relevant to the issue at hand,” he says. “She was 180 degrees changed.”

“She was 180 degrees changed.” So, does that mean that before becoming a "Christian," she wasn't a self-centered, arrogant bigot?