|Georgie Bar the Door, c. 1963|
I've been pondering the late George Wallace in regards to the current Kim Davis Affair -- an affair that will likely be gone once we're past Labor Day. These late summer news stories are often transitory as morning mist.
At any rate, George Wallace may have been a tiny man (5'6" maybe, if that) but he was a huge character in the civil rights era, the man who stood in the schoolhouse door preventing those Negroes from entering the lily-white schools of Alabama c. 1963.
Oh, he was a huge character and demon indeed, George Wallace was.
He was always railing about those Negroes and all the crime and misery they caused for good upstanding white folks, and how their needs and demands were at the top of Washington's list of things to do, whereas the good white folks of Alabam and the rest of the South and the Nation were being left out to fend for themselves, and why don't those hippies get a haircut and a job, huh, huh, and so it went, on and on, the little banty-weight piss-ant once and future Alabama governor (how many times George?) railing constantly, at full shriek, against anything and everything that represented racial progress.
Ol' George was a good man to hate in those days. Well, if you were on the side of civil rights as I was.
On the other hand, a lot of Americans were on Ol' George's side, they stood with Wallace. Bless their hearts.
He represented their shattered dreams... or something. I never understood how someone else's civil rights ruined -- absolutely ruined -- the future of Good White Folks in the South or anywhere else. It never made any sense to me at all, but those opposed to civil rights and integration (and there were many of them) were sure that giving those people the same rights they had and letting them live next door and use the same facilities and so forth would lead inevitably to the ruin of white people.
They were sure of it.
How was that supposed to work, anyway?
Ol' George went around the country railing against anything that might provide a modicum of justice and dignity for those people. It just wasn't right, he railed, that they should have the same rights and privileges their Betters had.
Does it sound familiar? It should sound familiar, for there are all kinds of politicians who rail these days against rights and privileges for those people -- whoever the designated Other of the moment may be.
Comes now this Kim Davis in Kentucky (is that where she is?) refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples she is, despite the plain text ruling of the Supreme Court, deeming it contrary to her God and so on and so forth. She sits in jail in contempt of court therefore, a martyr like MLK and Rosa Parks her lawyer claims for following her conscience and religious faith rather than the Law.
Oh my, oh my. Poor sweet Kim Davis. What a martyr indeed.
Yes well, she's a martyr like George Wallace was a martyr, only not nearly so appealing.
Ol' George never went to jail that I know of, but he was shot by a would-be assassin in 1972 while running his umpteenth campaign for president (at least it seemed that way), and he was paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his natural life. I would say that might be considered a form of punishment if not outright martyrdom...
Ol' George kept it up just the same, railing and railing as was his wont.
And then he stopped. He became a "Christian". He had been a Methodist, but everyone knows they're not saved are they? He became a "Christian" -- forgiven and saved he was -- and he came to an epiphany.
He wasn't a martyr, he was just a nasty little shit with a mean streak a mile wide who'd caused untold pain and harm to millions of people for no good reason at all.
He didn't mean to, but that's what he did.
So. He changed. He apologized to those he had harmed. He could not get down on his knees because of his injuries, but he let all kinds of people know that he knew now that he had been wrong to insult and denigrate them all those years, he'd been wrong to stand in the schoolhouse door, he'd been wrong to be such a nasty little shit for all those years when he could have been using his power to do good, and he vowed to do good with what remained of his power and life....
And according to those who knew him that's exactly what he did during his final term as Alabama's governor. There hasn't been anything like it since.
As for this Kim Davis creature, she came to her realization that she had to become a martyr for her God when she became a "Christian" like George Wallace did -- rather late in her life after several marriages, affairs, divorces, and children of different fathers.
She's been forgiven and saved like he was, but whereas late in his life George Wallace used his salvation on behalf of the downtrodden and dis-included -- many of whom he had personally down-trod and dis-included -- she has convinced herself that she was ordered by her God to use her salvation to further dis-include and down-trod the Enemy, ie: same-sex couples wishing to be married in her county.
Bless her heart.
I've never been much of a fan of same sex marriage because of the religious/sacramental nature of the term marriage. Leave it to the churches, I've long said, some of which have been performing same sex marriages for decades, and leave the law out of that issue altogether. Let the law address only civil unions without regard to the genders of the couples uniting.
Well, I was out-shouted and the Supreme Court (which has not exactly covered itself with glory since the lawless rendering in Bush v Gore) has ruled that same sex marriage cannot be prevented by law.
Therefore the little missy in Kentucky (or wherever she is) isn't like Rosa Parks or MLK, she's like that nasty little shit who stood in the schoolhouse door in 1963 preventing those Negroes from entering.
Will she come to her own epiphany one day?
Funny how God works in such mysterious ways....