In a world where controversial ‘Hot Topics’ are abuzz, Brian Gawlak finds the teachable lessons on trending issues.
“Hot Topics” seem to be flooded right now by polarizing figures, regardless of the format the issues are presented in. Kim Davis is certainly no exception to this trend. She is single-handedly responsible for an outpouring of unwavering support for the stance she takes and criticism by those who have vilified her.
While I don’t see Ms. Davis as a villain, I can certainly understand the hostility and frustration that the mere mention of her name can conjure. Her situation does not just deal with one trend that everyone is talking about, but hits on many controversial subjects.
I decided when my 11 year-old-daughter asked me who Kim Davis was to try to put a positive spin on a negative topic and make it a teaching moment. What has Kim Davis taught me that I can teach my three young daughters?
- If you are going to believe in something with all of your heart and soul, be willing to go to jail over that belief – unless what you believe involves hating anyone or anything. If your belief system involves denying human beings basic human rights it is something scary. Don’t do it.
- If you are going to take on a career path, truly understand what the job description is and uphold that position to your greatest capacity. I used to work in a movie theater when I was in high school. I didn’t believe in the outrageous prices they charged for gummy bears and loose candy (that I was allowed to eat for free). I hated that I had to up-sell popcorn and sodas to unsuspecting customers who didn’t realize there was no real point to upgrading – but I was always number one in up-sells. I didn’t put “me” in my job duties because it would be inappropriate to do so.
- If you are going to run for political office and take a stand on a subject, you should make sure that you comprehend the full message of what you are doing by taking a stand. Kim Davis is being supported by many Republican politicians (Mike Huckabee for one). Mike Huckabee: the nanosecond you get behind someone whose message is blending church/state with their “religious beliefs” and job description, you are sending a message like the meme that was popular on Facebook this week: you actually believe that when one goes to WalMart, they can’t buy bacon from the Muslim clerk, they can’t buy condoms from the Catholic clerk, and you support that. You also send a message that you, as a potential candidate, support church and state being hand in hand. Tell me that part about the constitution again?
- If you are going to go to jail, become famous, and have your life disrupted over your beliefs, you had better make sure your actions match your stance. First, if you are against gay marriage, don’t have one. Second, marriage is not a perfect institution and continues to have a roughly 50% failure rate. Do not judge anyone that has divorced (also, judge not lest ye be judged?). You must never shroud your hatred and bigotry under religious pretext if you are a hypocrite who has thumbed (or middle fingered) the institution of marriage. If you have had more than one marriage, you do not value the sanctity of marriage. Is there anything wrong with having more than one marriage? Absolutely not. Should you become the poster woman for what the sanctity of marriage is? Yes, but only if doing so unveils that you are actually a homophobic clerk who does not want to do her job. Well played, Kim.
- If you feel heated about a particular subject, play fair. FAIR is talking about Kim Davis’ many marriages and “un-Christian” behavior and life decisions. She put herself out there and she deserves the scrutiny. UNFAIR is talking about how Kim Davis looks, questioning why anyone would marry her based on her attractiveness, or making her out to be anything for any reason other than her actions. There is no reason for catty and superficial remarks – ever!
Kim Davis is clearly an impassioned woman who has strong beliefs. She is not evil, nor do I believe her to be truly hateful. Why? I know people like her. I have family members who were raised with the same limited view that Ms. Davis has. I know my family members to be good people – but they are scared. Ignorance and fear blinds many in the world and many people are sleeping. I applaud Kim Davis for unintentionally helping to wake even a few people up. I have heard stories of those who have similar beliefs about gay marriage who have come out against Ms. Davis for her failure to do her job. A new conversation has been sparked!
Going forward, I will tell my dear daughters when something is scary, or crazy, or whack-a-doodle like this situation is – learn from it. Keep the claws in and pray and hope and above all talk about the situation. If one resorts to name calling, body shaming, or sticks-and-stones throwing, they become exactly like the person that created the angst: a hater. Kim Davis is not evil, but she is a hater. She is intolerant and needs to learn, but from the sad example of what she has done and what she purports to stand for, we have started a conversation about a great many things.
Perhaps as we continue to have these conversations sparked from an act of fear, a ray of light will strike Ms. Davis into understanding what it means to do one’s job, and what it means to not exclude those who share the same rights the constitution now provides us all.
Photo: Flickr/Mike Licht
Follow Brian on Facebook: Click here!