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Think Before Communicating: Consider the Davis Case

Updated on May 7, 2016
Because power corrupts...
Because power corrupts... | Source

Evaluating Kim from Kentucky

Quite well known by now, Kim Davis’ comments and actions are the topic of the day in disparate circles. Opposite of responses that are not much more than an emoting contest, some have found the story to be an opportunity to seriously consider the complex issues it involves.

Looking at her evolving circumstances through the eyes of others’ various views is intriguing. The exercise is a reminder that “everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts” though thought police try to declare certain opinions illegal.

There is a lot of value in giving a thorough examination to others’ opinions without cutting them off the minute we suspect we will disagree. Listening to what others say in an unbiased way is closely kin to valuing our critics. The concepts of both options are wise teachers.

Talking before fact checking always takes us into dangerous territory so two things to take away from rhetoric filled opinions in any situation are: 1) get to the bottom of a story before forming an opinion and 2) be careful not to express ourselves in ways that make us look like we are stereotypically responding to issues.

Those two build up to more worth keeping in mind. Even if we are there to see everything that is happening, we do not know certain things like detail on all of the related background or what anyone involved might be thinking at any given moment. At such times, we should be working to figure out what responses would be most helpful.

That is difficult to do when we look at situations as if there are formulas for living in boxes labeled life. If we then decide not to get the whole story or forget to examine whether our thinking is narrow because we are emotionally charged, our responses are pretty much useless except for inflaming others.

After some listening, reading, and watching, I’m thinking all this through from a political/legal perspective. You may have heard the point about joining the military. New personnel are told that as federal employees they are absolutely not to obey an unlawful order, and aren’t we glad for that?

Many questions come up on that bit of thought, particularly on how serious it would be to have a military that blindly followed unlawful orders. Nor do we want other federal employees to disregard the consequences of allowing that to happen and then participating in it, especially our legislators.

It takes very little research to get a grip on the fact that the situation that this Kim Davis now faces reminds each of us that the Constitution is designed to protect citizens from our executive, legislative, and/or judicial branches of government working independently.

At least in part, she may be coming from the perspective that she is not breaking the law, just refusing to follow an order that she suspects is unlawful. She may not be able to put it in those exact words, but that seems to be something of what she faced in the context of what she began doing.

Well founded concerns?
Well founded concerns? | Source

What are We Facing?

In America it's very curious when any group of people says to another, "You have to agree with what we do and support our point of view. You cannot live out your beliefs. You must change and accommodate us to make us happy. Your job is to endorse us and your responsibility is to advocate for us. You are not allowed to contradict us or refuse to affirm us. You must each one personally submit to us."

The mindlessness of that sort of empty thinking and the laughter it would provoke except for the seriousness of the attitude is simply stunning within a so-called free society, but worse than that, we have world-wide historical examples of what it leads to in nations. Conform or else is what it has come to far too many times.

Observing people’s reactions to what news media and entertainment have dynamically created, it seems that the issue in this case could boil down to a question about reasonable doubt on whether the direction this court clerk was asked to follow is legal. That would at least be something of an explanation for the violent responses to her actions.

Fundamental Change Now

To have a minuscule handful of people changing everything for everyone would mean that we are indeed fundamentally changed. That is the goal of some, and we are well on the road to the consequences of what we've seen of it in more than one area, but it was not how we were founded, nor why America's Constitution has been protected by blood, sweat, and tears.

Our Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power to be the only mediator of constitutional issues, thankfully. There is a long history of intelligent and rational opposition to our federal judiciary making their opinions the law and, this one instance aside, as a nation we would all be wise to step back and take stock of what it means to allow the trend to continue.

Those wanting to achieve fundamental change in America knew exactly what they meant and how they meant to go about it. Fundamental change is what voters brought on themselves, legislators have continued to allow, and now, many people are seeking to reverse in upcoming elections.

Knowing that a majority of our founders did not believe that the Supreme Court was responsible to mediate all constitutional issues and could not hand down irrevocable decisions is a calming factor in the tide of todays trends. It will be fascinating to see how the current flows.

For my part, I believe that our country was fundamentally changed when in 1973 the Supreme Court decided that ending life in the womb was the law of the land. Changes in the Court’s attitude to many other issues were a coming given after that, as far as I could see, so situations we now have across the country are no surprise. (For the record, I do not claim that perspective as unique to me.)

"Recall the people" -- how meaningful.
"Recall the people" -- how meaningful. | Source

Is Bashing Legal Now?

We see media and entertainment continuing to produce moving presentations that are sad twists of truth on various issues. They are stereotypical versions of how some people view things, but not an honest look at those issues. Nothing else can be expected from that venue, of course, but we do well to think beyond what they try to feed us.

When it comes to bashing Christianity, the lack of knowledge displayed in the representations is pitiful, yet if people have no desire to know the truth about Christianity we cannot expect them to have the ability to repeat truth about it. However, true Christians try to respond with compassion in the face of attacks, even when they are so vicious that it boggles the mind.

Remembering this rule when our emotions are on high alert is not easy, but that does not change the truth or importance of it. Everyone benefits when each of us will at least try to honestly look at all angles of an issue and then respond to it without twisting facts and being blinded by anger, even if the anger is justified.

We've all been gripped by that kind of blindness at one time or another to some degree, but it is crucial to guard against it lest we sink to making illegal threats such as those that have been delivered to this Kentucky County Clerk. Whether she is right or wrong in her reaction to the issue she faces, death threats and other violent threats are against the law.

People who want to see the law followed should call for justice on her behalf regarding the threats even if it turns out that the legal system goes against her case. A second look at her case tells us that fair-minded objectivity, as well as the law, demands justice regarding the threats to her and those associated with her.

Or, have we come to the point in this country where disagreement with opinions means it’s okay to make threats and not only get by with it, but have the support of the populace? Are we really that oblivious to history's lessons?

Thomas Jeffersons was only one with concerns about maintaining watchfulness over the new branches of government.
Thomas Jeffersons was only one with concerns about maintaining watchfulness over the new branches of government. | Source

These issues are complicated by the fact that some Christians don't bother to work at understanding the Word for them in this day of grace through the Lord Jesus. As well, the fact there are those who call themselves Christians without understanding what it is or how Christians are called to live according to His Word creates difficulties.

Discussions could be more profitable if everyone understood that either agreeing with or being fearful of stereotypical representations of Christians or Christianity is to simply be blind followers of culture, not Jesus the Christ, but it is just odd to hear the bashing from those who say they are Believers in tandem with those who call Christianity a religion of hate.

By the same token, the examples of hatefully bashing Kim Davis for anything is hypocritical at best. An unchangeable rule of life is that people on any side of any issue who desire to be understood cannot treat others in a different way than they want to be treated without coming across as the worst of the worst.

Closing Thoughts on Discussions

Hubs can be great places for good discussions and that's important in today's political climate, but ultimately, we have the option of deleting comments.

A good debate can and should be an enjoyable and satisfying process, but achieving that result requires maturity, clear thinking, honesty, correct definitions, and a willingness to attempt to understand all sides of an issue.

Debate is very often a good thing, but if anyone takes it in the direction of having a nasty attitude, indicating, among other things, that another person does not have a right to express their own opinion, then it's no longer good debate. At least one party is then trying to turn it into a war.

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In today's society changing tolerance to mean that everyone should think alike is now old news. So much so that the trend now is to say that everyone should be alike. Adding the word acceptance to the definition is damaging to individuals, society, and freedom.

Political correctness closes debate, ends conversations, and shuns differing viewpoints, making too many people fearful about expressing their views–the very purpose of the plan, obviously. I often wonder what those who support that plan are thinking, then I remember something significant, they are not thinking of the repercussions.

An interesting article on some real time experience with political correctness on college campuses (of all places) is well worth reading, and this article on how tolerance does not mean acceptance is filled with good food for thought. You might also be interested in what can happen when a government and the media have no tolerance for a country’s constitution.


Comments are welcome, but they must be on topic and highly civil.

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    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 17 months ago from the short journey

      JJ McHale:

      Thanks kindly. So appreciate your reading this post and your generous comment. Looking at the entire picture helps us focus on all of the issues related to events and come to balanced conclusions about them.

    • JJ McHale profile image

      Jarrod McHale 17 months ago from The Big Apple, U.S.A.

      Wonderful article, extremely well-written. You bring out valid, constitutional facts that should not be pushed aside. I appreciate your view. Beautifully presented.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 18 months ago from the short journey

      Dolores Monet:

      I suppose complications are primary reasons it is important to consider carefully before responding to situations we are not directly involved in. The questions you present are certainly valid ones to consider and I do agree with your conclusion.

      In the case of this specific clerk, at least one report mentioned that the law changed after she took the job (was voted in/accepted it). One thing this hub points out is that we do not know all the details and cannot trust reporters but must make sure we have the facts before we make declarations about situations.

      As I understand it, a Muslim would not take a job in a deli that sold ham, however, there are Muslims who have taken jobs and then demanded a private business owner change policy to accommodate their beliefs: https://hubpages.com/politics/Question-of-a-Double... Of course, in the case of Davis we are not looking at a private business but a government job so some aspects of the issue are different.

      That said, whether it is a private business or a government position, no matter if it is a religious issue or a civil one, whatever the significance, consequence, or relevance any issue is to anyone or any situation, threatening violence and death to her and her family/friends is against the law, and the fact that they were supported/promoted by reporters should be a serious warning to all of us. On this end it would be interesting to know if any who made the threats were ever charged with a the crime(s).

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 18 months ago from East Coast, United States

      I agree that this is a complication subject. But free speech does not mean that each individual can decide on the law for himself. Suppose the clerk was a Catholic and did not believe in divorce. Could said clerk then deny people a divorce? If a Muslim worked at a deli, could he refuse to sell ham to a customer? I think that if a person's job puts them in a place they don't feel comfortable with, they should not take the job.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      pstraubie48:

      Thank you for being willing to try to look at the related issues that this case highlights. If we are so passionate about any one aspect of it that we are blinded to the wider scope and scale of what is happening, our perspective is skewed, meaning our ability to dig into the ramifications of what it signifies to, for instance, allow violent death threats to anyone is hindered, if not completely lost.

      What it means to allow the federal government's small group of judges to continue to respond to inflammatory incidences in ways that increase their biased power in states and local governments is sobering. The growing record of this branch of government's prejudices and power grabbing does not bode well for this Republic's ability to govern according to the democratic process.

      That's not to say that everyday people have no responsibility in what things have come to, for thoughtlessly voting in leaders who would make appointments that are unquestionably going to lead to undermining the ability of the population to make democratic choices has already begun taking its toll.

      The more I ponder the issues, the wider the breadth of it becomes, and the deeper the pit, but we still have much to be thankful for in the grand scheme of things. Though it's sad to see the Republic's government deteriorating, just as the Founder's warned, thanks to the freedoms gained by those who first settled here and then those who worked to legally establish the nation, we still do have the opportunity to discuss the issues freely. The question I come to at the moment is will we, as a nation, seek wisdom to do that, or allow the freedom to be lost.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 23 months ago from sunny Florida

      You know, this is indeed a complex issue, RTalloni, and I do not wish to make it seem otherwise. It is one that each of us must consider and decide how we would handle such a situation ....I do not take lightly what meaning looking for a new job would mean. I just know that I think (and of course do not know for certain) if I had been working for a principal (as a teacher for 40+ years that would be my frame of reference) had I been confronted with a situation which I found untenable I would have had to move on...even though in my mind HE or SHE would have 'won.' And it really is not about winning, it is in my mind a matter of conscience....you know.

      Anyway thanks for your thoughtful response to my rather brief reply. As I said this is a complex issue that has at least opened the doors to conversation on topics we may not have delved into to such a degree.

      Angels are once again winging their way to you.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      pstraubie48:

      Thanks for stopping in to read this hub. I've tried to keep comments on topic, that is to say on the topic of getting all the facts before jumping in to attack someone like this county clerk, as well as to carefully examine related issues that have far reaching effects, but which the media covers up with hype.

      However, it does seem that you've read the hub and have tried to consider the main topic so I'll venture the secondary issue with you. This situation has strengthened the Supreme Court's intrusion into state and local governments. The ramifications of that are worth studying. The warnings of our Founders about just that still speak to us from their writings and are helpful in thinking through what we see happening.

      This issue is about far more than what it appears to be. One major concern is that an extremely small part of the population has been used to strike a blow to the freedom of communities and their local governments. Some will say that is a good thing, but we would all do well to give what it really means some serious consideration.

      That said, when her job description changed it may have been better for her personally to change jobs, but because she chose not to do that what happened to her was worse than being vilified. It is against the law to threaten someone with violence and death for any reason. It seems quite odd that so many people seem okay with the fact that this woman received such threats.

      There are many related issues that could be discussed, and it's important to discuss them, but we need to be careful not to respond immaturely. Basing our responses on how we feel instead of what all the facts are and instead of what wisdom is for a situation (especially if it is a situation that can be used by those who have bigger agendas) only blinds people, leading them into ever more complicated circumstances.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 23 months ago from sunny Florida

      Well said RTalloni.

      And I strongly agree that we should all have our own opinion and not be villified for it. However when a job has certain requirements individuals should carry out the job ...if their individual views differ from what the job is asking them to do then perhaps they need to find a new job. It is a rock and a hard place kind of thing. Just as those who wished to marry had the right, she had the right to dissent.

      Please know that Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      DDE:

      Thank you for letting me know that this post was helpful to you. In campaign seasons here it is especially important to think critically when we hear the candidates speak so we can do better fact checking.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A learning lesson form me I learned a lot from your hub. Informative and very interesting.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      annart:

      Thanks very much for letting me know you wrote it! You'll see my comment there, and I've linked it at the very beginning of this hub. Though, if I remember right, putting a link in the first paragraph is not recommended, I do think this one goes there. :) Thank you for putting a link to this hub in your thought-filled post. I'll be following responses for I'm sure they will be interesting. Reasonable discussions about the related issues are so important.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Have finally got round to doing that hub; hope you read it and find it interesting. It talks about 'mindfulness', being aware of our own feelings, others' and also the world around us - by finding out the facts and making sure our sources are reliable! Have included a link to this hub too.

      Ann

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      teaches12345:

      So appreciate your feedback on this hub…"Before we destroy each other, indeed." The blindness is stunning, isn't it?

      It's always a surprise to see people approving hateful treatment of someone or others they don't agree with, but clearly, they are not thinking beyond the heat of the moment. If challenged they will too often dig their heels in rather than step back and think through the related issues.

      If the trend to bash people with illegal threats is accepted on any level, those who have encouraged it in any way may will be quite surprised at the repercussions for themselves when the socio/political tide changes. The Constitution's protections from government continue to be diminished and people are not stopping to think through why degrading the Constitution results in less and less freedom for everyone.

      More importantly, they are not realizing that's the goal, so it's important to have discussions about connected issues the integrate bigger concerns into the picture when a case like this comes up. Thanks again for helping to encourage good debate.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I am refreshed by this article and agree people are commenting without knowing the facts about the case. It is not as simple as Davis quitting her job. The government has intervened without authority and the law is being questioned as to rites of all people. Our world is subject to kangaroo court systems these days and may be out of control. I'm praying we can make sense out of all this before we destroy each other. Great post and one that needed to be written.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      annart:

      I really like to follow BBC world news. Reporters use many tactics to deride people in the stories they don't like, a facial expressions, body languages, tones of voice. It really is shameful.

      Will be looking for that hub! Thanks again for your feedback here!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      MarleneB:

      Thank you for reading this hub and adding your "on topic" comment. There really is nothing new to the concepts we need to remember about good debate, but your comment highlights why it is becoming more difficult to get to the bottom of all angles of issues and, therefore, why we need to work harder at doing so before sounding off on them.

      On your last sentence, I understand what you mean, but remember, we still live in America and your opinions still count. :) That said, we do need to be wise because the trend of personal attacks is growing. It really does now seem popular for opponents to make violent threats, but they are still illegal.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This is very well-written and puts things into perspective. I no longer rely on information received solely from news stations. It seems they all report biasedly, looking at the ratings. The more outlandishly they spin a story, the higher the ratings. Nothing needs to be true anymore, just so long as the ratings are high, anything goes. Aside from that, I feel like we are going too far with neutralization of free speech. Being politically correct is becoming a form that is difficult to follow in almost any environment. I don't know what I can and can't say anymore.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I've since had a look at the case via BBC world news (in France at the moment) and no doubt it's been mentioned on the news at home. At least I know what it's about now! The premise stays the same of course.

      I've noticed the media rarely present the 'facts' these days; they always seem to have their own slant. What happened to reporting what's actually happening and some reasons why, in a purely matter-of-fact way? Maybe one reason is that reporters have become celebrities and like to make their mark, add their 'personal' touch and own opinions. Shame.

      I might do as you suggest when I get home.

      Best wishes,

      Ann

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      annart:

      To tell you the truth, part of me says, "Lucky you that you've not heard of this case!"

      Thank you very much for your thoughtful response to this post on the case. Well said! on each point you made. Maybe you should write about the topic of political correctness having gone mad. If you do, be sure to use that concept about the media making madness look like the norm.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Ericdierker:

      Thanks much for taking a look at this hub and for leaving your comment. Though I agree, as did our founders, that government should have as little to do with family matters as possible, I have to add that it isn't because we have advanced. Much of the time it seems we have learned nothing. I believe with the founders that governments have limited potential to help people and that people have God-given rights and responsibilities, therefore governments should realize their own limitations and admit their proclivities for power, greed, and worse so they can force themselves to limit their involvement in peoples' personal lives.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Perspycacious:

      Thank you kindly for stopping by and letting me know that you appreciated this post.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I'm afraid I have no idea who Kim Davis is, as I'm over the pond! However, I'll look it up after making this comment.

      Your argument for freedom of speech and for fair appraisal once one has made the effort to read about and learn the facts, is well-balanced, wise, full of tolerance and rational. I don't understand why people aren't allowed to put forward their views, as long as they do so with all those qualities.

      Political correctness has gone mad, to the point that many are scared to say anything for fear of offending and the ones who say too much don't care if they offend anyway. It spills over into just about any subject you care to think of.

      I'm really worried that the whole world is imploding with intolerance, hate, many of us yelling at others and wielding weapons. It's frightening. Then I look around me and realise that there is still good in the world and that I know some very well-balanced people.

      The media picks up on the bad, gives it a high profile and so many see that as the norm. I'm not sure which way this is going but I sure do my part to listen, try to understand and talk to others without being prejudiced.

      psstraubie has written a similarly themed hub called 'Time to Speak'; haven't got the link to hand but I'm sure you can find it.

      Great hub.

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A most interesting point of view. It all seems so dramatic. If there is a bright line between venting and bashing I would like to know where it is. I think we have evolved as a society such that the government should have as little to do with family matters as is possible.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Great reasoning well presented.

      I particularly appreciate this thought of your Hub:

      "A good debate can and should be an enjoyable and satisfying process, but achieving that result requires maturity, clear thinking, honesty, correct definitions, and a willingness to attempt to understand all sides of an issue."