What’s left to say about Kim Davis that hasn’t been said already? In the past few weeks, there’s been a huge dump of articles about her. We’ve already talked about how she’s not a martyr, about how religious freedom doesn’t work like that, and about how she’s the new George Wallace, bound to end up another notorious figure on the wrong side of history.
But frankly, I don’t think she deserves that position. I don’t want Kim Davis to have any kind of a legacy. I want to forget about her entirely. And I want us to stop talking about her.
Yes, I’m aware of the irony of having to write an article about Kim Davis to get us to stop talking about Kim Davis. But I’m quite serious. I’m tired of hearing her name. I’m tired of hearing ignorant opinions from people who don’t understand the situation. I’m even tired of hearing some of the overly-disparaging opinions from people who do understand the situation. Kim Davis is certainly no hero, but she’s no villain either. Let’s not make her into the Annie Wilkes of bigotry (though the resemblance is striking). Kim Davis doesn’t deserve to live in infamy. She doesn’t deserve to be remembered at all.
Allow me to clarify, however, that the issue surrounding this woman should never be forgotten. While it was actually happening, it was of extreme importance. It demonstrated how the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage would be implemented and upheld nationwide, even in Bible-belt states like Kentucky. It set an example for all future government workers who might try to use their position to impose their beliefs on others. And it proved that bigotry — even bigotry disguised by “deeply held religious beliefs” — would not be tolerated when it infringed on other citizens’ rights.
But it’s over now. The issue has been resolved. Our legal system put its money where its mouth is and did exactly what it was supposed to do. And the only reason Kim Davis is out of jail now is because she has agreed not to stand in the way of same-sex couples who wish to marry. If she were to renege on her promise, she would be behind bars once again (And next time, it might actually be a punitive sentence).
So what’s wrong with talking about Kim Davis? Lord knows, it’s fun to make memes of her or criticize her hypocritical actions and her stoneage hairdo. And it’s nice to know that most of us agree on how we feel about her. But while we make jokes about her and say how glad we are she didn’t succeed, religious conservatives keep building up this ridiculous hype all around her. They’re rallying to her defense and, more than likely, sending her financial support (I can’t understand why in the world she would need it with her $80,000-a-year job). The more we villainize her, the more the other side will lionize her.
And who profits the most from staying in the spotlight as long as possible? The lovely Kim Davis. I guarantee you she’s getting ready to cash in from this debacle. I can already imagine the memoir (“On the Sixth Day, She Went Free”) and the hip-hop single (“God Busted Me Out” ft. Mike Huckabee). I don’t even want to imagine how much money was already raised on her behalf when she was in jail. But I do know I despise the idea of her getting rich off of her prejudices and discriminatory actions.
If Kim Davis wants to ignore Jesus’ less-thanflattering words regarding rich people and the kingdom of heaven, that’s her business. Here’s my solution to this ordeal: If we start ignoring her, then her claims of persecution don’t hold up, do they? If we stop giving her our attention, the hype starts to die down. And those hypothetical book sales take a nosedive. Davis thrives on our attention in the same way that the Westboro Baptist Church does. We love to talk about them, too, but the reality is the more we start ignoring them, the less they matter. And the less they can profit from the spectacle.
So my conversations regarding government and law and the rights of the LGBT+ community will no longer involve this lawless clerk from Kentucky. We can still cast the spotlight on the issue without putting it on her. And when she’s out of the nation’s attention, she’ll slink back into obscurity where she belongs. Kim Davis is like a monster under the bed. If we stop paying attention to her, if we stop believing she has the power to do harm, then she’ll go away.
And sooner or later, we’ll forget she was ever there to begin with.
Casey Conrad Medvis is a writer for The Spectator.