To all my friends in flame wars over Kim Davis' decision to go to jail (and appeal) in her fight to not issue same sex marriage certs...
She's practicing civil disobedience.
She's on the wrong side of history on this one, and I disagree with what she is doing -- but she is part of an American tradition as much as northerners who refused to give up escaped slaves to be repatriated to the South where they would be returned to slavery because their religious beliefs lead them to be abolitionists.
I agree she should have been fired. But I think she was made a martyr by the treatment the court gave her. It's possible her position was elected and there was no mechanism to remove her from it, so they had to reprimand her by fining or jailing her -- I really haven't followed the case. If that's the case, I hope they are changing the local laws to add a way to remove someone from office without this drama. (Sorry, I have to get up in the morning, too tired to research, someone will no doubt fill me in).
However, if she were acting on some other ethical basis of civil disobedience, you would be saying "This is what democracy looks like!" She stood by her beliefs and took the punishment as it was laid down.
I believe she is wrong. But not every person who exercises civil disobedience and takes their licks is correct. They should be treated with respect if they do so with nonviolence and take their hits for their team with dignity.
And in fact, this IS what democracy looks like. It is the basis for discussion of dissenting opinions that come from the top, just as many liberals and some subset of conservatives have been screaming and writhing in agony since Citizens United came down. And these heated conversations are not about "Ha ha! we won!" but about the tempering and forging of new consensus opinions, and new memetic norms in the culture. Eventually, another decision might come before the Supremes, and how these sorts of protests, or the protests against Citizens United, and the repercussions against either and the apathy about either ripple through the culture will influence how the next decision and the next will be decided in those areas.
This is how our society is set up to work. This is a normal part of the process. This woman is not a fool (necessarily) or wasting her or the government's time with her actions.
And if you can't see that, you need to really check your ideology reflectively, because it means your filters are causing you to miss information that is all around you in the culture, and your silos and information ghettos are really starting to pen you in.
We can not solve the big problems in today's society until we can start having more productive discussions across these silos. And that means abandoning tribalism and comfort zones and football team cultural habits and politics, and learning to believe that people who we assume are idiots have reasons for doing what they do, even if those reasons don't fit our priorities for how we wish people made decisions.
If you don't understand another person's hierarchy of needs, where they come from from the inside out, you can't negotiate with them. And if you can't negotiate with them, you can't ally with them. And if you can't ally with them, you can both be manipulated by outside forces who want to keep you both weak while the outsider gathers power -- often by playing you off one another. This is the fundamental basis of the modern politics of fear. Pragmatically, we are set against our neighbors, against the people in the next income bracket, the church next door, the next shade of color, the next language, the next country, the next continent.
By hating out at each other you are complying with the forces in the culture that are grooming you as abuse victims to be manipulated at their will. Stop letting them do it. Stop entertaining one another with spite and snark, and use the energy you put into that, born of anxieties and fear and anger, into actually spending an hour or two daily making things better.