I’m attempting to post a brief meditation on the daily quote from my Election Day advent calendar. Today brings us:
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has
read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through
disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and through rebellion.
Is there a right and a wrong way to do disobedience?
During the civil rights movement, people engaged in acts of civil disobedience designed to highlight injustice being done against a class of people because of the color of their skin. Civil rights activists were seeking equal rights under the law, including the right to vote, that were being denied to some people but not others.
I think we all agree that civil disobedience in the service of securing individual equal rights is, as Oscar Wilde suggests, is a virtue and a perfectly acceptable way to make progress.
People who squirt glue into the locks at women’s health clinics, or who sit down in the driveway so no cars can enter the parking lot, would tell you they are engaged in civil disobedience.
I suspect you know that I disagree. I think there are right and wrong ways to employ this method of protest, and when an act of civil disobedience infringes upon someone else’s rights, and is designed to take those rights away, I do not believe there is a shred of honor in it. It disgusts and saddens me to see the anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-sexuality movement try to claim the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. As far as I am concerned, they stand on the side of dogs and fire hoses when they try to control my reproductive health.