When the immigration reform story broke and the demonstrating started San Francisco's mayor Grandstanding Gavin announced to the world that if he didn't like the law Congress ultimately agreed on he simply wouldn't cooperate or enforce the new rules. Shades of George Wallace fighting federal integration demands. Now the reports are that some local school districts are considering breaking state law and awarding high school diplomas to students who fail the exit exam.
So what should a society do with elected officials who break the laws of the land, publicly and defiantly? Should the same rules apply no matter the lawbreaker or the reason? By that I mean, should Mayor Newsom receive the same treatment as George Wallace? Should courts take over school districts that refuse to obey the law, as they did with school districts that failed to integrate?
My own answer is yes. Civil disobedience has a long and honorable past, but what makes civil disobedience work, what makes it important, is that those who engage in it are willing to suffer the consequences of their disobedience. Civil disobedience fights the law but honors the system by accepting its punishment. It seems to me that the same rules should apply even when the person in question is an elected official acting in his/her elected capacity. What do you think? And, more general, what if anything does it say about our society when local officials are so openly defiant of the law of the land?
By the way, best wishes to Bookworm and I very much look forward to her return to the Bookwormroom. Delighted to hear Little Bookie is better, too!