Underneath Kim Davis’ Sweaters Is A More Important Message About Unity

How what we think about one woman's sweaters proves there's more work to do.

People could not get enough of Kim Davis’ sweaters at President Obama’s final State of the Union Address last night.

Kim, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses following the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage, wore two sweaters to the SOTU event and the folks over on good ol’ ruthless Twitter wouldn’t let her live it down. Journalists like CNN political contributor Ana Navarro couldn’t resist commenting, either.

Others who weren’t so caught up on what Kim was wearing were more interested in why she was there. CNN reports that Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) gave her the ticket to attend the event.

Kim’s presence at the SOTU pissed a lot of people off, but it’s actually important that she was there. Here’s why.

The ultimate goal of any State of the Union Address is for our President to identify where we are as a country versus where we’d like to be. Where we’d like to be as a country is in unified place where we’ve broken down all of the barriers we once made to divide us from one another—race, religion, political views, etc. With this goal in mind, who actually attends the SOTU is key because of who the SOTU is for.

SOTU is not just for people with outdated morals or values. It’s not just for forward-thinkers. It’s not just for those whom this country has wronged and it’s not just for the privileged or wealthy. It’s for everyone.

If SOTU is for everyone, it’s important that people from all walks of life are there and that includes Kim Davis. Yes, she took a stand against something our country now stands for. Yes, her sweaters are hideous, but so what? Maybe she couldn’t afford to splurge on a designer pantsuit. Maybe what she wears is not as important to her as what she stands for.

For the record, making fun of a person for her appearance is a diversionary tactic meant to trivialize what she’s saying. But it doesn’t actually change her values. Ironically, people were making fun of Kim while the President was speaking about respecting and trusting one another.

“A better politics doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything,” President Obama said. “This is a big country, with different regions and attitudes and interests. That’s one of our strengths, too. Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security. But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic.”

It helps no one to come for what a person is wearing when you should be working to understand why she believes what she believes. Denying a person the respect she deserves because you don’t think that she deserves it is, as we’ve learned, a shallow thing to do.

It would also be very Kim Davis of you. And you know how that goes.

1/2 Cartoon, 1/2 Beyhive.