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The Courage Of Maud Maron

Maud Maron and her family

It just might be that the bravest woman in America today is a pro-choice, Bernie-voting public defender named Maud Maron, who is refusing to go quietly into the exile her radical former colleagues have assigned her. Bari Weiss did this piece on her, after Maron filed suit against her former employer.Excerpts:

The suit, which you can read here, claims that Maron was “discriminated against on the basis of race” by her employer, Legal Aid Society, and her union, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. It claims that both defendants “published knowingly false statements in furtherance of ideological and political motives divorced from the core functions of Ms. Maron’s employment.” In other words: it says she was forced out of her job because of her political views and her race, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

“None of this would have happened if I just said I loved books like White Fragility, and I’m a fan of Bill de Blasio’s proposals for changing New York City public schools, and I planned to vote for Maya Wiley for mayor. The reason they went after me is because I have a different point of view,” she said.

That difference came out most starkly in education, and in Maron’s role on the school board and as a candidate for city council she was outspoken in her views.

“I am very open about what I stand for. I am pro-integration. I am pro-diversity. And also I reject the narrative that white parents are to blame for the failures of our school system. I object to the mayor’s proposal to get rid of specialized admissions tests to schools like Stuyvesant. And I believe that racial essentialism is racist and should not be taught in school,” she told me.

This apparently didn’t sit well with some of her colleagues.

Then she wrote an op-ed in the New York Post opposing certain race-radical policies in NYC public schools. More:

Three days after she published the piece, the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid Caucus put out a lengthy statement saying that “Maud Maron has no business having a career in public defense, and we’re ashamed that she works for the Legal Aid Society.” It declared: “Maud is racist, and openly so,” and offered no evidence to back up the charge. It said that this veteran public defender was a “prominent opponent of equality” and a “classic example of what 21st century racism looks like.”

The statement said that Maron “is one of many charlatans who took this job not out of a desire to make a difference, but for purposes of self-imaging.” It claimed: “She pretends to favor integration while fighting against it and denying the existence of racism in education.”

The statement also accused Maron of being terrible at her job. “No public defender can legitimately claim to be a proponent of racial justice if they are lax in how they do the work,” it said, adding that “we know for a fact that Maud’s commitment to zealous representation of poor people of color is questionable at best.”

One former colleague told me that the accusation of racism in an organization like Legal Aid “is the equivalent of calling someone who works at a Jewish organization anti-Jewish. It becomes impossible to work there.” Never mind that several lawyers who worked alongside Maud told me that the allegations were absurd.

“She was beyond terrific,” said James Chubinsky, Maron’s former supervisor. “When she joined the Bronx Division I didn’t understand why she wasn’t coming as a supervisor, given her resume. She handled the toughest cases and arraignments, she did an enormous amount of work, and she went out of her way to engage the less experienced lawyers in the cases she was handling,” said Chubinsky, who spent the past 41 years at the organization, until he retired a year-and-a-half ago. “Any suggestion that she was anything other than a top-flight lawyer that the Legal Aid Society should be damn proud to have on their staff is a crock.”

Read the whole piece to learn more, or better yet — much better — listen to Bari Weiss’s hourlong podcast interview with Maron. It’s one of the most moving things I have heard in ages. The degree of persecution this poor woman — a left-wing lawyer who has dedicated her career to defending poor minorities — is enduring by these woke monsters is vile and un-American. Listening to Maron tell Weiss about how she is taking this public stand because she wants her children to know that their mother had courage, and would not let a malicious mob run over her — well, it had me near tears. If some future writer wants to do a Live Not By Lies based on experiences of contemporary Americans resisting these totalitarians among us, Maud Maron should be on the cover.

I was surprised and moved by the final minutes of the podcast interview, when Maron says that she read Live Not By Lies over the Fourth of July weekend, and was really moved by it. She said that she disagrees with its author (me) about a number of important issues, but she loves the book and the stories of courage it tells. She says that it makes her realize that we who reject this cruelty and hysteria can actually stand with each other to fight it, even if we disagree on much. Maud is right about that. This point is actually made by former anti-totalitarian dissidents in the book itself. Here, look:

As important as it is for Christians to strengthen their ties to one another, they should not neglect to nurture friendships with people of goodwill outside the churches. In the Czech part of Czechoslovakia, Christian dissidents had to maintain close contact with secular dissidents because there were so few believers within resistance circles.

As lawyer Ján Čarnigurský puts it, “There weren’t many people in general who wanted to stand up to communism. You have to take allies where you could. The secret police tried to keep secular liberals and Christians apart, and they wanted to keep Czechs and Slovaks divided. They did not succeed because the leaders of the movement had become friends with leaders in other circles.”

In the Slovak region, František Mikloško reached out to liberals not because he had to but because he genuinely wanted to.

“To this day, communicating with the secular liberal world really enriches my views,” he says. “It is important for me to have my home and to be aware that I know where I stand. I know my values. But I have to stay in contact with the liberal world, because otherwise there is the danger of degeneration.”

Mikloško’s close association with secular liberal writers and artists helped him to understand the world beyond church circles and to think critically about himself and other Christian activists. And, he says, liberal artists were able to perceive and describe the essence of communism better than Christians—a skill that helped them all survive, even thrive, under oppression.

And this part also:

Being active in a wider movement for liberty, democracy, and human rights helped shape the Benda children in other ways. Though Václav and Kamila Benda held their Catholic beliefs uncompromisingly within the family, they showed their children by example the importance of working with good and decent people outside the moral and theological community of the church.

Patrik reminds me that his family were the only Christians involved in the movement in Prague. All other senior Charter 77 members were secular. Though most were strongly anti-communist in one way or another, one, Petr Uhl, was a self-described “revolutionary Marxist,” but one who believed that a Marxist state without human rights is not worth fighting for.

“In Charter 77, you had people of totally different worldviews and ideas joined together,” says Patrik. “You had, for example, democratic socialists on the one side and fervent Catholics on the other side. It was totally normal for me that as a small child, I was being raised in a community of people with very different opinions. So it shattered the bubble around me.”

The lesson of valuing diversity within a broader unity of shared goals is something that Christians today need to embrace.

“When we look at what’s happening in America today, we see that you are building walls and creating gaps between people,” he says. “For us, we are always willing to speak, to talk with the other side to avoid building walls between people. You know, it is much easier to indoctrinate someone who is enclosed within a set of walls.”

Gotta say here that Bari Weiss is doing terrific work telling the stories of brave people like Maud Maron, and building those alliances across community boundaries. These women, Maud and Bari, give me hope.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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