Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

The title of this post has nothing to do with its contents. Rather, I just wanted to remind the people of the gunpowder, treason and plot.

That said, I have a little rant about these ballot measures, namely the recent Maine popular vote, as well as California's Prop 8 of 2008, which give cover to the haters in our nation when they choose to divide us over what are otherwise fundamental rights - whom to marry, make a family with and associate our lives.

The cover is that these measures, being a popular vote, make the denial of Civil Rights seem the will of the people. But that is simply the tyranny of the majority at work, something which is abhorred by a Constitutional system of government. Respect for minority opinions is a piece of the bedrock upon which our Republic is founded, and, parenthetically, one of the problems with trying to export our system to places which have no such liberal tradition, like Iraq or Afghanistan.

Think of it this way: when the case of Loving v. Virginia came down in the 1960's, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws (laws preventing blacks from marrying whites), do you think a ballot initiative rolling back this case would have passed in Alabama or Mississippi? Or Vermont?

This is the problem with having a simple majority decide fundamental and/or Civil Rights. We The People are, though better than most nations, not much better than a mob. And such fundamental matters, like who is a person's spouse, or next of kin, or who should have a say in end-of-life matters should not be left up to the mob or which side has a better turnout on a given election day.

In the end it demeans the concepts of a constitutional democratic republic, respect for minorities, and Civil Rights. For if the mob can decide who is permitted to marry or not, based on little substance beyond a phobia of a given minority, then the door for more abuses of mob mentality is left ajar.

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