This morning I went and waited 30 minutes to cast my ballot for the president of the United States and various other federal and local offices in the 2008 general election. What an experience! Really, it’s amazing to me that our election proceeds so smoothly as compared with what I’ve seen and heard on the news about elections in other parts of the world.
For example, the drama of my experience came with a few experiences. First, a mother wil two children came in and started toward the front of the line. She was told to go to the back of the line but mentioned she was going to stand by her husband. Pretty rough eh?
Okay, it did get a little worse. After standing in line for about seven minutes someone announced that if you needed to register you had to do that first then get back in line, and a bunch of people sighed and reluctantly went to a separate table to start the registration process.
What obstacles!!! I hope you can sense the sarcasm. The fact of the matter is, I didn’t have anyone tell me how to vote; no one brandished a gun and threatened me if I voted one way or another. I didn’t have to worry about corruption or violence after voting. What a miracle our 200+ year old democracy is. WOW.
The bad side
So there is one negative side to the elections, as I see it, but even with that negative, the overall experience is unbelievably positive. The negative I’m talking about is the way moral issues are creeping into politics under the guise of “rights”. Of particular note in this election is the issue in CA call proposition 8 by which the people hope to judge proof their desire to define marriage between a man and a woman.
I say judge proof because they already voted on the issue and approved it by a large margin in the 2000 general election, but some judges in supreme court of CA decided that the people weren’t right.
My biggest problem with the opposition is that they claim there are rights tied to the issue. The fact of the matter is that any homosexuals in California that currently enjoy a civil union (or want to) don’t stand to lose any rights. On the contrary, people whose views oppose same-sex marriage have lost rights. For example, photographers that have been convicted of discrimination because they wouldn’t shoot same-sex weddings. Or doctors that refused to perform fertility services to same-sex couples being forced to do so or give up their licenses. What about their rights to desent?
The issue of the majority
One last thought came from a rant someone posted on my facebook account. It has to do with government by the majority. One consistent theme I’ve observed, both in the 2004 election when eleven states had constitutional ammendments on the ballot and this year with CA, AZ and FL voting on same sex marriage, is that of majority vs. minority.
The genius of America and democracy is that the “voice of the people” (read majority) decided in elections what they want government to do. Those who want to force same-sex marriage talk about the majority as though it has no right to govern. In 2004 a guy told me that the government shouldn’t be run by a “tyrannical majority”. Huh? Since when is the majority opinion tyrannical? I guess when it conflicts with someone’s views.
Last night on my face book profile someone wrote me this
“I understand that the majority of Americans may support traditional marriage. Let that majority live as they please without forcing their beliefs on the minority.”
Wouldn’t that same argument appeal to the very vocal minority, who already have rights, who already have protections and to whom the title of marriage has never applied, since from it’s earliest definitions it has represented the capacity to create a family. Same-sex marriage is, after all, infertile by nature. So why don’t they just “live as they please without forcing their beliefs on the majority”?
So, just to reiterate, America is ruled by the voice of the people. In the matters that don’t come directly to me for a vote, I elect representatives. When I find that they don’t represent me well, I vote for someone new. This is as prescribed by a constitution that has served to produce a truly remarkable nation, to rival any in history. This nation was founded by God and men who believed in God.
The day we walk away from majority rule and subvert the legislative and executive branches with an oligarchy is the day that we begin a decline in what makes America great. I genuinely hope that the voice of the people will yet choose right and preserve the sacred fire of liberty against the vocal groups that would impose their views on the majority. I hope and pray that America will be bold enough to overlook the false cries of rights, where it isn’t a rights issue and stand tall for morality on every level. That is, after all, our great strength.
I’ll end with a quote from George Washington:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” — George Washington