on the power of the people …

So the people of California have spoken and I guess I go back to metaphorically riding in the back of the bus.  Californian's voted to pass Proposition 8 and change the State Constitution eliminating gay couples' rights to legal marriage.  I really tried to guard against getting my hopes up, but it seemed so close this time around that I let myself get too happy.  Now … I'm sad. 

The only aspect of the whole Prop 8 voting process that made me laugh at all was that yesterday, Californians voted to give chickens more legal rights and then voted to remove the rights of thousands of human beings.  The absurdity of it all made me laugh because, really, what else can I do about it???

For those of you who are not California voters here's the text from the Official Voter Information Guide:

Proposition 2 – STANDARDS FOR CONFINING FARM ANIMALS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

  • Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.
  • Exceptions made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes.
  • Provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days.

Proposition 8 – ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

  • Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
  • Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

That wording is pretty clear huh?  "Eliminates the right …"  I think what is so saddening is that 18,000 gay couples have gotten married in California in the last five months and heterosexual marriage didn't collapse, California didn't crack off of the continental U.S. and fall into the sea, and God didn't flood the land and kill all of the sinners.  Life just went on so I just can't really see what voters were protecting by making my marriage a sordid footnote in history …

A very disappointing part of the exit polling is that, according to exit polls for The Associated Press, "Proposition 8 received critical support from black voters who flocked to the polls to support Barack Obama for president. Blacks voted strongly in favor of the ban, while whites narrowly opposed it and Latinos and Asians were split."  When those so recently/currently oppressed so willingly turn around and vote for a ballot measure that, "Eliminates rights …" 

What else can I feel, but sadness???

I'm no scholar of American history, but I think it was James Hamilton, that argued that a majority can be just as tyrannical as a dictator and therefore mechanisms and the balance of powers were built into the fabric of our Nation in order to protect the rights of minorities.  Where are you, now, James Hamilton???  We need you …

So sad …  

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One thought on “on the power of the people …

  1. Part of my fear is that a whole lot of those "yes" votes were because they didn't care. I just wonder if that majority only wanted to vote on the presidential election part, and just didn't read through any of the rest of it. Because I just can't bring myself to believe people really care what other people do in their love lives, you know? For whatever reason, it's easier for me to believe that people were stupidly ignorant about what they were voting for rather than knowingly (and willingly) taking a huge step backwards in the rights of their fellow human beings. Perhaps I'm just being naive.
    I don't know. But I am sad, too.
    I'm trying to think this way though… our world IS changing. Despite these setbacks, the movement overall is forward. People WILL all have equal rights. EVERY state, someday, will allow for anyone in love to get married. I just hope it happens within our lifetimes.

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