Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Prop 8 and democracy

I didn't notice the contradiction before, but it is strange to see how the most liberal opponents of Proposition 8 are the same people who treat democracy as the ultimate be-all and end-all. I would hope that out of this fiasco, more liberals realize that while democracy is a useful check on the problems of monarchy and other authoritarian forms of government, democracy isn't a political end in itself. The real end that would have allowed gay marriage would be the government protection of individual rights, but such protection was obliterated when the decision was left up to the voters of California.

Is the despair and outrage about the actual policy change, or is it from the realization that so many people still hold backward, bigoted beliefs? The polls leading up to the election were close, so the statewide opinion was no surprise. So the outrage was about the change in policy. Since that's the case, liberals should rethink optimal political structures, because this episode of democracy surely did not produce the desired outcomes.

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