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Democracy at Work (Or Bigots Rule, OK?)

7 November 2008

I’ve been reminded by Lara’s blog that polling took place in the USA on Tuesday for more than the President.  A number of States held referenda on a wide variety of subjects and they make quite interesting reading.

Florida, California and Arizona voted to ban marriage between same-sex couples, for a start.  I’ve talked about this subject before.  I really can’t see the logic in any of the anti-marriage arguments.  We (heterosexuals, that is) often project a view of homosexuals as being promiscuous and irresponsible but when they form long-term relationships, we put up all these barriers. When heterosexuals are acting promiscuously, Society tries to lead them to marriage as a route away from their wicked ways.  Do people actually feel that their marriages become less valid if anyone’s allowed to join the clan?

Washington voted to allow doctor-assisted suicide and I’ll be very interested to hear how that’s going to work in practice.  Michigan is going to allow the medical use of marijuana and stem-cell research.  And Nebraska, obviously feeling that if one black man can gain the highest office in the land then the sky’s the limit for all minorities, has voted to abolish affirmative action programs (though it looks like Colorodo, which also voted on this subject, is going to continue with affirmative action). 

Colorado also rejected a ballot to amend the law to state that all human life starts at the moment of fertilisation, which would have caused major legal headaches I would imagine,  South Dakota rejected a proposal to ban all abortions, except where the mother’s life was in danger, or where the woman became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.  And Maryland agreed to the installation of slot machines (“Video lottery terminals”) to raise money to help fund public education. 

I suppose these are all examples of democracy in action.  But remember that a number of positive changes for the betterment of society would never have taken place if the will of the people had been paramount – the introduction of compulsory education and the abolition of the death penalty both spring to mind.

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2 comments

  1. The delicious irony – “slot machines for public education” Don’t tell our State Government that one, they’ll be all over it, except they’re so broke they’re selling the lotteries to fund an electricity generation plant.


  2. Here in Delaware, we have casinos with slot machines, and harness racing, a portion of the betting proceeds going to education. Are the kids, then, being taught to gamble for the public good?



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