The System Works

I don't write much about politics 'round these here parts. It's a subject that interests me, but there are plenty of other places for people to read about that, if they want. But sometimes, I just gotta say something.

As you may have heard, the Massachusetts state legislature voted against sending a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the voters at large. The homophobic conservative voices of America have risen in protest. The common refrain is something along the lines of, "Why doesn't the Massachusetts legislature believe in democracy?" It's sort of become the standard response in what passes for American political discourse these days - whenever something doesn't go your way, it's because the system is broken. Everything is the fault of "activist judges," fixed voting machines and nanny-state legislators who don't trust the voters.

It just isn't true, though - or at least, not always.

I think Massachusetts has a good system. It is difficult to get such a measure on the ballot - but not impossible. Here in Colorado, it is far too easy to get measures on the ballot, and it makes voting an absurd ordeal, wading through pages and pages of amendments, referendums and initiatives. We elect representatives to do this sort of thing for us. We vote for the candidates who we think will best represent our views. We have legislatures so we don't have to vote on every insane thing some crackpot thinks ought to be the law. The people of Massachusetts in fact have had their say on the issue, when they elected the representatives who ultimately voted for it.

I say you need to just lay it on the line. Don't whine about activist judges and "the system being broken." Just cut the bullshit and say what you really mean: Homosexuality frightens and disturbs you, you don't like it and you're okay with treating fellow human beings like second-class citizens because of it. Don't tell me that you object to the Massachusetts legislature's decision because it's "contrary to the ideals of democracy" when what you really mean is that you object to the Massachusetts legislature's decision because it's "personally unsettling to me that homosexual people should have the same rights and privileges as heterosexual people."

The thing about democracy is that it's all about compromise. And the greatest compromise of American democracy is that everybody is entitled to equal protection under the law. That means that consenting adults, gay or straight, should be entitled to all the same rights and privileges. And what do you get out of the deal? What you get is that nobody says you have to like it. I mean, I don't much like it that y'all get to go around shouting about Gawd and Jee-uh-zus and telling me precisely how and why I'm straight to Hayull - but you have the right. You don't much like it that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has decided that gay people have the right to get married. That's fine, nobody's saying you have to.

But let's call a spade a spade, conservatives homophobes. Admit what it is that's really bugging you, get off your lame-ass "the voters' rights are being abrogated" high horse, and let's once and for all agree about the pointlessness of whining about the system being "broken" just because you didn't get your small-minded, bigoted way. S'aright?