Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Thoughts on Maine, Proposition 1, and the Tyranny of the Majority
Just one year ago, California stood on the brink of history: would a majority of voters choose to strip legally recognized Constitutional rights from a minority group? The answer was an anemic yes, but a yes nonetheless. Overnight, millions of California citizens were relegated to second-class citizenship. We (since I count myself among this minority) literally had fewer rights than our neighbors thanks to 52% of the voters. It hurt. And it was wrong.
Tonight, by the same percentage of voters, Maine committed the same act of Constitutional treachery. Swayed by ignorance, bigotry, fear and misunderstanding, another simple majority has eliminated the rights of a minority group. Tonight, 53% of the people who showed up to the polls in Maine were successful in their attack on civil liberty. I hope they are proud.
Now, though, it's our turn. Either we stand up, resolve to fight this fundamental breach of our nation's promise to its citizens that we are all equal, and condemn all who stand in our way until we win. Or we should give up. The choice is simple: fight or flight.