Living in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8, I am compelled to point out that most voters are misguided when it comes to their critiques of the judges and the politicians who support overturning the narrowly won constitutional amendment. After much reading of the blogosphere, Fox News watching, and editorial surfing; I am amazed that at the core of this issue is not merely a misunderstanding about what Proposition 8 is or is not, but rather it is a gross failure by the majority to understand what our country is and is not. In short: America is not and never has been a real democracy!
In churches and chat rooms across America these days, you can hear the claim that "the majority" has spoken, and therefore only "anarchist liberals", "militant gays" and "activist judges" would dare to challenge what "the majority" has deemed to be fair in California. What the majority of people in chat rooms and churches don't seem to understand is that our country is not that simplified type of democracy; nor is that the vision our founding fathers had. They saw democracy as another form of tyranny, and if they were alive today to surf the net and watch screaming talk show hosts on Fox News describing our country as a democracy, they would be saddened by the betrayal of their founding vision.
Two of the most important documents of our nation, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, speak not of a democracy, but rather another form of government all together. Article IV, section 4, of the great American Constitution, promises"...to every state of this union a Republican form of government."
Furthermore, The Pledge of Allegiance, written in 1892, does not say to "the democracy for which is stands" but rather to "the republic for which it stands."
Our founding father, John Adams, described well the difference between a democracy and a republic when he said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws..." John Adams also said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
So how does all of this hoity toity verbiage apply to today's voter in plain, simple English?
Well, let's turn the tables and pretend the gun hating liberals got together to change the constitution against the minority of conservatives in the state. I can most likely stand on corners in San Francisco, Hollywood, Santa Cruz and Berkeley and get enough signatures in just one week to put a proposition on the ballot barring all citizens in California from owning firearms. However, even if it successfully passed, (which it probably would) the courts would be forced to overturn it because it is unconstitutional.
That is one example of when it just wouldn't matter what the majority voted. The majority would be wrong and the courts forced to correct it because we are not a democracy; we are a constitutional republic. It wouldn't matter that the gun haters would call the gun lovers "anarchists" or "Anti-Americans" when they sought to over rule the passed state amendment. Despite anger from the gun hating masses, the courts would still be obligated to enforce the constitution of the republic, protecting the rights of the minority of gun lovers in California.
Seemingly, many voters are not savy enough when it comes to civics and American history. They simply trust their religious leaders and their politicians and so easily forget that in America we follow a constitution, which says "liberty and justice for ALL" and not "liberty and justice for the MAJORITY or the CHRISTIANS". The true history of our country is one of an idealistic people who were the escaped survivors of tyranny and they believed that government should be a protector of inalienable human rights. Likewise, our founding fathers made sure that nowhere in the constitution was there a suggestion of the government being a granter of rights by way of a democratic rule.
Here's the question: are Americans merely uneducated about the difference between a republic and a democracy? Or have we as a country changed, and now we aspire to be the type of tyranny our ancestors feared, where a congress can do anything it can convince a majority of voters to do? Listening to the chatter of "the majority", I am afraid it may be the latter.
As for me, I will continue to pledge allegiance to the republic!