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Prop 8 and Patriot Parkway

They upheld Prop 8. It was expected. At least they are letting the marriages stand, though. I would be more than livid if I had gotten married and then it had been nullified. The effect of this decision sucks. But I'm a bit torn in my ideology about how I feel about it. I definitely disagree with Prop 8, and I think they used horrible tactics to raise money from out of state to promote it. But at the same time, it's legal. They went through the proper channels and passed the initiative. But this is what sucks about it. It's arguably unrepresentative of the electorate as a whole. Only 52% of those who voted agreed with the initiative, and only 79% of the population voted. This means that only around 41% of the population voted to ban gay marriage. Unfortunately, that's the way the system works. Democracy only works if you actually vote. Less than a majority of the state was able to enact a new law. This baffles me. I strongly encourage Californians not only to put another initiative in place to legalize it again, but also to begin to reform their ballot initiative process. You should need more than a simple majority to pass a ballot initiative.

This is older news (a month or so), but the Patriot Parkway that's been planned to go over Redstone Arsenal and connect Madison to Southeast Huntsville has been blocked by the Army. Due to "post-9/11 security concerns", they're not going to allow it to be built. It never made sense to me how they were going to justify this anyway, but I was looking forward to it. I don't agree with the decision to block it, but I understand and kind of expected it. The worst part is that there is a tremendous amount of planning (they estimate 5-10 years' worth) that will need to take place again. Your tax dollars at work.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
bjbass
May. 26th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
I don't like voter initiatives. We're supposed to vote for people to represent us in government. Initiatives provide a means for the majority to pass laws that suppress minorities, and this is an excellent example.

Can you imagine if civil rights laws had been subject to voter initiatives in the 60's?
happinessiseasy
May. 26th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
I agree, in theory (protection of minorities is a large part of what makes me a liberal), but in theory, shouldn't our elected representatives be voting on behalf of the majority in the first place? That's true representation. I don't see how ruling out ballot initiatives helps that, unless they go against the majority, in which case they're either corrupt, or voting their personal ethics/pocketbook.

I think of initiatives as a way to actually get things done. If other states are anything like Alabama, their senate works about one month a year, and gets very very little accomplished. Most bills never even get a BIR vote. Ballot initiatives are supposed to empower people to legislate without going through as much of a hassle. In this case, it was bad, but in general, I've always been under the impression that they're good.
bjbass
May. 26th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
but in theory, shouldn't our elected representatives be voting on behalf of the majority in the first place? Not at the expense of minority groups.

California has a long history of hurting itself with initiatives. Everybody likes lower taxes, right? In California, they periodically vote themselves tax cuts. As a result their schools are underfunded, their highway system is falling behind, libraries have closed, and they've pretty much dismantled what used to be one of the best university systems in the world.

Ballot initiatives that appear to be grass-roots movements often actually originate in insurance companies, religious-backed groups, or other large organizations with an agenda. If the majority of voters say biblical creation is true, does that make it so? It does, apparently, in Iowa.
happinessiseasy
May. 26th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
(Just thinking out loud here)
You know, if what you say is true, that's an interesting case study for why Libertarianism is flat-out doomed to failure. At the root of it, Libertarians want as much power at as low a level as possible, down to giving individuals rights and responsibilities they arguably should not be armed with. These ballot initiatives are, in that respect, very much a demonstration of that concept. And where they have failed, so would our country were, we to adopt that model on the large-scale.
shirou
May. 27th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
That's rather a mischaracterization. I don't think any libertarian supports giving the electorate the right to vote away the freedom of any person or group of people. Libertarians support liberties, not many rights, and certainly not responsibilities. It's true that libertarians want power to be held by individuals and not governments, but that doesn't mean that they want to transfer to individuals all the power that governments now enjoy. In general, libertarians want to limit as much as possible the power of any group over any other group.
happinessiseasy
May. 27th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
I didn't say libertarians supported responsibilities (of citizens to other citizens); I said that they support handing personal responsibility to each individual person. Californians abused that responsibility.

Just remember: none of us is stupider than all of us.
theycallmefro
May. 27th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
Ballot initiatives are supposed to empower people to legislate without going through as much of a hassle.

This is why you don't go to jail for pot in
MA anymore.

I think all of this just goes to show that the northeast is the last bastion of balls to the wall liberalism ;)
shirou
May. 27th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Jeff! Post something sometime! I have completely lost track of what you're doing in life.
bjbass
May. 27th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
For years, Ann Arbor had a five-dollar pot law -- possession would get you a five-dollar fine. It was passed by the city council. You can accomplish things in a representative government if you get the right people in there.
happinessiseasy
May. 27th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Call me when they completely legalize it via ballot initiative.

No, seriously, call me. We'll hang out.
shirou
May. 26th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
I agree, the judges did what they had to do. Hopefully the voters will be able to rectify their mistake in a year's time.
bjbass
May. 26th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
never happen.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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