Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I prefer a real democracy

I prefer a real democracy. By that I mean I would like to live in a place where
  • Voters were neither ignorant nor easily misinformed via the media.
  • All who had the right to vote felt an obligation to vote, even to the extent of spending time to independently come to an understanding of the likely consequences of votes on complex issues.
  • Voters felt responsible for their country and their society as much as for obtaining benefits for their own little piece of the demographic pie.

But the reality is we have a long history of the many disenfranchising the few. We have again and again exhibited a fearful narrowness where only one conventional idea of "normal" was tolerated and that narrowness enshrined in law or custom. As a nation we have turned away from our neighbors and turned on the TV. We have become easier rather than harder to mislead.

All these pathetic tendencies may be written off as "human nature" but let no one, not even a priest or a right wing talk show host, get away with asserting that we should be ruled by that nature. All these pathetic tendencies have long been at work and their pernicious workings were clear to those who deliberated in the writing of our national and state constitutions. A thin paper wall, a reminder of our better selves' occasional clarity about the need for fairness and easily breached by the judges and lawyers who represent that fearful narrowness...that is all we have against our pathetic tendencies.

And right now, in Massachusetts, a powerful minority, who want their reading of Leviticus to stand as law for all of us, are betting that an apathetic majority, who just don't know or don't want to look past their personal discomfort with sexual orientation, will look the other way while that thin paper wall is dismantled to make the work of narrow judges and priests easy.

You can help avert this backsliding, this cruel neglect of progress toward a fair society.

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