The People Have Spoken

In the short time since the November 4th election in which America chose to install Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America I made various comments across the Blogosphere. These comments have ranged from despairing through rationally dissenting and onward into anger. The responses from President-Elect Obama’s supporters have been – irrespective of my tone – largely vitriolic, rude and/or condescending. One non-inflammatory response though has been heavily prevalent:

“The People Have Spoken”

Apparently in the minds of the Democrats and other Obama supporters since an approximately 7% majority of the American electorate chose Obama, Conservatives – and quasi-Conservatives like myself – are supposed to just be quiet and join in to support President-Elect Obama’s agenda.

OK, I can understand that sentiment. Here’s a thought though. Also on November 4th the state of California passed Proposition 8 and added an Amendment to the California State Constitution that outlawed same-sex marriages. This referendum was passed by an approximately 5% margin of the California electorate despite the opposition having spent significantly more than the proponents.

Homosexuals and supporters of their rights are currently engaged in large scale protests across the state of California. They also intend to continue to fight against this constitutional amendment though the courts system – presumably all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary.

If any of Obama’s supporters are so sure of the rightness and wisdom of the American electorate why don’t they tell the opponents of California’s Proposition 8 to be quiet and accept the outcome of the democratic process? After all –

“The People Have Spoken”

If they’re not willing to trust the wisdom of the American electorate, why should Conservatives do so? I’m fairly sure a large number of President-Elect Obama’s supporters do not approve of Proposition 8 and view its passing into law as an abject failure of the democratic process. I view both Obama’s election and Proposition 8 as failures of the democratic process.

If you’re not willing to tell the homosexuals in California to shut up and accept the outcome of the vote, show the same restraint towards those who supported Sen. McCain for President.

Related Reading:

Religious Freedom and Gay Rights: Emerging Conflicts in the United States and Europe
Nathan Turner's I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way
Fodor's California: with the Best Road Trips (Full-color Travel Guide)
Obama: An Intimate Portrait
Amongst the Liberal Elite: The Road Trip Exploring Societal Inequities Solidified by Trump (RESIST)

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9 Responses to “The People Have Spoken”

  1. Bo from Valentine Wolfe Says:

    One of the most disturbing trends of the late 20th century is the notion that winning or losing an election doesn’t matter; you can always sue if you don’t like the outcome.

    I’m deeply saddened by the California Prop 8 vote, but as you say, the People have Spoken. I’m curious as to why you feel both Obama’s election and Prop 8 were failures of the democratic process, though…is it the margin of victory?

  2. Keith Johnson Says:

    Welcome to living in America.

    Americans have spoken and Barack Obama will be our next president.

    Californians (which I am one of) voted for Prop 8.

    Both of those are great examples of “the people have spoken”. That’s Democracy. That’s the heart of what makes this country great.

    Another thing that makes it great is that people have the right to express their displeasure with anything under the sun, including politics and how people have voted.

    Gay rights activists have every right to protest, even though the reality is that the majority of Californians (and Barack Obama, BTW) do not support gay marriage.

    McCain supporters have every right to protest, even though the reality is that the majority of Americans voted in Obama, and Obama will be in charge of the executive branch of the government in January.

    That’s just reality.

    You have every right to complain about vitrolic idiots on the left who are foaming and ranting at you and your position.

    Just like I have every right to mention that you returning the favor doing the exact same thing on the right.

    If you want to do something constructive, then get involved with your party, and support candidates who can win elections. Democrats didn’t learn that lesson with Gore and Kerry, but they sure as heck figured it out for Obama. It wasn’t that long ago that Bush Sr. and Dole crashed and burned, requiring the GOP to regroup, reevaluate, and rebrand themselves with folks like Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America. That (and Clinton’s performance as president) paved the way for a charismatic Republican to offer inspiration and appeal to Americans… not just their party.

    In short, stand for something that means something and get involved, or feel free to watch your party continue to lose elections while you rant online.

    You live in America, so the choice is up to you.

  3. jonolan Says:

    Bo,

    My feelings on both elections are based on the idea that the electorate bought a bill of goods that was without substance. The reasons that I believe both Obama and Proposition 8 “passed muster” are flawed.

    It really seems that a lot of people didn’t vote for Obama because he was the best choice based on his policies. They voted for him because he was the most drastic change available from Bush, was very charismatic, and the idea of electing a Black President was electrifying (They ARE right about that.)

    Similarly, Proposition 8 pasts largely because people were told to be afraid of the later possible consequences to religious rights if gay marriage was allowed. A lot of people didn’t seem to vote for Prop 9 as much as they voted against a manufactured fear.

    I’m reminded of a quote from Winston Churchill,

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    The effects of the margins that both elections were won by is a different matter. Their also secondary in importance to me when discussing this particular topic.

    In the case of the Presidential election, it’s only effect should be a reminder that nearly half of America didn’t want Obama; he has no more of a mandate than Bush did, and I hope he and his administration have a better understanding of that fact than his predecessor did.

    In the case of Proposition 8 my feeling on the slim margin of victory are different and more infrastructural and legal in nature. It really worries me that California law allows their State Constitution to be amended by a simple majority.

    Keith,

    A VERY well-reasoned reply thank you. In point of fact, I completely agree with you. This post was really aimed at the many people who support Obama who do not agree with you on maintaining a singular consistent attitude towards the wisdom of the electorate and the right of their opposition to continue to dissent.

    I had be struck by the divergent attitude of people towards opponents in the two elections, that was all.

    Yo both Bo and Keith – Please come again; you’re always welcome – in agreement or opposition – at Reflections From A Murky Pond.

  4. Kelly Mahan Jaramillo Says:

    Good Afternoon, Jonolan –
    I, too, am sorry you are getting a bunch of flak on some of your posts. The People Have Spoken, and a lot of them are still speaking, and a lot of them are disagreeing! So, the folks who are shouting “the People Have Spoken” need to settle down and perhaps start listening.

    On Prop 8 – as a former Californian, I am saddened by it, as I do believe in equal rights for all. However, there is another impact it is having that no one has brought up – the effect on the business of wedding events, and all of the business owners that it is adversely affecting. Wedding Planners, Wedding cake makers, tuxedo shops, flower shops, etc, have already seen revenue drop. There is a whole article about it in the New York Times: (Hope this link comes thru):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/us/07marriage.html?hp

    So, once again, there are other voices that are not so happy with the Prop 8 decision, and they are not coming from emotion or religious beliefs – they are coming from an economic standpoint.

    I found that kind of interesting, thought I’d pass it along.

  5. virgomonkey Says:

    Well, I hear you. But we’re not a democratic nation, anyway. We’ve always been a constitutional republic.

  6. in2thefray Says:

    52% for Obama = Landslide and mandate
    52% against gay marriage is a narrow victory
    Also the $$$ of the gay marriage “industry” is a scam and an insult to homosexuals. Either you support the idea of same sex marriage or you don’t but don’t live the fiscal lie of wedding revenues. Besides from an economic stand point especially from a government perspective defeating gay marriage is good. That way you can tax everyone at the singles rate.

  7. Susan Says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Itís new, and Iím a little nervous as I actually start walking on my newly-found political feet. Iím sure Iím going to blunder all over the place.

    Actually, I think I can address why you’ve gotten some fairly vitriolic responses. Itís pretty simple. It’s a response to eight years of Bush, two wars, and the state of the market. I know that Bush isn’t responsible for everything; much of this began in the Clinton administration and even before. Heck, some of this started before we even became a nation. It is usually impossible to point to a particular moment and say “this is when it all began,” but it sure is tempting to do so.

    I can tell you that as a democrat in a very republican state that I’ve pretty much been in hiding for 8 years. This was a chicken response, but I couldnít stand being called unpatriotic because I didnít agree with Bushís policies on the waróthat has been a fairly consistent party line, an either youíre with us or against us approach. So I kept my mouth shut and laid low. Again, not the best response. And then during the campaign, it was just that much more hatred. Every single time I watched one of the McCain or Palin rallies, it was like attending a wrestling match. ďIn this corner, we have Senator Barack Obama . . . booooooo.Ē For heavenís sake. (I donít recall; was there that much booing during the last election?) Then Palin pops off with comments about ProAmerican parts of the country and how universities plant the seeds of discontent. Iím tired of an era of anti-intellectualism. Shouldnít we have the best and brightest in office? Palin has been consistently verbally abusive to democrats, to those who would disagree, to those she classifies as the intellectual elite.

    Iím not going to say really ugly things. Iíll get snarky on occasion, but unless someone gets abusive, Iíll ignore them. I did it for 8 years. I donít mean to say that ďitís my turn” as a democrat. It isnít ďmy turn.Ē What Iím saying is that perhaps now I can say Iím a democrat without being afraid of being called unpatriotic or of falling under suspicion. Or not.

  8. jonolan Says:

    virgomonkey,

    I take it that you’re either desperate for viable 3rd or 4th parties in the US political arena, or would rather see a more direct democracy with a much higher percentage of referendum votes.

    in2thefray,

    Yeah, the a cognitive dissidence in effect when it comes to the will of the electorate. To be fair though, Bush claimed a nonexistent mandate as well. The US does seemed to have slipped into the mindset of “total victory” even when the numbers don;t support that view – except when the people speak and say something we don’t like.

    Or it could be – in a spin of the theme of virgomonkey’s comment – that the US places too much faith in it’s elected officials and too little in the People. Therefore Presidents have “mandates” and referendum votes such as Prop 8 are open for attack.

    Susan,

    Thank you stopping by. I enjoy your new blog as well.

    I’d like to make it clear that I understand the vitriol. Eight years as the opposition will make people bitter. I’m just tired of the hypocrisy I’m seeing. Either “The People Have Spoken” has an absolute meaning in our politics or it doesn’t.

  9. jz Says:

    Obama my Ass

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