What I’m most concerned about is the contempt that some modern politicians show for the democratic process itself.
True, democracy does, at times, produce a result that we don’t like. That’s where the humility comes in. But so long as the process is preserved, we can come back and do a better job of convincing the voters next time. And democracy provides a calming influence on partisan passions, because whoever prevails has the moral authority of having won “the majority” making the outcome easier to accept – provided that the question can be revisited. Democracy is a constant and always shifting discussion.
I don’t know what the politicians who oppose it would put in its place: A dictatorship of the proletariat? That experiment was tried by those who didn’t trust voters to make the “right” decision either, and it was the source of much human suffering before it finally crashed to the ground.
Maybe they want to replace democracy with a star-chamber of “elites” – drawn from the political class, professional bureaucrats, and those who fund them. Maybe they want to do away with elections altogether and just have an un-elected court make our laws. It could be argued that we are well along this path already.
I cringe when I hear these attacks on democracy, because it is so not American, so against who we are. Americans are neighborly because we talk things over, agree to disagree, have a vote, and then respect the outcome. We get along because we know that those who oppose you in one argument may be your allies in the next. That’s democracy.
Democracy is the best way of resolving this issue, so lets’ talk to each other, take a vote, and decide.
Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) is the sponsor of ACR-39, legislation to put the definition of marriage on the ballot for the people of New Jersey to decide.