Monday, May 19, 2008

Quote of the week ...

... on the Marriage Equality Debate (from Bruce-my-Florida-attorney-friend):

I find it very ironic that people who say they are in favor of strict constructionism will go off and amend the Constitution like it's the local building code. These folks need to go back and read the Federalist Papers and pay attention to the parts about the tyranny of the majority. There's a reason we're not a democracy. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for lunch.

And there you have it! Now, back to our regularly scheduled representative government, complete -- thank God! -- with checks and balances!



Paul B said...

Perhaps you could explain why tyranny of the minority is better.

john said...

Tyranny of the minority my A**. Who is forcing ANY straight person to marry someone of his or her own gender?

Pfalz prophet said...

Susan, The Federalist Papers should be required reading for every high school student in the country. I loved your attorney's statement, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for lunch," but I would add a proviso, below.

Paul B, a good example of a tyrannical minority would be the Union of South Africa under the National Party after 1948. Tyranny, whether by a majority or a minority, is still tyranny. Or, as Abraham Lincoln said it, "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."

Bruce said...

The framers were concerned about the tyranny of the MAJORITY, namely a one-issue majority (or faction, as they called it)trampling the rights of the minority. To prevent one issue from dominating the government's agenda, the framers wisely put in place the famous "checks and balances" which, in addition to requiring the President to approve legislation, but giving the Congress the power to override a veto, also include staggering the terms of office for the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President, and giving life terms to the members of the Supreme Court.

The idea was that no one issue would be so long lived that it could outlast all the election cycles necessary to pack the Executive, both houses of the Congress and the Court.

Unfortunately, this issue just might have the staying power to dominate our civil discourse for many years to come.

Another good idea, which we have abandoned, was to have the senators from each state chosen by the state legislatures, further insulating them from the whims of the electorate and also giving state governments a say in the operations of the Federal government.