Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Peoples Republic of America?

I was born in the United States of America. A nation founded with a guiding principle, as stated by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg, 'that government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.'

Sadly, some people in assumed positions of power apparently don't subscribe to this principle. I am referring to appointed lawyers who take it upon themselves to legislate from the bench. The Constitution places the role of the judiciary in a function similar to a baseball umpire. An umpire calls balls and strikes, rules batted balls fair or foul and determines if batters or runners are out or safe. They are not entitled, however, to change the rules of the game based on whim, arguments from players or to placate the opinions of rabid fans.

The Founding Fathers of the United States crafted the constitution to assure that the judiciary would only rule on laws, not make them. These early Americans had just gone through a period where they had been governed by appointed rulers without representation. This was so egregious to these people that they waged a war with the most powerful nation on earth of that day.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, although I have read most novels written by John Grisham. I do, however, consider myself a 'Reader's Digest' student of the law. I took classes in business and constitution law in college and have always been intrigued by history and political science.

In March of 2000 California voters (government of the people) passed a ballot initiative, Proposition 22, with fourteen words. It read "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." My wife and I worked on that campaign as grassroots coordinators for passage of the initiative. When the final vote was tallied, 61% of Californian's agreed that marriage should be defined exclusively as between a man and a woman. The overwhelming will of the people had been recorded.

In gauging political victories this was a landslide. In presidential elections since 1872 (the first election for which popular vote counts are available) only the 1936 election of Franklin Roosevelt had greater than 61%. He got 62% of the vote in that year.

On May 15, 2008, the California state supreme court voted 4 -3 to overturn Proposition 22. With a stroke of the pen, four appointed lawyers (decidedly not government by the people) momentarily silenced the voice of the people. These things are supposed to happen in other countries, ruled by despots - not the United States of America.

A new ballot initiative, Proposition 8, has been qualified for the election on November 4, 2008. (see This time it is a constitutional amendment with the exact same words contained in Proposition 22 eight years ago. In another post I may discuss the issues pertinent Proposition 8. Today, however, I am working not only to preserve and protect the institution of marriage in California, but in a broader sense I am working to tell appointed lawyers that this is not the Peoples Republic of America. Rather, it is the United States of America - based on a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

That is only one reason that I am encouraging a vote for Yes on Prop 8.

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1 comment:

Marcia said...

Who knew my brother could be so clear on an issue. Thanks for taking the time to blog and post. I've sent Alex the link for this, as I think it would be good for him to read it. --Marcia