Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Having it Our Way

When it comes to laws, I respect all laws that are decided by the people. I may not like the law, but since a majority of the people decided the law over legislators and courts the law is not political decided, but democratically decided. For instance, the people of Colorado recently legalized marijuana and placed a limit on campaign contributions. I am against these laws and although they conflict with federal laws, I prefer issues that are passed by referendum and decided by the people. I also prefer when these issue are decided on a state by state basis because they are controversial – this is the best way to compromise on these issues (same states will legalize marijuana while others will not).

A lot of people like to pick the laws they prefer regardless if they were decided by the people, the states, the federal government, or courts. I do not understand this because this is not Democracy. Sure, it would be nice for all policies to meet my criteria, standards, and ideology, but it is just not practical. And this is a big reason for polarity in this country, we expect everything to go our way and that is simply not realistic. For example, a lot of liberals are happy Colorado legalized marijuana and placed restrictions on campaign contributions. At the same time they are against laws passed by the people of other states that may place restrictions on stem cells, defend marriage between men and women, pass stricter voter ID laws, or pass stricter immigration policies. Yet, even though many of these laws do not conflict with federal law, people are against them solely because of their beliefs. People are impatient and unwilling to enforce the will of the people and therefore expect local, state, and federal legislators and courts to intervene and interfere against the will of the people. This is not democracy.

Case in point, gay marriage is a good example. Many people are outraged that the people of many states voted against gay marriage. Unwilling the uphold the will of the people, the courts intervened on the issue. Now the case is before the Supreme Court. It would be wrong for the courts to rule on this issue one way or the other. Many liberals are still outraged over the Supreme Courts unwillingness to interfere and overturn lower court rulings in the Dred Scott case. But the court was right to not interfere hence, slavery was abolished much faster than if the court did interfere. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, was wrong to interfere on abortion rights. This has led to 40 years of political fights simply because the courts would not let the people of each state decide the issue.

Over time, public opinion changes, and eventually gay marriage may pass a majority of states. In fact, in a decade or two legalization of gay marriage may have enough votes to become an amendment to the Constitution. Although it takes time to overcome stigmas and perceived injustices, it will happen if it is the will of the people. This happened for slavery, civil rights, and it happened for women’s rights. These all became amendments to our constitution and this is the right way to overcome controversial issue, not by having the courts and legislators interfere with the rights of the people.

Eventually, we may have legalized marijuana and gay marriage in our country. I may not fully agree with these issues, but if it is the will of the people and they become amendments to our constitution – who can argue with our great democratic system.


  1. I am a great believer in state’s rights and I agree that drug use laws should be up to the states as long as this does not in any way bring about unintended consequences to people in other states because of federal laws and programs that haven’t been thought through. For instance, do we, as taxpayers, have to foot the bill for rehab programs or for welfare to drug addicts and their families? As long as each state is solely responsible for the consequences of their lenient drug laws, that’s fine by me.

    Gay marriage by the states presents a big problem. Just consider the federal tax situation. You’re taxed differently depending on whether you’re single or married, but now what qualifies as “marriage” is going to be different in every state. That’s unequal treatment under the law. What about other federally regulated programs like retirement accounts and the rules regarding spouses? And what happens when a couple that’s married in one state moves to a state that doesn’t recognize gay marriage? What is their status now? Either we need to have a system where only the states can make laws that relate to marriage and the federal gov’t must remove all references/laws relating to marriage OR we need to have a constitutional amendment defining marriage one way or another. But there’s the rub – gay marriage proponents don’t want to try for an amendment because they believe they will lose. So instead they are trying to get gay marriage in by the back door.

  2. I forgot to say that it looks like some folks in your state have decided to assert a bit of democracy these past few days, Patrick (talking about the recalls). I’m happy to see it.

    1. I am not a big fan of recalls. I think it sets a bad precedent and people will be recalled for policy disagreements and not for criminal activity. I like the outcome of the recalls, but Democrats will now use this to go after Republicans in the future.

      I understand your point on gay marriage. But, once again, our tax laws need to be restructured, they are way too convoluted and confusing.