I have been somewhat troubled by some comments about yesterdays election in the USA which are appearing on a few websites/twitter feeds.

In case you are not aware of it – in addition to the fantastic decision to elect Barak Obama as President-Elect, a whole raft of “referendums” were also carried out at the same time. The most newsworthy of these being the Proposition 8 in California, which restricted marriage to being between a man and a woman – basically banning gay marriage in the State. Little noticed by most armchair commentators this morning, but similar propositions were also proposed in Florida and Arizona.

All three were approved by the electorate – which has sparked howls of outrage from people complaining about the vote.

What concerns me is how these people are both lauding the democratic principle which lead to the Obama presidency – but are also condemning democracy for permitting those same voters who also chose to express their views on gay marriage.

It is argued by some that Obama won in large part thanks to the vast cash war chest, which is supposed to be good – and yet California’s Proposition 8 also won thanks to a vast war chest of cash, and this is deemed to be bad.

Do they use a different currency in California from Washington to explain this oddity?

In a democracy, you have a situation where people will at times vote in a manner which you personally don’t like. I personally am really annoyed that Proposition 8 was passed, but even more annoyed with people who are taking that as an excuse to curtail the democratic principle.

One chap actually tried to argue that the Proposition is a form of apartheid, which is viable – but the cure he proposed was to then deny people who hold religious views from being allowed to express them in a democratic vote – which is also a form of apartheid.

Maybe one day, someone will invent a better form of government. Until then, we have democracy as the best of a bad bunch, and while democracy can deliver the blessing of a government you approve of, it can also deliver the curse of a government you dislike.

It seems that for some people – democracy is only acceptable when your side wins the vote.


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