Against Democracy? You Bet!

Brian Fitzpatrick, senior editor at the Culture and Media Institute, believes those who want to overturn the approval of Prop 8 by a majority of California voters are fascists who are against democracy.

He says on November 4, a majority of voters in liberal California approved Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment declaring that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in the state. But he points out that militant homosexuals have not respected that decision and have vandalized property, threatened people, and mailed white powder to Mormon churches. Fitzpatrick calls that “fascism.”

“Fascism rejects democratic values. We see outright rejection of democracy in California.”

He’s half right. Those who opposed Prop 8 are very much against democracy. Why? Because we don’t live in a democracy – we, as United States citizens, live in a republic. There’s a big difference.

A democracy is where the majority rules. Whatever the majority votes to do is done. Quickly, democracy, in its purest form, becomes mob rule. A republic, on the other hand, is a system where the people are ruled by a constitution that establishes branches of government: an executive (president), a congress, and a judiciary.

Here is a good summation:

Democracy and Republic are often taken as one of the same thing, but there is a fundamental difference. Whilst in both cases the government is elected by the people, in Democracy the majority rules according to their whims, whilst in the Republic the Government rule according to law. This law is framed in the Constitution to limit the power of Government and ensuring some rights and protection to Minorities and individuals.

What Prop 8 opponents believe in is the power of the government to shield the minority from the tyranny of the majority – to prevent mob rule.

It should be pointed out that marriage equality proponents are taking the same road to their rights that blacks have taken. Yes, the two movements are different – but there are similarities. For example, when the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 that inter-racial marriage was legal under the Constitution, polls showed a majority of Americans still opposed it. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed, it certainly didn’t mean racism ended immediately in the country. The majority of people were still racist and many had to be sued—to have a court intervene—for blacks to be able to exercise the rights they had been granted under the new law.

Using the courts to grant equality when a majority of people still want inequality is, indeed, a rejection of democracy. It is, instead, an embracing of what has made America the great nation it has always been—and the republic it has always been. Significant gains for minorities have never come at the hands of a vote of the majority. It has always had to be imposed upon them by the courts or lawmakers. This is the beauty of a republic.

What Prop 8 opponents are not is fascist. According to the dictionary fascism is: “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”

In some ways, it would be nice for pro-marriage equality forces to have such power. At least there would be no battles to be fought. But no one who opposed Prop 8 is seeking to dictate or forcibly suppress opposition. They simply want the republic to work the way a republic is supposed to work – protecting minorities from the angry mob. The good news is – in time, it will.

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