Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Here's How It Works, People:

You get to vote in elections (or not vote, but that's your choice). Elections can go either way. Sometimes your candidates win, and sometimes they lose. When your candidates lose, that doesn't mean the results are illegitimate.

The people who do win these elections are then authorized to make decisions on your behalf, even if you didn't vote for them. That authorization continues until they leave office.

Sometimes the winners do things you don't like. The fact that you don't like them doesn't mean those things were done without your consent or representation. You gave your consent when you voted in an election, and you are represented by whoever wins. Unless you didn't vote. In which case, you gave your consent by default.

When this happens, it isn't an abuse of power, or unconstitutional, or tyranny. It's the political system working in an entirely legitimate way. A way you might happen not to like, but the way it was meant to work.

Oh, and by the way? The people do not directly vote on legislation. An opinion poll is not a plebiscite. When Congress passes a bill that a majority of poll respondents oppose, that isn't un-democratic; it's just a different decision about what should be done, by the people whose job it is to make those decisions.

When you claim that any given result of the legislative process is illegitimate just because you don't like it, you de-legitimize the process as a whole. Which you're perfectly free to do, because it's a free country, and people can say stupid things if they want to. But if you do try to de-legitimize the legislative process, you don't get to pretend that the people who designed the process are on your side.

Got that?

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