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The Tyranny of the Minority

Posted by Rick · November 17th, 2004 · No Comments

I’ve taken to reading blogs or foreign newspapers, since there’s no news in American “news” anymore. Every large American paper is now The National Enquirer; every televised “news” program is the Fox show. And of late, there’s been talk in those venues about the Tyranny of the Majority. I think I’ve even mistakenly commented on it myself. Those who have written about it worry about the coming storm:

In those [first] 100 days [of Bush’s second term], a constitutional system based on majority rule with minority protection is under threat. The drafters of the constitution understood that the tyranny of the majority could be more fearsome and destructive than the rule of an autocratic despot. Now, the majority rules, absolutely. There is no room for the dignity of those who fought on the other side. Albert Scardino, “US sets out its holy order” (November 8, 2004) Guardian Unlimited.

Bob Marcotte, who writes here occasionally, but is currently side-lined by tendonitis, sometimes complains — and helps remind me of the need to be careful of how I approach the subject — about my discussion of religious issues. I don’t agree with everything Bob says about my ability to comment on Christianity. After all, I study the Christian Bible more than the majority of Christians — and I’m not just talking about the pseudo-Christian Republican right wingnut subgroup with respect to that factoid. (My wife would probably kill me if she knew what I recently spent to put Zondervan’s PRADIS product, complete with several English translations of the Christian Bible, the United Bible Society Greek Version, the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and numerous related reference works, including Christian encyclopediae, on my laptop. So, honey, don’t read what I just wrote. ;)) And it seems patently false to state that only people who are adherents of a particular world-view are capable of understanding that view. Still less does it make sense to say they are incapable of commenting upon that view. Adherents may have a particularly unique way of holding the view. But if they’re the only ones who may comment upon, critique, or criticize (or laud) the view, then we might as well stop with Republicans trying to bash Democrats and vice-versa; they just don’t have the requisite understanding, let alone the right.

But there’s one thing with which I agree with Bob one-hundred percent.

The rabid and currently frothing Republican “Christian” right wingnut faction is Christian in name only. They do not make up the majority of Christianity.

They do not make up the majority of any kind. Everyone has it backwards.

The wave of oppression getting ready to hit the United States like a tsunami is a product of the Tyranny of the Minority.

To understand this more clearly, consider the insult another good friend feels when there is a discussion of the way the division in America has played out.

Various “maps” of the United States’ most recent election are currently making the rounds. Some are quite interesting, like the one that shows that the distribution of so-called “red” (Republican) to “blue” (Democrat) states compared to the distribution of states that were against slavery prior the Civil War and those that were active in holding slaves.

Mark King is proud of his Liberal-with-a-capital-L southern upbringing and finds the caricatures, misrepresntations and slanders of the South more than a little irritating.

And rightly so.

The Republican Noise Machine’s blathering about “mandates” notwithstanding, George Bush won the popular vote nationwide by a scant three percent. The representations on maps of the United States are misleading in this regard. Kerry won only about 19 states and the rest of the states went for George Bush, but this does not mean that everyone in “the red states” voted for Bush, just as it doesn’t mean that my next-door neighbor, Nick, voted for Kerry just because he lives in “a blue state.”

Bush’s “mandate” is based upon the idea of winning 51% of the popular vote. In Ohio — the state Diebold delivered, as promised — where they’re actually still counting votes (by law, they must be finished by December 1), something like 136,000 votes separate the two candidates the last time I checked. That’s about one-fifth the number of people who live in Fresno, California. But it’s a red state (so far).

And Mark’s home state of Georgia? Even in that “Deep South” state, approximately 42% of citizens voted for Bush’s opponents.

So let’s forget about the fact that not everyone who could have legally registered to vote did so. And let’s forget that — even with the high turn-out — not everyone who registered voted. Obviously, if we take that into account, Bush’s 51% immediately dips below the half-way mark relative to the number of voting-age citizens in the United States.

We don’t even have to get into arguments about “what might have been” to recognize that Bush doesn’t have a mandate and it’s not the majority that’s prepping to tyrannize the rights of the minority. For within the mass of ignorant people who voted to allow George Bush to continue to fiddle with our Constitution while Iraq burns, not all did so because they believe in theocracy. The Washington Post, for example, reports that religious conservatives made up 23 percent of the electorate. If that number is true, then 26 million of the approximately 119-120 million voters were religious conservatives. And the New York Times reports that 78 percent of those who identified themselves as “evangelical Christians” voted for Bush; this means 22 percent did not.

Now I’m no mathematician, but it’s nevertheless clear to me that no matter how you cook the books, this isn’t “a majority” that’s getting ready to cram moral legislation down our throats. It’s a very, very vocal minority.

And rather than follow the example of the one they claim as their G-d, who went about and called, (Matthew 4:21, ; literally, “and called them”) rather than forced, people to follow him, these folk followed another to a very high mountain, viewed all the kingdoms of the world, and decided they must have them. (See Matthew 4:8.)

Yet, for all that, they remain in the minority. And the tyranny they wish to rain down upon us is not the result of listening to the longest recorded sermon their Christ ever preached (Matthew 5:2-7:27), it is the tyranny of those who lust for power, those who are not content to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16) when the kingdoms of the world are within their grasp.

It is the Tyranny of a Greedy and G-dless Minority.


Categories: Constitutional Issues


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