Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Roy Ashburn is Gay

Conservative US state senator Roy Ashburn is gay. Wow. That’s no big deal, you might say. And it’s not. (With a so-called openly gay – the word contains a lot of discrimination in itself – secretary of state even Germans do not really bother). What made headlines is not even that state senator Roy Ashburn only came out last week at the age of 55 or that he’s a divorced father-of-two but that gay state senator Roy Ashburn during his 14 years in office has voted as often as he could against gay rights measures. Against this alleged scandal not even Ashburn’s cautious statement that he simply voted how his constituents wanted him to vote seems to matter. Now that is a scandal. We seem to have forgotten that this was the whole idea. That people elected to office simply represent the will of the people that elected them. Roy Ashburn is fully aware of that. We seem to have forgotten because for so many years (or decades?) the longing for the visionary personalities that have a dream and make a change and other blabla shattered this very essence of democracy. Lawyers might not be the worst professional group to remind people that it’s still government of the people. No matter how many Obamas you put onto your shirt.

1 comment:

  1. Just a couple of quick points:
    1. I don't think that the proper way to view our representatives is as automatons, who willy nilly carry out what the constituents want. Voters want their reps to deliberate and be open to new ideas as well.

    2. In terms of constitutional design, the Framers' point was exactly this. They believed the House should represent the voters' will, but they viewed the Senate as a deliberative body, its virtue being precisely being removed from the people and longer tenure (6 instead of 2). Though this is a state senate, it seems that the same argument applies. State senates have been modeled after the federal system, with the same bicameral interests in mind.

    3. I hardly think that a senator voting his conscience is "bla bla" or that it "shatters the very essence of democracy". Maybe it undermines some ideals of direct democracy (as close as we can get to it), but there's still a long way to go. The question is one of democratic theory, and it is far from self evident.


Website Tracker