When Are You Worse Than A Bigot?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Jim Wheeler, Nevada lawmaker, said that he’d vote for slavery if his constituents wanted it.
But, he adds, “There is absolutely no room in my life for any bigotry.”  He’s not a bigot.  He just believes very strongly that he has to do the will of the people, and if those people want slavery, well, he’d hold his nose and vote for slavery.
So no, Jim.  You’re not a bigot.  You’re worse.  You’re a spineless man who knows better, and yet is so desperate to retain power that you’ll actively do the wrong thing rather than resign.  Or, you know, vote against it.  You’re the kind of scummy, thin-water politician who lets all kinds of dumb-ass horrors happen because, “Hey, the people want it!”  As if a mere collection of votes created justice.
I know we venerate “the people” in America.  And Democracy is a fine thing.  But too often, the majority wants stupid and selfish things, and it’s the job of politicians to get in their goddamned way.  This is why politicians are often not popular; their electorate wants magic, simple solutions, and the real answers are generally dissatisfying compromises and long-term struggles against herculean opposition.  So good politicians, even effective ones, are often hated.
(I want single-payer health care. Yet as I’ve seen the crazy opposition to the Republican-created, very insurance-company-friendly Obamacare, I start to think Obama knew exactly how unlikely it was he could have gotten us to a British system.  So I can hate on Obama, but there’s a damn good chance he was more in touch with reality than I was.)
If you’re nothing but a rubber stamp for your electorate, then no.  You’re not a bigot.  You’re just a channel to enact bigotry, creating more legalized hatred and despair than any one individual bigot, and you actually know better.
Not something to be proud of, Jim.  Not something to be proud of at all.


  1. Lyn Belzer-Tonnessen
    Oct 29, 2013

    It’s a paraphrase, I’ll grant you, but I am reminded of the words assigned to Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia in the musical 1776:

    I’m sorry if I startled you. I couldn’t sleep. In trying to resolve my dilemma I remembered something I’d once read, “that a representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.”

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