As Goes Russell, So Goes…

November 8, 2006 | 31 comments
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It looks as though the nation may be starting to look more like Russell, frightening as that is for some of us. I am not talking about the election results, but rather the results of ballot initiatives. Eight states had initiatives banning same-sex marriage or defining marriage as being exclusively between a man and a women. (For the record I voted against Virginia’s proposed amendment, which I thought was both redundant and too broadly drafted.) Six states had ballot initiatives raising the minimum wage. All of these initiatives passed. In the case of the same-sex marriage amendments, they passed by very large majorities — 60 percent in some states. Trying to read cosmic shifts into the outcomes in particular votes is seldom a good idea, but if you wanted to parse the initiative results from yesterday it would seem that the nation that vented its ire on the Republican Congress remains staunchly unpersuaded by the arguments for gay marriage and unregulated wages. Of course, such a generalization is probably wrong. I certainly don’t expect that Democratic pandering to the labor unions is going to stop the juggernaut of globalization and we’ll repeal NAFTA. Nor do I expect to see vigorous enforcement of cohabitation statutes or blue laws to start springing up.

To the extent that the nation starts moving toward some sort of populist Nirvana, I suppose that things could be worse for Mormons, many of whom are likely to find such a world congenial. Of course, they’ll have to jettison the Book of Mormon’s teachings on free trade.

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31 Responses to As Goes Russell, So Goes…

  1. mami on November 8, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    The Arizona same sex marriage initiative did not pass.

  2. Frank McIntyre on November 8, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    Those verses are also pro-immigration, which, if you are so heartless as to think of people as inputs to production, amounts to just another form of free trade.

    I’ve often thought, by the way, that Utah County talks a good Republican game, but when it comes to actual economic conservatism they don’t do so hot. They’ll dump money into useless commuter rails (or whatever) about as fast as the next town.

  3. Julie M. Smith on November 8, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    It would be interesting to compare how local initiatives did in the aggregate, too: Austin had seven big-spender initiatives and all passed.

    (While normally fiscally conservative, ask me how gleeful I am about the 90M library.)

  4. Nate Oman on November 8, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    mami: My mistake. Thanks for the correction. The Arizona vote was 49% to 51%.

  5. mami on November 8, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    Although It appears it would have passed, if they had not added in things banning benefits to umarried heterosexual couples also.

  6. Frank McIntyre on November 8, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    “(While normally fiscally conservative, ask me how gleeful I am about the 90M library.)”

    C’mon Julie, don’t be a hack. Tell me you voted against it on principle!

  7. HP on November 8, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t think it is necessary to read that passage as approving of free trade. I think it is neutral on the topic.

  8. Lamonte on November 8, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Nate – I’m glad to find a fellow Mormon who joined me in a vote against the Marriage Amendment in Virginia. I’m sure your reason for doing so is far more logical and well thought out than mine. I could never get anyone to explain to me why voting against the amendment would allow “some radical federal judge” to jeapordize my marriage to my wife. This was the claim on at least one of the mailers that arrived at my house.

    As a life long Democrat I hope the new House leadership has learned a lesson from the message that was sent last night. I’ll let you all decide for yourselves what that message was.

  9. Nate Oman on November 8, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Lamonte: I am a life-long Republican. I am not in favor of gay marriage. I think that having a judge require gay marriage as a matter of constitutional law (state or federal) would be a travesty. On the other hand, I think that gay couples face some real legal difficulties, and I think that states ought to be free to legislate to deal with those difficulties. I think that a fair argument could be made that the Virginia amendment now forbids the state legislature from doing so.

  10. Herodotus on November 8, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Aww, come on fellas. No need to get steamed. Someone’s going to pick up their marbles and go home.

    err…. Sorta like Rumsfeld apparently just did.

    o.O

  11. Michael on November 8, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Amazing that no one has proposed state amendments to address the real problem affecting marriage and families – DIVORCE and ADULTERY. Let’s just blame it on the poor gays and lesbians and ignore the elephant in the room.

  12. Adam S. on November 8, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    I’m amazed at how the converstaion here always seems to backslide into gay marriage debate.

  13. Nate Oman on November 8, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Adam S.: You’re not the only one…

  14. Russell Arben Fox on November 8, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Well, since you’re using me as a reference point, I might as well make my position on the 2006 elections clear.

  15. Lamonte on November 8, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    Nate – despite my vote against the amendment I’m not in favor of gay marriage or the gay lifestyle. I just don’t agree with the logic or the arguments in favor of the amendment. And I still don’t understand how voting ‘no’ on that amendment would undermine or threaten my own marriage. I’ve heard it said that marriage has a different meaning in a religious context than it does in a civil context. Perhaps we Mormons should understand that better than others. I wonder if we should work to make more of a distinction between civil unions, that allow for legal attachments between couples, and marriage where there is a spiritual bond.

  16. Elvis Presley on November 8, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    I’ll take the heartless immigration advocates who see immigrants as inputs into economic engines above the heartless immigration opponents who see them as criminals or invaders.

    And I’ll take useless commuter rail over useless and wasteful highway expansion any day. The only pity is that the more part of the people in Utah for the past half century have chosen things contrary to that which is right, which makes the cities along the Wasatch Front essentially unliveable unless one has a car to use for every trip from home–whether to work, shop, party or worship. Which, unfortunately, makes intelligent transit virtually impossible.

  17. DHofmann on November 8, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    I voted against the amendment because the definition of marriage involving “one man and one woman” would make it all the more difficult to re-legalize polygamy. All Mormons should have voted against it.

  18. MikeInWeHo on November 8, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    re: 12 Nate started it !

  19. maf on November 8, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

    and one more…

    9 We do not believe it just to amingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.

  20. maf on November 8, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    re #11.

    Thank you for saying that! Iv\’e been told by many institute instructor that you can\’t legislate morality when it comes to adultery, fornication, ect.

  21. Mark B. on November 8, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    Darn, it looks as if that Elvis post made it through admin and was posted. The pseudonym makes no sense on this thread–it was dreamed up for another one.

    I promise never to appear as Elvis again.

  22. Mark N. on November 8, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    From an eternal perspective, is a non-temple-sealed homosexual marriage any worse than a non-temple-sealed heterosexual marriage?

  23. Susan on November 8, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    So Nate, who did you vote for as senator. That is probably the vote that will mater.

  24. Mark B. on November 9, 2006 at 10:45 am

    Re: 22.

    Yes.

  25. MikeInWeHo on November 9, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    re: 24 Because at least the latter could later be sealed by proxy, etc?

  26. gst on November 9, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    Frank (#2):

    I’ve often thought, by the way, that Utah County talks a good Republican game, but when it comes to actual economic conservatism they don’t do so hot. They’ll dump money into useless commuter rails (or whatever) about as fast as the next town.

    You make a good point. Reminds me of the Springfield Monorail:

    Lyle Lanley: The name’s Lanley. Lyle Lanley. And I come before you good people tonight with an idea. Probably the greatest… Aw, it’s not for you. It’s more of a Shelbyville idea.

    Quimby: Now wait just a minute! We’re twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville! Just tell us your idea and we’ll vote for it!

  27. Frank McIntyre on November 9, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    gst, yup.

  28. Mathew on November 9, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t live in Utah County or even Utah and haven’t followed the commuter rail story closely–Frank can you lay out the basics of the proposal and explain why you think it is a bad idea? I’m assuming you believe it doesn’t make economic sense.

  29. Rob on November 15, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Nate, hope you were being tongue in cheek there with your comments about free trade in the BoM. The passages you cite seem to be merely a historical observation about trading during a few years when there weren’t wars. There doesn’t seem to be any statement there linking free trade to righteousness. Instead, we see that free trade just got everyone rich so they could collapse again into pride and warfare. If you want to find justification for modern free trade policies by referring to the BoM, or ancient Mesoamerican merchant trade practices, you might want to keep looking.

  30. Nate Oman on November 15, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Rob: I am completely serious about everything all of the time. Only someone who is unaware of the Gaddianton minions of apostate Christianity who are driving this nation toward environmental apocolypse would consider levity at such a time of crisis.

  31. Frank McIntyre on November 15, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Mathew, I just saw your comment.

    In brief, the commuter rail takes people from where they don’t live to where they don’t work and it costs a ton of money. So yes, I think it is a lousy idea because it costs way more than it benefits.