By Craig Farrand
“A person is smart. People are dumb.”
– Agent K talking to Agent J in “Men in Black”
Our history is littered with people acting in concert and doing bad things.
Acting alone, most people (we hope) wouldn’t have done them; but when you can get lost in a crowd, too often you can get caught up in the mob mentality and simply do bad things.
In fact, we call such events “mob rule.”
This isn’t to be confused with democracy — although both acts share common traits.
In a democracy, we discuss, debate, hear all sides and then, ideally, decide.
A mob isn’t bound by such rules; it acts as a cancer, an invading and replicating virus, destroying anything that doesn’t look, smell, sound or feel like itself.
It’s this danger of mob rule that is being encouraged by Matty Moroun in his ads encouraging a yes vote on his personal amendment to the Michigan Constitution.
His ads, cleverly phrased to appeal to a populist sentiment, nevertheless are inciting the mob to riot at the ballot box.
His ads about the “Moroun Bridge Amendment” have a simple, deceptive message: The people should decide.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Makes your chest burst with patriotic pride?
But his goal isn’t to protect our democracy; it is to get the mob to give him what our system — our democratic republic form of government — won’t: protection.
He wants the mob, those who don’t think as individuals, to believe his entreaties; to believe he really is one of “the people.”
And “the people’s right to decide” should be protected.
Except that if you’re a registered voter — and there’s still time to register — you already have a right to decide each time you vote for your governmental representative.
Under our system, individuals support and vote for other individuals to represent them in conclaves at which important issues are debated and decided.
If you don’t like the voting record of an individual lawmaker, then vote for his or her opponent the next time around.
That’s how it works.
That’s how it has worked for more than 225 years: We manage our society via elected representatives — to our Congress, our Legislature, our city councils and our school boards.
We even do it in our housing associations, PTAs and American Legions.
We cast individual votes to elect other individuals to speak for us — thereby thwarting the evils of the mob.
But Moroun, in his desperate attempt to get his bridge — which, by the way, he won’t even if his amendment is approved — is more than willing to invoke a mob mentality by playing on our collective respect for the rights of “the people.”
It’s a cynical twisting of concepts originated by our Founding Fathers.
Yes, all power in our society rests with the people — our sacred documents say as much.
But the founders never wanted the mob to rule — which is why the blueprint for our system of government defines methods of electing individuals to represent the views of the many.
So, please, please, please, see through this blatant power play, this manipulation of what “the people” really means.
And vote no on Proposal 6: the “Moroun Bridge Amendment.”
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