|Photo: Reuters Words: F LoBuono|
Well, when there is injustice happening we are ALL supposed to do whatever we can to oppose and end it. And, so here I am - again.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence just signed a law, a so-called Religious Freedom Law, overwhelmingly passed by their legislature, that would basically allow businesses to withhold services from any customer/client who lives in a such way that the business owners or employees of that business find contrary to their religious beliefs. Really. Someone will have to do a lot of explaining to me before I understand how anyone can legislate a law that clearly discriminates. Religious Freedom? Talk about an oxymoron! How dare they legislate that one belief system is more "legitimate" or "moral" than another. Of course, the law is really a thinly veiled attack on the LGBT community. However, it could also easily be used to prevent ethnic minorities from patronizing certain businesses. Beyond the inherent unfairness of the law, I can't imagine how it would stand should it be challenged in the Supreme Court of the United States.
I will leave that to the legal scholars. I'm more interested in how Indiana got there in the first place. I think that I may have discovered one of the key factors - people from the Hoosier State simply do not vote. According to a recent study conducted by The US Elections Project, Indiana has the lowest percentage of people voting in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Hoosiers visit the polls at a rate of just 28%. 28% of people who CAN vote actually do. That's pathetic. How can you sit back and complain about unfair laws when you did absolutely nothing to change them?? If you allow special interest groups to control an election, like fundamentalist religious groups were allowed to in this case, who should you blame besides yourselves? Like the man from the lottery says, you've got to be in it to win it.
Recently, about three thousand protesters showed up on the steps of the Indiana Capitol to protest the new law. Too little, too late? I certainly hope not. However, perhaps. it would have been more effective if they mobilized BEFORE the law was passed. Perhaps, if people would get motivated to VOTE, they would elect representatives that are more attuned to their hopes and desires for building a better, more inclusive society. In the meantime, I believe that Indiana will reap what they have sown - groups who are shocked by this law will shun them -and rightly so. This will be the price of hate.
It should be noted that Indiana is not the only state with a poor voting record. In fact, two of the biggest, most powerful states are right behind them. In second place is Texas, just .5 percentage points behind. Third worst at just 28.8 is that great liberal bastion, the Empire State and my home, New York. Maine is the best at it but still votes at less than a 60% rate.
Gandhi, as he usually did, said it best: Be the change you would like to see in the world.
I would add, "or shut the hell up"!