For the entire day last Tuesday, I was looking forward to seeing the results of the election. This was the first election that I had the privilege of voting in, and I was very passionate about several candidates and proposed amendments and referendums.
The night started off well: Preliminary reports from the East Coast showed the Democrats may very well win the House and Senate. However, when numbers from Colorado started to roll in, my cautious optimism turned to worry, disappointment, anger, disgust, and, finally, uncontrollable sobbing.
My feelings on the Colorado election can be simply put as: Colorado, you @&*#ed up. In a disappointing blow to the rights of homosexual couples, Referendum I failed and Amendment 43 passed. And as anyone who has read my column knows, Amendment 44, the pot-legalization measure, was very dear to me, and it failed rather miserably.
And adding insult to injury, Marilyn Musgrave was re-elected to the 4th Congressional District seat.
In summary, on almost every important item on the ballot I supported or opposed, the results went the other way (according to the Collegian poll before the election, the same can be said for the majority of CSU students, as well). So what happened?
If I had written this column on Wednesday, I would’ve attributed it to the fact that more than half of Coloradans are just plain stupid (ill-informed, ignorant, whatever).
After calming myself down and sinking into a rather depressed state over the last few days, I came up with another possibility: I realized the people who voted differently than I did may be generally older and supposedly wiser. Maybe they know something that I haven’t yet realized in my youth and inexperience. Maybe I’m in fact the stupid/ill-informed/ignorant one.
However, I don’t think either of these assessments is entirely accurate. I believe that in general, both sides examined the costs and benefits of each issue and made a rational, educated decision. (At least I hope that’s what happened. Please tell me that’s what happened!)
What I think it comes down to is the fact that I share a different set of political values than the more conservative Coloradans that apparently make up the majority of this state.
Conservatives (excuse me for lumping everyone into that group who voted “no” on Referendum I and Amendment 44) in general tend to vote by their “moral compass.” What they view as immoral and wrong for themselves should be illegal for everyone else as well.
Now I know that’s a very simplified version of the conservative view, but that’s my general perception. My values are different. I, of course, still see certain things as wrong or immoral, but I leave those judgments at the doorstep of my own life. I realize that other people don’t believe in the same things I do, and I think they should have the freedom to do whatever they choose to do with their own lives. I would also like to enjoy this same respect and non-interference from other people in my own life as well.
After this election though, it’s painfully obvious that most people in this state don’t share my political values. Morality and righteousness have beaten the values of freedom, choice and non-discrimination as being the deciding factors in this election.
I hate to say that these are opposing beliefs, but when people are denied basic legal rights because of their sexual preference or defined as criminals for doing something that harms no one else, this conflict becomes quite apparent.
There are various reasons why people voted against Referendum I and Amendment 44, but what these reasons usually come down to is that homosexuality and marijuana smoking are “wrong,” and in this election those beliefs of the majority have overridden the rights of the minority.
Andy Nicewicz is a senior political science major. His column appears every Monday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.