Democracy requires voters to sometimes decide painful, contentious issues. An absolute prerequisite to that is being able to rest assuredthat one may cast their vote – and yes, donate their money – safe in the knowledge that their legally-discharged democratic duty will notexpose them to vigilante retribution or political intimidation
.Eckern chose to step aside without a fight, and seems genuinely mortified to have caused offence.
I cannot help but wonder, though, what wouldhave happened if he'd stuck by his guns and simply stated that how he spent his money was his business?
Would the California MusicalTheater have championed their employee's right to vote his conscience, or would they have exercised political censorship by finding some way to turf him for supporting Yes on 8?Scott Eckern is an accidental symbol, a man thrust into the spotlight by the vagaries of chance and the realities of instant electronic communication. Butthere are thousands of others like him who have been left equally exposed to revenge or social stigmatization for disagreeing with another person'sopinion.
Democracy cuts both ways, and financial supporters of gay marriage are just as vulnerable to retaliation as those who opposed it.The aftermath of this campaign has already turned ugly, and if the situation deteriorates further, lives could well be endangered.
When contacted for comment, Andrew Pugno, a spokesman for the Yes on 8 Campaign, wrote,
"It is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It isscary. And notable that law enforcement and government leaders stand by silently."
California's choice to publish the names, addresses, andoccupations of those who donate large sums to political causes is not only dangerous politically, but could quickly become dangerous in the most literalsense possible. With tempers running hot, the shaming of Scott Eckern and his resignation might strike some as a victory.
Those who would celebrateshould be mindful, however, of the potential ramifications of having opened this particular Pandora's Box. Indeed, opponents of Proposition 8might soon rue the day that in their earnest and understandable haste to drive the government out of their bedrooms, they pushedthemselves into another citizen's voting booth….”REASON 4: AMERICANS ... AND NEW JERSEY ... WILL AGAIN REJECT GAY-MILITANT PSYCHO-VIOLENCE“Prop. 8 supporters suffer vandalism, violence” ...
Associated Press - 11/3/2008 7:15:00 AM
SAN DIEGO - A pastor leading efforts to pass a ballot initiative that would end same-sex "marriage" in California says the campaign has become thetarget of vandalism and violence.