From the time we were kids, Americans have been told that, in our country, the majority rules.
But the reality is exactly the opposite. It is the minority (not minorities) which continues to pose obstacles to real progress, making it feel as if the nation is moving backward, not forward.
Here are just a few examples:
- More than half the adults in this country have been vaccinated against COVID-19, but our headway towards herd immunity is impeded by a minority which has fallen for disinformation or a stubborn refusal based on politics.
- Eighty percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in some form, but the other one-fifth keeps chipping away at Roe v. Wade in statehouses across the country.
- There is broad public support for new laws which would make background checks mandatory for all gun purchases, requiring a 30-day waiting period for all gun sales, and ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. Even if you narrow the data set to NRA members, more than two-thirds are in favor.
- Ninety-eight percent of climate scientists agree humans have caused climate change, while the remaining two percent relies on studies which are either mistake-filled or cannot be replicated. Two percent isn’t a minority, it’s a margin of error.
- Al Gore got a half-million more votes in the 2000 presidential election that George W. Bush, but the latter became president, not the former.
- In the United States Congress, a minority of senators can keep a bill from passing — or even being discussed — because of the filibuster rule, which requires two-thirds approval on many major pieces of legislation.
- Pushback from a small percentage of Twitter and Facebook users — even combined, still a minority of the overall population — becomes overblown in other media, often negatively impacting the lives and jobs of anyone who dares say anything the sites’ most active whiners find offensive.
I’m not claiming the minority should have no say in our public policy, but they shouldn’t have more than the majority.
By the way, that picture at the top of this post is from an online game that EDBrunton Development introduced in 2015 called “Minority Rule.” In it, the side with the lesser number won, eliminating the majority. Interestingly, it’s no longer listed on the company’s website, so I guess both the majority and the minority rejected it