The protesters were silenced? I seem to recall a lot of public protests and those protesting weren't threatened by mobs or required to protect themselves with guns.
the protesters we generally ridiculed, as will be those who called for the vote in Washington should their identities be revealed. The point is that the laws did not prevent the majority from running over the minority in this case. The problem for us is that the minority was right, the majority was wrong. The threats from the majority ran more towards injury to public standing, reputation and livelihood than to bodily injury, but the minority was certainly threatened for speaking. When they failed to gain converts the price of speaking was no longer deemed to be worthwhile, as the majority was of closed mind.
What is your point? The debate can certainly happen without it being on the ballot
It is also much more easy to ignore a question when no vote has been called on the question. It is also much more easy to lie to the public about what the public believes if no vote has been taken. It is also much more easy to demagogue on what is right without a vote taking to see if the people support your claims about what is right. Voting promotes the functioning of democracy, those who oppose voting generally oppose democracy, presumably because they know that they have not sold the people on what they want to happen.
Someone using force would be a violation of the law and it tends to have the opposite effect when it comes to support. People tend to NOT support a minority that uses force to make people think like they do.
you have misunderstood what I was attempting to say....people made fun of Nixon when he talked about the "silent majority" which he said supported him, perhaps reasonably so because their is no indication that he was correct about where the majority was. However, if the cost of standing up for what you believe is too high for you then you will not do it, you will be bullied into staying quiet and not getting in the way of what the bullies are attempting to do. When the system is rigged to assist the bullies there is a near certainty that silent majorities will develop, which will skew the democracy because the minorities will gain ground that they otherwise would not, that they in fact should not gain.
The issue was whether to use force or not in Iraq. There was no "force" used against those that were opposed to going into Iraq.
Bullshit, denying us our right to conduct public discourse before going to war was an act of force. It was the act of forcing us into an invasion that we likely would not have agreed to if what had had the correct facts as they were known at the time. The force was not used against those who apposed the war, it was used against the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, the America People, the rule of law, the fourth estate, the founding principles of our nation, our general moral code.....