The evening after Maine’s election results came in I was asked to help coordinate the sound system for an impromptu rally at Dupont Circle. During one of the speeches, I remember hearing someone mention that the ballot should never be used to let the majority of population impose it’s will on a minority population. Being that there are far fewer gay couples in Maine (or most states for that matter) than heterosexual couples; the point stood out in my mind.
Its an example of the “tyranny of the majority,” at the ballot box. The fundamental inalienable principles of equality, all men being created equal, and the pursuit of happiness are the foundation of American democracy and when those words were written the largest city in America was Philadelphia, with 28,000 citizens and the rest of the American population was mostly rural. Yet in the 200+ years since, the rural / urban divide has only grown more stark as some states contain few large centers of population. Paradoxically, its in these cities where the most social interaction & social education takes place. It’s in cities where people are more likely to see same-sex couples in their daily lives and possibly have same sex-couples as their friends, and thereby be more apt to see same-sex couples from a different perspective that is not based on prejudice towards The Other.
The modified map [pdf] above was originally found on the Bangor Daily News website. It shows how the state of Maine voted on the question of same-sex marriage. Voters were given the opportunity to Vote Yes and repeal the recently-passed same-sex marriage law or Vote No to keep it in place.
To remix this map, I first inverted the color scheme, which surprisingly yielded a pink color for the counties which voted 65% or greater to repeal the law. Ironically, its a color I personally associate with those who voted No. I then added my own typographical critique to the map. I created a pink square and placed in an unpopulated rural location and added the words “whereyouare,” in large font and in the southern portion of the map, in smaller font size, I added the words “whereiam@” above Maine’s largest city, Portland.
The justification for this subtle addition was to highlight the nature of the urban / rural divide. Portland, for example, voted 73.5% to not repeal the same-sex marriage law, so I placed “whereiam@” nearby to show where my vote would have been. Most rural areas overwhelmingly supported the removal of equal rights for their fellow citizens, so I placed the pink square in an area that doesn’t even an election precinct.