In vetoing the civil unions bill, Governor Lingle said some issues are so important that the people should vote directly on them. The question of direct voting versus representative democracy is itself an important issue.
The American system entrusts many important issues to elected representatives and executives, not to mention appointed judges. We didn't hold a referendum on whether to desegregate schools. Voters didn't decide whether to enter World War II. We elect officials to exercise their best judgment.
Now, as a practical matter, you might be glad the governor punted if you think her own decision would have been contrary to your own views. Fair enough. But by recusing herself, Governor Lingle has ensured that civil unions will be a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign. Let's hope it doesn't keep us from properly questioning our candidates about many other issues that are also important.