Ever since I was old enough to vote, I have tried to vote in every election. I guess I feel that since some people in this world can't vote and women and blacks in the United States fought so hard to obtain the right to vote, that I owe it to them to make sure that I do some research and cast a ballot in every election.
I do this, however, with somewhat a jaundiced eye. When I was in High School, I was on the debating team. Our freshman year the topic was "Resolved: that the United States should significantly change the method of selecting the presidential and vice presidential candidates. I took the position of first affirmative and my team mate, Karen Bole, was an amazing second affirmative.
Basically, the issue boiled down to a couple of items: should the U.S. employ a direct vote, doing away with the electoral college; and secondly, should there be a single national primary (all primaries being run the same day).
Karen was the mastermind for our platform, I was merely the deliverer, but we worked incredibly well as a team. Usually, the opposition took the position that the U.S. populace wasn't informed enough to make direct decisions. I remember being incensed at this and insulted that this was being put forth. Of course Americans were informed enough! Of course Americans were intelligent enough. As an adult, especially after working with the neighborhood association in Connecticut, I am not so sure and I definitely cringe at my naivete when I was younger.
Take, for instance, two items which were on the ballot today. One was an Ohio constitutional amendment to allow casinos in the state (known as Issue 3). The amendment was very specific detailing where the casinos would be located, who would run them , and how much these casinos would be taxed. The second was another constitutional amendment which set up an Ohio Livestock Commission to supposedly to oversee the health and well being of Ohio's livestock (issue 2).
My biggest problem with both of these issues was not the allowing of casinos (which I'm not particularly thrilled with but acknowledge that all the states surrounding us have casinos largely populated by Ohioans), or that a livestock commission should be set up, but that they were CONSTITUIONAL amendments. Constitutional amendments should be for significant items and should not handle the amendment in minute detail. Once something goes into the constitution, it is hard to change. It seems to me that both of these items should have been done through legislation, not an constitutional amendment. Certainly, the livestock commission shouldn't be written into the constitution.
I don't think that people in general realize this. I know that I should have written my state congressmen and express my outrage at the fact that these were even on the ballot...but I didn't.
The Livestock Commission is interesting....on the surface, why wouldn't you want to have one? Granted, my biggest beef (no pun intended) is that it shouldn't be an amendment. However, in talking about this with small farmers, they were saying that the amendment favors large Agri-business and puts the small, family farms at a disadvantage. They also feel that it will drive up the cost of production which will be passed on to the consumer and that it is unnecessary. In looking at the results, I was interested to see that the counties with the highest percentage of No votes were the ones which had the most livestock farms.
I just wonder....who looked at this in detail and really tried to understand both sides of the question before they cast their ballot.