Seven years of higher education did not remotely begin to prepare me for the California ballot. I have been studying the “Official Voter Information Guide” which is only slightly thinner than the phone book, the “Official Sample Ballot” with accompanying voting instructions, and the Santa Monica “Supplemental Sample Ballot.” I haven’t had time to sleep in days, am utterly exhausted, and haven’t even voted yet.
I think choice is a wonderful thing within limits, but this ballot contains far too many choices for somebody with my limited capacity. Even the task of choosing a president becomes daunting when you add to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney the name of Roseanne Barr. Now I really have to do some soul searching. We all understand if Roseanne is elected, the national anthem, as we know it, is dead.
If I understand the ballot which I’m sure I don’t, I am being asked to vote on everything from genetic engineering to condom wearing. For those of you who live outside of California and read my column, I am not making this stuff up.
In order to enlighten the voter, we have the opportunity to read statements in support of and opposed to each ballot measure. Rather than enlighten, these statements tend to give me a severe migraine headache.
For instance, take the proposal to label foods which contain genetic engineering. The proponents argue we should be entitled to know exactly what we are eating. I think full disclosure might force me into a Gandhi like fast. The opponents counter with the simple argument that enforcement of this regulation will drive the cost of a Twinkie to somewhere between $500 and $1,000.
And then there is the ballot question to beat all ballot questions—should male actors in pornographic films be compelled to wear a condom? Denmark and Sweden have nothing on California! Ah yes, this is the question that tries men’s souls. Must I vote on this issue?
Can’t the legislators take my power to decide away? What are we paying them for if not to make tough decisions like this. I, who wrote in this very Malibu Patch that pornography should not be allowed in the Malibu Library, believe condoms have no place on the California ballot. In the drug store “yes,” on the ballot “no.”