Missouri gets to vote today. And not just the lame kind where you can elect a mayor in a one man race, but amendments to the constitution (of Missouri). Or maybe they still are somewhat lame, in the literal, not just teenage vocabulary kind of lame. Let me explain. Of the five proposed amendments, just one will affect the allocation of budget towards governmental works. In other words, four out of five do not affect the budget or immediate decisions. But enough talk, let me present you the Visiting Missouri voting guide, otherwise known as whining about the disputable relevance of issues:
– Amendment 1: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed? There is a lot of controversy over this one. I understand why, but at the same time, no controversy should arise over the text of the constitution. First of all, most of Missouri can’t be used for anything else than farming. Second, even in the worst socialist-dictatorian society you can imagine, nobody ever infringed a farmer’s right to farm. Not literally at least. The controversy is in the implications, and that brings two questions: 1) why not vote on the stupid implications when the issues arise, instead of putting up a meaningless piece (in the constitution, nonetheless) of text with hidden meaning behind it? 2) does this reflect anything but a state-wide divide in political preference in which people will vote their political color, because (see question 1) there is no real issue to vote for, but a ideological scare tactic from both sides, forcing citizens to vote against whatever made up doom scenario they see unfold? I know, that question was really long. That’s why I don’t make ballots.
– Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right? Please note that this is not changing any policies, but just raising the barrier to ever change something if you’d ever want to. Again, this is Missouri, your guns are in as much danger as your right to farm, and if we can make amendments like these, I would like to secure the future right to eat pizza. In an ironic twist, this amendment could even be seen as obstructing democratic rights. If all Missourians in a hundred years really want to change their gun laws, what kind of democracy would alienate them from THAT right?
– Should the Missouri Constitution be changed to enact a temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent to be used solely to fund state and local highways, roads, bridges and transportation projects for ten years, with priority given to repairing unsafe roads and bridges? This is the other controversy. I’m not getting too much into it, but readers of this blog will know I would gladly pay even more than three-quarters of a percent in taxes to fix roads. Also, if you read the statement, you can see that we need money to fix unsafe bridges. If you ever drive over a bridge and want it to be safe, vote yes.
– Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a “Veterans Lottery Ticket” and to use the revenue from the sale of these tickets for projects and services related to veterans? No. I don’t want to be the guy bashing everything about veterans, but let’s not put this in the constitution. In State politics, the constitution should be the holy of holies of laws. You can put your veterans lottery anywhere you want, but let’s save the constitution for things that will matter a thousand years from now.
– Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects? If this means we will otherwise be insecure, yes. I didn’t know the police were allowed to do unreasonable searches of my electronics. That sounds rather… unreasonable. I’m not that worried, actually, as I know the police is too busy handing out speeding tickets and not finding victims, evidence, or perpetrators.
Also, if you can, I would urge you to vote. You can ignore everything I’ve said above, but if voting is the least you can do for your country, do so. I envy you.