In California, we have the wonderful privilege of being able to vote on proposed laws. I feel honored to do this but at the same time I scratch my head in bewilderment. After all, isn't that why we elect legislators? Trying to decipher the issues based on the political ads is nearly impossible. Both sides put together their smooth argument and run lists of organizations that support their decision, the teachers union, the police union, etc. etc. It becomes a challenge to digest the rhetoric on each side of an issue. I could wait until election day and read the snippet provided with each initiative. However, that isn't much help. These things are worded with more twists and turns than a West Virginia backwoods country road. You could vote yes on a proposition thinking you are voting the affirmative on an issue when in fact you are actually voting against the issue.
So, I turn to the California Voter's Guide. Since I waited until the last minute to change my address, I didn't receive one in the mail. But that's okay. Our Secretary of State is kind enough to post it and its supplemental guide online. The principal guide that lists all 15+ propositions is 168 pages long! The supplemental guide is 24 pages long! These guides give you the blip on the prosposition, the extended blip, and the actual wording of the law. It even provides the arguments for and against the proposition. Some of these laws have so much additional crap added to them that by the time you are done you don't know if you are voting for health care reform or a new state park. On top of that, some of the lines are marked out. I feel like I am reading a law student's rough draft thesis paper.
Some of these issues I'm not even fully informed about. I don't gamble and I really don't care if other people do. But, I've got to vote whether or not Indian gambling should be taxed differently than the current mandate. One side says that Indians are getting an unfair advantage, the other says that by voting in favor of the opposition it will put a gambling casino in my backyard. I'm not all that upset if an Indian has an unfair advantage. As a matter of fact, I think it's about time! A gambling casino in my backyard? I'd like them to find a square inch of space to fit it here. Space is so limited in the city and surrounding 'burbs that even my closest McDonalds doesn't have a drive-thru.
In spite of the head spin that I am experiencing in trying to make an informed decision, when all is said and done, the law could easily be overturned in court. But, I'll trudge through it all. Why? Because I can.