Oh no, you say! Where is your election voting guide?

My dear people, do you not know what my life has been? Dissertation, dissertation, dissertation.

If you need election advice in the Twin Cities, go to this blog because it’s more or less what I would say. So there you go.

What I’m particularly concerned about in these final days leading up to the elections is that you and everyone you know vote NO (that’s a big, fat, loud NO) on both constitutional amendments on Minnesota’s ballot.

What this means is that each day for the next six days I’m going to give you one thing to tell your friends, family, dogs, cats, guys on the street, baristas, cashiers, goldfish — everyone — about each amendment.

  1. VOTING IS IMPORTANT. If you would vote no on these amendments, but are like “Meh, I was all hope and change in 2008 but then Obama wasn’t a magical pixie benevolent dictator and didn’t do everything he said he would so what’s the point?” Buck up, my cynical friend! That’s life. Life is compromise. Life is disappointment. Life is soldiering on to fight another day. The election isn’t all about Obama or any individual, it’s about everything combined.  You think you’re sick of the MN United for all Families emails now?? Just wait until we have to spend the next 15 years trying to undo the constitutional nightmare.  You’ll wish you’d just voted.
  2. VOTING NO IS IMPORTANT. That’s what I’m here for. Does it make you uncomfortable to discuss marriage with your religious parents? Do you not know or care much about Voter ID since you have a driver’s license? Now is time to have those conversations and really think about other people.  Because really, what’s harder — uncomfortable conversations or your same-sex coupled friends living in a state that says “we kind of hate you”?  (It’s the latter. Promise. Also, you think it’s hard to have one conversation? Try coming out. Welcome to a lifetime of conversations with either well-intentioned ignorance or just plain cruelty. It’s exhausting.)

Scenario 1: A person doesn’t really like the idea of same-sex marriage, but isn’t a giant anti-gay crusader or anything.

This is fine. Everyone has their process — and I’m more than happy to start with uncomfortable. I’m sure there are a lot of people like this in the state.

Remind them of a couple things: first, if they VOTE NO on the amendment, they aren’t voting to legalize same-sex marriage here. It’s already illegal. This amendment tries to make it double plus illegal and makes it hard for us to grow and change as a state.  It’s basically like “OMG Kids these days don’t mind gay people we’d better entrench anti-gay stuff in the constitution because people might make different decisions than we have!”

With that in mind, ask them if it doesn’t seem — oh, I don’t know — kind of mean to rub it in the faces of people in same-sex relationships that not only is marriage already illegal for you, we just want you to really know we’d rather you not be here in the state?  But anyway, reinforce that no one is voting for same-sex marriage, it will not be legal no matter whether the amendment wins or loses.

Scenario 2: Doesn’t everyone have ID? Why is this such a big deal?

I’ll give you some statistics later, but for now I give you this.  Do we want to make Minnesota the new California?  What do I mean?

From 1879 to the mid-nineties, California ranked first in the nation in proposed amendments (812) and second in adopted ones (485), averaging 4.29 per year (Cain, Ferejohn, Najar and Walther, 1995). (Source (PDF))

What I’m saying is that we elect representatives for a reason — to make decisions.* Don’t like their decisions? Vote in a new person. Don’t like any of them? Run for office! Legislating through ballot initiatives is a bad idea because most things that go on in government are pretty complex and a one or two sentence constitutional amendment is a pretty scary thing to vote up or down on. What does it mean? What are the implications? Really, you don’t know.

I, for one, really don’t want to vote on four constitutional amendments and revisions every year. I also don’t want anyone else in the state doing that — we simply don’t have the time to understand why it’s there, what it will mean in practice, etc.

(And, no, not everyone has an ID. We’ll get to that another time.  But they don’t.  If you have an older grandparent or great-grandparent, they probably don’t have an up-to-date, valid one.)

Stopwatch designed by Steffen Nørgaard Andersen from The Noun Project