Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is anyone else confused?

Okay, so I know it's been a while, but I'm just going to try to pick this up where I left off. I'm sorry, you forgive me, and blah, blah, blah.

I have a confession to make, and I probably should've mentioned this earlier. This admission is really pretty mortifying so it's going to be hard for me to even type...Okay...Here it goes...

I didn't vote in the last election.

There! I said it! I didn't vote in one of the most important elections in the history of this country. Before you try to stick a flag pin on my lapel in an attempt to save my mortal, American soul, just let me try to explain myself. When the election was going on I was going to school and working for what felt like every second of my life. I finally got around to filling out a voter's application and wouldn't you know it, my stupid cat, Murray peed on it. I know I should've just gotten another one (believe me, I couldn't send it in the way it was, regardless of how punk rock that would've been), but I was so BUSY I tell you! I was completely swamped with useless tasks and I just didn't have the time to. That being said, I am truly repentant.

What I'd really like to address here however is not my personal mistakes, but...Well...Someone else's (Hey, I could be a politician!). Specifically the people who decide on the wording for the propositions on the voting ballots. Even though I didn't vote (uhhh, are we on that subject again?) I did get a look at the sample ballots, and I don't think I'm alone in this sentiment...I thought the props were worded in a way that was really confusing. One that seemed to create a lot of confusion in particular was Proposition 2. No, not the one in California that raised the living standards for millions of farm animals (Cheers to that, by the way), Florida's Prop 2, aka The "Marriage Protection Amendment", which officially banned legal unions in the state...for everyone. Obviously this Proposition was aimed at gay couples, but it affects a lot of other demographics too.

I had it on pretty good authority that the idea here was to vote "No" on Prop 2 if you wanted to keep your right to a civil union, gay or straight. A few people that I talked to seem to think otherwise. It passed by a somewhat meek 62.1%. Now legal unions are not considered valid in the state of Florida, and I can't help but wonder; Did this proposition pass because people were confused about what they were actually saying with their votes? Check it out.

"This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

That's the wording from the ballot. I got this once I read it a couple times, but vocabulary has always been my thing. Let's suppose someone who's more of a mathematical thinker has to decide how to place his/her vote based on how they interpret this...Aside from the fact that it contains the word "equivalent", I don't think it's going to mean much to someone who prefers long division to crossword puzzles. It starts out pretty simply, but in the end it gets kind of muddled.

So what's the point in wording documents that are meant to be interpreted by the general public in a way that's so...Lawyer-esque? I think that changing the way that the propositions are written would be a small but important step towards improving the way this democracy machine runs.

As always, take care of each other,

Brittany Abstract xo

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