I don't like talking about politics. Almost everyone who has a viewpoint on politics has, at the core of their position, one of several fundamental beliefs that are almost immutable; For Republicans, it's that Big Goverment is always wrong and all decisions should be left to the states. For Democrats, it's that we should use our Goverment power to help all citizens have a better life. Then there are those crazy Libertarians who think we should actually be doing what the Constitution says.
Those aren't the kind of politics I want to talk about today. I know most of America only takes the time to vote every four years, but it's important to take part in all of our annual elections to make sure our voices are heard. I'm going to talk a little about today's election in Ohio, so if you're an out-of-state reader, this may bore you a bit. My apologies, I promise a post about zombies and aliens tomorrow to make up for it.
In a nutshell, this constitutional amendment allows for the creation of a board that is responsible for overseeing the standards for care of livestock in Ohio. It's being billed as a way to ensure that livestock are treated humanely and that the quality of the food that comes to our market is sanitary and clean. This is one of those issues that I'm afraid of, because on the outside it sounds like such a good idea. Who doesn't want clean food? Who doesn't want the animals on our farms to be well taken care of?
Where this issues gets tricky is that the proposed amendment doesn't write out exactly what the standards will be, who will run the board, and what their objectives will be. The amendment gives this hypothetical board, before it's even created, far-reaching and unchecked power to set standards that it deems fit, regardless of their practicality or effect on the smaller farmer. At the end of the day, Issue 2 makes it much harder for the small business to stay in business, and allows for the possibility of more big business monopoly on our local farms. If you're the type that votes from your pocketbook, Issue 2 = higher food prices.
You can read the entire amendment here, but I urge you to vote No on Issue 2.
I don't have a problem with gambling from a legislative perspective. I do tend to be fairly libertarian in my political beliefs, and if someone wants to spend their money gambling, I don't see why I should prevent them from doing so. Issue 3 is another constitutional amendment that allows for the construction of four casinos in Ohio: One in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Columbus, with the money received from taxes distributed across the state.
Full disclosure: While I'm socially fine with gambling, I would personally rather it not be in Ohio. It does negatively affect the crime rate and encourages irresponsible spending. That notwithstanding, that's not why I'm voting no on this issue.
Full disclosure: The casino owners who drafted this amendment themselves are out-of-state groups. They're making a big todo out of the fact that this amendment will create some-odd thousands of jobs in Ohio. That may be true, but the bulk of the money generated from these casinos will go to out-of-state corporations. But hey, that's capitalism, and that's not why I'm voting no on this issue.
If you've lived in Ohio for any amount of time, this should all sound familiar to you. Ballot issues on the creation of casinos have come up on election day at least four other times. Every time, the proposal has been overwhelmingly shot down. This time they're proposing a constitutional amendment to allow for the creation of casinos. A constitutional amendment. They want to change the very core document that defines what Ohio is about to allow for the existance and protection of their specific businesses, and that's just not what a constitution is for.
So regardless of your stance on casinos and gambling, regardless of whether you want these new jobs created in Ohio, and regardless of whether or not you're ok with the lions share of money generated from these casinos leaving our state, Issue 3 is a really, really bad idea and sets a horrible precident.
You can read the entire amendment here. I'm voting No on Issue 3.
Most importantly, though, get out there and vote today. You may not feel like this election is as important as last year's, but to many farmers and small business owners, this is the most important election in years. If you're not sure where to vote, you can find out at the Ohio Secretary of State's web site.
Now get out there and put democracy into effect!