#626 – Dick Bernard: Election 2012 #47. The Proposed Amendments to the Minnesota Constitution

UPDATE Oct. 17: see article from Oct. 17 St. Paul Pioneer Press here.
A month from now – 5 weeks – is the 2012 Election.
Our society has many layers of government.
In my town – and yours – on November 6 we are going to elect, among many other positions, our Representatives to the State Legislature.
The Republicans, in charge at the State Legislature the last two years, have a record, and it’s a record not easy to honestly defend.
In my opinion, the defining issue in the Minnesota state race this year are the two proposed Amendments to the Minnesota Constitution which will appear on everyone’s Minnesota ballot November 6.
Both amendments deserve a NO vote (people who go to vote and don’t mark their ballot on these questions count as a NO.)
Both questions, on marriage and on eligibility to vote, are essentially ideology issues with an intent for the winner to gain long term control. They are “us” vs “them” questions; “winner-loser”, rather than legitimate fixes to problems.
They are anti-liberty.
Ironically, their core support will come from those who claim to own “liberty” and “freedom”.
The amendments were ram-rodded through the 2012 State Legislature by the Republicans; by-passing negotiations with the Governor (who could not veto the proposals). I recall that the voter eligibility amendment was passed by a party line vote (with one Republican defector and zero Democrat support). The marriage amendment was moved forward by every Republican and a few Democrats. No compromise was offered. Both radical initiatives have twins in many states around the country. They are WAR issues – citizen against citizen. They have dangerous long-term implications.
I’ve thought about these two issues a great deal, and here’s where I come down, and why:
1. The so-called Marriage Amendment is an attempt to enact a BELIEF into Law. It has nothing to do with “God”, however defined.. It is simply a human attempt to enshrine prejudice into permanent law. (Personally, we have nine grandkids. And we’re Catholic. But this is a human rights issue long term. Period. I will vote no.)
The Marriage Amendment is the Prohibition Amendment of 2012. As Prohibition was enactment of a strongly held belief, so is this initiative an attempt to enshrine belief. As Prohibition failed, so will this amendment, even if enacted, but it will do a lot of damage, first.
2. The Voter Suppression Amendment – that’s what it is – is very simply an attempt to disenfranchise certain people and permanently change electoral control in this divided country. This Amendment discriminates against everyone in a perverse way.
It is confusing, and I think that was intentional by its promoters. The prudent rule is: if one doesn’t fully understand all of the short and long term implications of this Amendment, the vote should be NO. This Amendment has lots of negative implications, except for the minority that is pushing it.
To date it seems that many people think “Voter ID” is common sense. But this is short term thinking, and only about themselves. For me, for example, I could say something like this: “I’ve lived in this house for twelve years, and I have a drivers license, and this ID thing is no problem….”
But this isn’t so simple.
This is the 25th election cycle during which I’ve been eligible to vote.
A while back I wrote down where I was in each of those cycles, (which began in November, 1962 – voting age then was 21. I was already out of college).
Long and short, in 6 of those 25 cycles, for assorted reasons, my eligibility to vote would have been subject to challenge under the proposed amendment. And I have always been just a normal ordinary citizen.
Think these Amendments won’t adversely affect you or someone in your family?
Think again.
Vote NO November 6.

General information on the 2012 election can be found here.
* – My preference on the west side of Woodbury MN, SD 53A: for Minnesota House of Representatives JoAnn Ward; for State Senate, Susan Kent. You can read more about them, and colleague candidate Ann Marie Metzger, at Senate District 53’s website.

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