If I've been asked once, I've been asked a thousand times. What's wrong with the amendments? They seem reasonable and relatively harmless, why vote against them? Here's what I say.
Most of us try to be thoughtful and deliberate about voting. I certainly do. Like you, I want to understand issues and candidates and make informed decisions. Likewise, most of us want to believe that our elected officials are operating in good faith. It's hard for us to imagine they might be devious.
So on something as important as changing our State Constitution, we're inclined to evaluate the issues in fine detail and assume that the legislature is on the up and up. They're not.
First, none of the amendments is necessary. Each amendment is either part of state law already, or could become part of state law by passing a simple bill in the legislature. So why would the GOP go to all this trouble of trying to pass amendments? The answer is simple. They know they're facing serious challenges in November and they're doing everything they can to get their voters to the polls. That's what this is really about.
Second, no one knows how any of the amendments would be turned into policy. We're being asked to write a blank check, with no understanding of what new laws will be required to put the amendments into practice. That's a check I'm not willing to write, not with these guys waiting to cash it.
Third, the amendments undermine the integrity of our state Constitution. We've gone nearly 50 years with less than a dozen amendments to the Constitution. And now the GOP wants to add six more amendments in one year? For no reason other than pure political power? That's crazy. Fifty years ago, North Carolina had a Constitution with so many amendments it had become antiquated, obsolete, and ambiguous. We created a new Constitution in 1971. There's nothing wrong with it. Nothing.
You can look at the individual amendments if you want, and I have. Which is why I concluded that they would all be a bad deal for North Carolina in so many ways. They upset our system of checks and balances. They undermine voting rights. And they turn our judicial system into a partisan game. I'm voting AGAINST EVERY AMENDMENT and I'm asking my friends to do the same.
We have a legislature that is sadly out of control. They're allowing chemical companies to poison our water. They're giving hog farms free rein to pollute their neighbors' land. They're destroying our system of public education. And they're driving up the cost of health care for every retiree in the state. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
And now they want a blank check to influence how government works even if they lose power in November? Like I said, I'm not willing write that check. In fact, I'm not willing to give them any benefit of the doubt when it come to political shenanigans. This year, I'm not voting for a single Republican candidate ... and I'm VOTING AGAINST every amendment.
I hope you will too.