Roy Exum: Our Ballot’s Trick Question

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

In a nation where the public is now incensed over political chicanery and the way many feel the “crazies are now running the insane asylum,” the state of Tennessee will reach a new low tomorrow when the early voting begins for the mid-term elections. You see, there is a “trick question” on the ballot.

In my view it smacks of all that is wrong and hidden by creepy politicians from both political parties and why this particular question, a Constitutional Amendment, is even included on the Tennessee ballot ought to scare all of us to death. The reason is simply this: the question is so stupid some voters will leave it blank and, when they do, they will have effectively but unknowingly voted against the right to hunt and fish.

Yes, to even ask the voters is dumb. But the fact enough morons walk among us to place it on the state ballot has serious and ominous undertones and, if you don’t believe it, first ask yourself why such a question it is even on the ballot at all.

Always remember Rule No. 1: when you go to the carnival never trust the “barker” of a con game.

Here’s the ploy: on the ballot will appear a box that poses the question: “Shall Article XI, Section 13 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee be amended by adding the following sentences at the end of the section:

“The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state’s power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatening species.”

There then appears a “Yes” box and a “No” box.

Sounds pretty innocent, am I right? But the dark underside is this: those who skip the question will automatically vote “no.” Whether you agree with conservationists or the “tree huggers” is hardly the issue. It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that if a million people vote, and there aren’t at least 500,001 “yes” votes, one of our “personal rights” will fail on this year’s state ballot.

I don’t believe that is the American way. As one concerned woman said, “What’s next? The right to shop, to play golf?” But that isn’t what triggers my gunpowder. If you count the “yes” votes and the “no” votes, I have no problem. But to count just the “yes” votes and then compare the total to the number of actual voters is flat-out wrong and thus deceives the public.

That, my brother, is precisely why the Nov. 2 elections this year are going to be worse than a frontier slaughter-house.

People are mad and angry and Tennessee’s “right to hunt and fish” question is a classic example of using arcane rules to hoodwink simple-minded people like me. You see, in Tennessee it takes “a majority” of voters in a gubernatorial race to alter a Constitutional Amendment.

What we don’t realize is that it is hardly a “yes” or “no” vote.

Personally, I neither hunt nor fish because I don’t have the patience. But I envy those who do, and fully understand the two pastimes generate $2.4 billion in economic activity in Tennessee. Further, I will fight tirelessly for hunters and fishermen because I feel they are not only our leading conservationists but, collectively, the finest and highest-caliber people of any special-interest group you can name.

I will also go on record as being against swindlers, con artists, liars, and slithering reptiles who think they are being slick when they have a hidden agenda of some sort that lands a misleading and contemptible “stupid” question on the state’s gubernatorial ballot.

Please! Ask yourself why Tennessee’s Wildlife Heritage Fund would launch a $150,000 campaign – would even bother wasting such money – to promote “yes” votes. They’ve even got Phillip “Bring Back” Fulmer and country singer John Conlee as spokespersons.

Better still, ask yourself why on earth the question is on the ballot at all. I’m telling you the whole thing is wrong. The fact no one can adequately explain why the question is being asked is like waiting to see an X-ray. Just you wait. It’s like watching a gorilla movie, the monkey just ain’t jumped yet.

Finally, I’m begging you this: Vote “yes” on the amendment. You and I don’t know who the beady-eyed serpents are going to focus on next.

royexum@aol.com


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