If the amount of attention you’ve allotted to election news thus far has been divided 99.9 percent to the life and times of Donald Trump, et al., and 0.1 percent to anything else, now is the time to start shifting your focus a bit.
You probably don’t know that we have 17 propositions on the California ballot this year, which seems like a lot but is actually one less than average for this kind of election, according to www.ballotpedia.com.
As usual, we’ve got a stew of issues to spoon through — some tasty, others foul-smelling — including many on common topics such as education, health care and crime.
But we’ve also got some unusual subjects this year, like whether adult film actors should be required to wear condoms and whether the death penalty should be abolished.
I think I’d say no to both of those, under the theory that I don’t like regulating behavior between consenting adults and I do kind of lean eye-for-an-eye on the question of how to deal with the most vile criminals in our society. Who knew I had a simultaneously libertarian/Old Testament streak?
Also on the ballot this year is another gun control initiative, with Proposition 63 looking to ban large-capacity ammunition magazines and require new background checks, among other restrictions.
That’s a yes vote for sure, because no cultural trend presents more of a threat to our safety than the rampant fetishization of firearms. I want to background check as many guns-and-ammo purchases as possible. Your grandma doesn’t get to buy a Super Soaker without an FBI probe.
Then there’s the question of banning single-use plastic bags from groceries and pharmacies on a statewide basis. A yes vote on Proposition 67 would ratify Senate Bill 270 and reject an effort to veto that approved legislation.
I used to be against this ban, and I opposed it on a local level a few years ago. But since we already live under those rules here in San Luis Obispo County, I guess we may as well get the rest of California on board.
It just means I’ll have to keep importing my cat litter sacks from relatives in Oklahoma. You think I’m kidding.
Of all the issues on the ballot, though, one is giving me particular trouble.
That is Proposition 64 and the question of legalizing marijuana.
And I’m not a fan of stoners, the pot culture, 420, drum circles, hippies, Woodstock, the ’60s, the city of Berkeley and any movie with “Harold and Kumar” in the title. I don’t even like the Doobie Brothers.
On the one hand, I can see how criminalizing pot use has created an illegal cottage industry for a substance that’s more similar to alcohol than heroin (not that that’s a ringing endorsement). And I can respect that it helps people suffering from painful illnesses.
On the other hand, I absolutely despise smoking of any kind, which is why I will be voting for Proposition 56 to raise the cigarette tax by $2 a pack.
You’re probably thinking I’m one corner short of a perfect square.
That may be, but I’m not totally opposed to dragging the “this bud’s for you” gang out of the shadows and getting them to pay taxes.
Then again, I don’t want to see dope-smoking shops pop up on every corner the way these vape dens have in recent years.
You can see I’m clearly torn.
Fortunately, I still have 50-something days left to make up my mind.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to go back to curling up in a ball and gnawing my fingernails over the terrifying possibilities of a President Trump.
Is it too late to get an initiative banning him?