On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Florida voters will be bombarded with a multitude of proposed amendments to the state constitution. You may have already received printed explanations of some of these amendments, as prepared and distributed by the League of Women Voters, Libertarians for Mica or any number of other crypto-fascist organizations. But only Orlando Weekly has seen fit to dissect some of the more obscure proposals on the ballot, enumerating their strengths and weaknesses in a convenient guide you can carry straight to the polling place. Why? Because we believe that an informed electorate is not only a prerequisite for a healthy democracy, it's also thrillingly close to being an angry mob.
Amendment 12 The school-Booke drive
SUMMARY: With education-reform efforts squarely focused on the three "R's," liberal-arts programs often fall by the wayside. This amendment would correct that failing by mandating that all students in grades K-12 receive a comprehensive education in the life, career and accomplishments of actor Sorrell Booke, best known for playing Jefferson Davis "Boss" Hogg on the TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard."
SPONSOR: The estate of Sorrell Booke
PRO: Due to the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of the state of Florida, our high-school graduating classes have fallen far behind in the highly competitive arena of redneck trivia. In a recent statewide achievement test, only 15 percent of all students were able to identify a single member of The Oak Ridge Boys, and fewer still knew the exact specifications that distinguish a simple, garden-variety truck from a "big rig." When our sons and daughters can commit to memory the special abilities of innumerable Pokémon characters yet display a shocking ignorance of their own inbred traditions, something has gone seriously wrong.
CON: The proposed amendment is in violation of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the separation of the educational system and Nick at Nite.
Amendment 13 The auntie-discrimination initiative
SUMMARY: An effort to protect Floridians, especially those in tourist-friendly areas, against unsolicited visits from disliked relatives who hail from colder, less livable parts of the country. Under this proposed law, each family would provide state law-enforcement agencies with the name and description of one especially despised aunt. Those agencies would in turn monitor Florida's airports, relaying a red alert whenever said aunt was spotted on Florida soil while carrying one or more pieces of luggage and/or a fruit basket. Forewarned, her relatives would have ample time to flee to the comforting sanctuary of a nearby motel -- the "nobody's home" ruse that has already proved such a workable model for the state legislature in general.
SPONSOR: Brothers-in-Law for a Safer Florida
PRO: Our working families have long fallen victim to the economic (and emotional) burden imposed by their pesky, out-of-state relations. Were this initiative to become law, it would drastically reduce said families' Cheez Doodle expenditures, minimize the wear and tear on their TV remotes, and eliminate gasoline expenses incurred while satisfying the curiosity of kinfolk who simply must see WonderWorks before they die. Meanwhile, the increased use of temporary lodgings by Florida residents would ease the hotel industry's reliance on tourist dollars.
CON: The amendment should not pass until full familial coverage can be promised -- i.e., your uncle is no prizewinner, either.
Amendment 14 Leave no child's behind behind
SUMMARY: Using the R. Kelly case as its touching-off point, the amendment would afford greater protection to parents who allow their underage children to date self-professed "freaky" celebrities, then seek redress for the inevitable sexual shenanigans that result. By law, the celebrity deviants would have to provide parents with lavish payoff gifts before going on the first date, rather than waiting until charges are threatened, as is the current custom.
SPONSOR: Put Our Daughters to Work, a for-profit advocacy group.
PRO: The amendment seeks to reinforce the deeply held Floridian conviction that nobody can pimp a minor better than his or her own parents.
CON: The proposal is too narrowly drawn, in that it does nothing to keep Chuck Berry away from our public lavatories.
Plan 9 Resurrection of the dead
SUMMARY: Long-distance electrodes are shot into the pineal pituitary glands of the recent dead, enabling them to rise from their graves and walk the night.
SPONSOR: Aliens from an undisclosed planet somewhere within our solar system
PRO: Forget about protecting Social Security and IRAs; here's a proposal that really stands up for our seniors. Ensuring that even the cold hand of doom does not strike an old duffer from his hard-earned position in society will help to make Florida more of an "open" culture, while simultaneously spurring cafeteria traffic and fishing-hat sales from Jacksonville to Coral Gables. The program has already been successfully tested in the St. Petersburg area, where vast legions of the rotting undead may regularly be seen tooling around the streets in search of low-risk entertainment options and innocuous conversations with indulgent strangers. There's every reason to believe that statewide implementation of the endeavor would engender even stronger results.
CON: "Stronger? You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!"
Amendment 240 Widening our state sheriffs
SUMMARY: The amendment combines the core elements of previous proposals that have sought to cure Florida's ills by putting more uniformed personnel on the streets and/or widening our state highways. Under this streamlined plan, the Floridian way of life would be enhanced via a widening of our lawmen themselves, who would immediately be put on a mandatory diet of high-fat, carb-heavy foods. In this way, law-abiding citizens and evildoers alike would be ensured a justice that's both swift and loaded up on Swift's Premium Sausages.
SPONSORS: United Heart Surgeons of Central Florida; Albertsons
PRO: With serious subjects like schools and taxes dominating our political discourse, we often lose sight of the important role that comic relief plays in any thriving, robust state. And there's nothing funnier than the sight of a grossly overweight sheriff huffin' and a-puffin' his lungs out during a foot chase with an 8-year-old bicycle thief -- unless it's when he kneels down to help you fix a blown tire, and you get a priceless look at the crack of that big ol' boy's ass. That's always a riot.
CON: Hey, leave some enchiladas for the rest of us, willya?