Friday, October 8, 2010
Sink Your Teeth into Referendumb 2010
Teeth are not that important.
Unless you’re having a root canal. Sure, as some sadistic guy in a white coat is jamming sharp pieces of metal into our gums, we all promise to take our dental health much more seriously from now on.
But once the procedure is over, and the pain subsides, and the bills are paid, you are free to go back to basically ignoring your teeth. And most of us do.
Eventually they all fall out anyway and you need dentures. It is the way of our ancestors. Why should we think we’re any better?
No one’s teeth are worth $5 million, which is why I’m urging you to vote NO on Question 2 November 2.
What, you didn’t realize there was a Question 2? There’s always a Question 2. It’s the resentful younger sibling of Question 1, always getting less attention and respect.
“Damn, you Question 2,” says the Secretary of State when he’s had too much to drink. “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”
Sexy Question 1 is about a casino (again) this year, this time somewhere in Oxford County. In several different votes, the People of Maine have made themselves clear how they feel about casinos: As long as they’re run by white people, we don’t mind.
This time around, it’s a “group of investors” who think they can make some money, not just some tribe trying to recover a little dignity and financial viability. I guess if the people in Oxford County are willing to put up with it, who are we to say no?
Casinos are seedy, unhealthy, addictive, and depressing. But so is McDonald’s, and we don’t seem to mind building those every 500 yards or so. Follow the money.
Speaking of money, don’t forget those bond issues that always pop up further down the ballot, trying to drive this state into (further) financial ruin, urging us to borrow incomprehensible sums for stupid things that don’t matter, like teeth.
Question 2 proposes greater access to dental care and funding for dental schools.
Obviously, the public would benefit from this. It would also benefit from weekly yoga and massage therapy for every citizen. Imagine everyone strolling through life in waves of relaxed bliss!
But we can’t mortgage away the future for luxuries like being happy or not having to use dentures.
Meanwhile, Question 3 lurks at the bottom of the page asking for almost $10 million to conserve land and state parks. Again, a nice gesture, ensuring that future generations have places to enjoy nature besides what manages to grow between cracks in the sidewalk, but is it really worth mortgaging our financial future?
Actually, when you look at the whole picture, it’s worth the money. The only reason people from away drop their filthy money in Maine is because of our pristine outdoor spaces (well, that and the casinos). They’re certainly not here for the night life, and they’re definitely not here to see thousands of acres of clear-cuts.
Every dime of interest we spend on the Question 3 bond will come back to us through the tourism industry. And it will buy the priceless satisfaction and security of knowing that future generations will always be able to put food on the table self-sufficiently by hunting and fishing.
That is, if they’re able to chew anything besides soup and yogurt.