Are you under the impression that the most important vote to be cast in Sanibel in early 2012 is for president and vice president? Are you aware of the many gut-wrenching amendments on the ballot that will have a significant impact on every phase of your life going forward?
You'd better pay attention to these amendments because they will affect your life from the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep at night.
The most controversial of these amendments is citizenship status for alligators. Alligators have put together a very powerful lobbying effort in the state of Florida to alter their designation from endangered species to voting citizens. As reported in this column a number of months ago, Sanibel alligators rose up to demonstrate on Periwinkle. Not only did they stop traffic, but they also burned alligator shoes to protest against human conspicuous consumption.
A number of Sanibel residents marched with the alligators to make a statement about alligator civil rights. You'll be voting on an amendment that was hastily added on to the November ballot calling for full citizenship for alligators, including the right to make reservations at Timbers. Campaigning on the slogan "crunch time is here", alligators plan to encourage island residents to vote yes for this amendment by escorting as many voters to the polls as possible.
Another important amendment on the ballot is a tax on couch potatoes. Island fitness trainers, physical therapists and sneaker manufacturers support this amendment. If this amendment receives a majority vote then anyone caught sitting at home for at least six hours a day confiscates the right to dine in any Sanibel restaurant unless he receives a certificate from the Sanibel City Council.
The renewal of vows amendment will affect many married couples in Sanibel. It states that all married couples must have their vows renewed every ten years by a Sanibel justice of the peace. Religious groups, bigamists, mortgage bankers, minor league baseball teams and soothsayers, support the amendment. Opposing the amendment is the powerful divorce attorney lobby, mistress support groups, private detectives, singles clubs and Broadway producers.
The amendment to create a new national holiday in Sanibel in March to be called "Snow Bird Day" is receiving overwhelming support. Everyone in Sanibel is sensitive to the power and influence our snowbirds have and none other than students at the Sanibel Elementary School proposed the amendment.
The germ of the idea was started during a civics lesson in a sixth grade class during its weekly scheduled chant: "two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate?" During class discussion the students agreed that they missed their snowbird grandpas and grandmas and wanted to find a way to show appreciation for them when they returned to Sanibel in the fall.
Their teacher guided the students on how to make this show of appreciation more formal and followed their textbook on municipal government to create a formal amendment. The fact that sixth graders created this amendment showering support and recognition of island snowbirds is testament to the superior educational standards in Sanibel schools.
And, finally, an amendment worth considering is Amendment 8, which would grant rehabilitated blackened food addicts the right to live anywhere they choose in Sanibel. This amendment would make null and void a law now on the books that prohibit such addicts from living within fifty yards of vegetarians.
As you can see there are far more important issues than who should be elected our next president. There are also many local elections that may have an even greater impact on our lives in Sanibel and Lee County. But if there's just one single reason to go to the polls in November it's those amendments. Otherwise, you stand the chance of alienating alligators, married couples, snowbirds, reformed couch potatoes and blackened food addicts.