Sitting in San Diego County Superior Court on election day, waiting to see if I would be selected for jury duty, the conversation among the perspective jurors eventually turned to the general election. Nobody was talking about the presidential or congressional races, we were in California, the left coast, and the outcome of those contests was not in doubt. Instead, the discussion centered on the eleven propositions before the Californian electorate. Normally, I won’t hesitate before leaping into a political debate, but I was among strangers so I decided to shut up and listen.
What I heard disturbed me. As they argued over the various propositions, it was obvious that no one had a clear understanding of the issues they were discussing. It seemed that the totality of everyone’s knowledge regarding the propositions had come from television commercials – advertisements that were so distorted and diametrically opposed that it was often hard to accept that they were addressing the same issue.