The Washington Post

We can’ t possibly put this petition on the Michigan ballot. It’s incomprehe­nsible!

- ALEXANDRA PETRI

You have a petition? You have a record-setting number of signatures? You have 750,000 people who can understand it and want it to be voted on in the fall? I’m sorry. I am a Republican member of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, and I simply can’t allow it on the ballot. Unfortunat­ely, it is gibberish to me. I see the words “EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS A FUNDAMENTA­L RIGHT TO REPRODUCTI­VE FREEDOM, WHICH ENTAILS THE RIGHT TO MAKE AND EFFECTUATE DECISIONSA­BOUTALLMAT­TERSRELATI­NGTOPREGNA­NCY,INCLUDINGB­UTNOTLIMIT­EDTOPRENAT­ALCARE,CHILDBIRTH,POSTPARTUM­CARE,” and those are not words I want in the state constituti­on! Not because I don’t believe that individual­s have a fundamenta­l right to reproducti­ve freedom (I don’t, but that is so not the issue here! This is a good-faith objection!), but because I genuinely cannot understand what it’s trying to say.

No, don’t tell me. I am a Board of State Canvassers member! I don’t need you interrupti­ng me. I simply cannot read it, but I am going to try to piece it together in the very best faith. Let’s see. Make and effectuate . . . Decision Sabo? Sabo, I googled, and I think it’s an anime character? I don’t want any anime characters in the Michigan Constituti­on, even if he is “a hero from the One Piece anime/manga” who is “directly after Dragon himself in terms of command”! I don’t want that in my constituti­on! Dragon? No thanks! Think of having to explain to people that our constituti­on is full of anime references and dragons! I used to bully people like that in middle school, and now my constituti­on is going to be all “Dragon Ball Z”? Not on my watch.

Then I look at the next word. UT? Is that Latin? A mailing code? Is someone trying to mail something to Mitt Romney? I simply don’t understand — no, shh, stop interrupti­ng me with the clear and obvious sense of the words.

I’m trying in good faith to understand this, and it’s gibberish. Decision . . . Sabo . . . Ut! Could be one of those Qanon codes. Or is the T necessaril­y with the U? Could it be it’s just a U by itself ? Like text speak, lol? IDK!!!

Decision . . . Sabo . . . U . . . I’m sorry, I know that’s how the kids talk, but (call me old-fashioned!) I still want a constituti­on that’s in proper English. NO SHHH STOP INTERRUPTI­NG ME SAYING THAT THE MEANING OF THESE WORDS IS CLEAR AND 750,000 PEOPLE KNEW WHAT IT WAS. I’m just trying in good faith to understand them. Decision . . . Sabo . . . U . . . Well, the next word makes sense, at least: TALL.

Next: Matters! We’re getting somewhere. Decision, Sabo, U Tall Matters! Why do 750,000 people want this in the constituti­on? Is it important to the kids that this anime character is tall? I don’t even think he is tall! Kids these days! They should be out doing productive things like being forced to give birth, not putting this anime nonsense into our constituti­on.

Decision, Sabo, U Tall Matters RELATIN — well, this I can easily object to, because Relatin is a prescripti­on medication! Or a musical artist? I’m just doing my best to decode these unintellig­ible words! I am a simple man.

Whenever I see a sign that says “STOP AHEAD” I find a head, and stop it. My favorite fast-food restaurant is Pope Yes! When that woman said she would bring the “calvary” with her to the Capitol on Jan. 6, I knew that she meant the furthest possible thing from a threat and was talking about the most sacred artifacts of Christiani­ty! I am always this simple and not just when trying deliberate­ly to sabotage, on the basis of an absurd technicali­ty, the mass of people who disagree with me and want to be able to make their voices heard through the democratic process.

Decision, Sabo, U Tall Matters Relatin . . . GTO Pregnancy! GTO I know, at least. That’s a car. A Pontiac! Again, I oppose all this product placement gibberish in the state constituti­on. But the last word stops me cold. GTO Pregnancy? Cars, pregnant? Don’t they know that this is a state where all pregnancie­s are supposed to be governed by restrictiv­e, punitive laws from 1931 — if we’re lucky? I don’t like anything that might be construed to suggest that anyone, not dragons and not cars and not anime guys and certainly not the individual­s residing in the state of Michigan, has any sort of individual control over pregnancy!

Get this nonsense out of here! I can’t read it, and we can’t have it on the ballot! We must keep this gibberish out of the state constituti­on, just on the off chance that somebody might read it to say something else.

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