Over the past few weeks it has been hard to ignore the fliers and posters which have saturated the walls of many campus structures. "No on 1" or "VOTE" say the signs' headers in vaguely hostile capital letters. These simple reminders to participate in the political process are all well and good, as Question 1 centers around one of the most polarizing issues in politics today. No sign would be enough to change someone's opinion on it. But more recently, other bits of propaganda have started appearing, ones which extend the single-minded fervor of the "No on 1" posters to issues which can hardly be considered emotionally charged.

Simply by including the words "marriage equality" nestled beneath the friendly "Bowdoin College Democrats" header in their posters, the College Democrats have ensured that both sides of the issue are communicated. Most people are for or against same-sex marriage on principle, and the issue really doesn't need any further explanation, or at least not any that can be conveyed in a small amount of text. This is not true of issues as abstract and numerical as automobile excise taxes and governmental revenue restrictions.

Perhaps on the tiny little signs which the College Democrats placed on the tables at the dining halls, printing only a single, short sentence describing each of these points was warranted. But when one considers the time and effort it must have required to distribute full-color, extra-large signs all over campus, it is more than mildly depressing that they contain only the same, inaccurate, one-sided blurbs about the three referendums about which the campus organization deigns to care.

It is great that the College Democrats are getting their message out there and informing the student body as to the nature of their views, which is more than can be said about the nigh on non-existent College Republicans. Such dogmatic campaigning may be an acceptable, albeit elitist strategy when preaching to the public at large. But if the College Democrats want to maintain even a pretense of educating the student body about the issues, rather than just being a propaganda machine, they need to stop treating the student body as sheep to be herded, and instead acknowledge that students have the ability make up their own minds.

The one-sided nature of the signs would not be such an issue if the reasons backing up the instructions—in bright, red, commanding font—to vote "no" on 2 and 4 were at all accurate. The College Democrats claim that Question 2 will "unfairly reduce the auto excise tax on luxury and hybrid vehicles." It is true that if the referendum passes, the state of Maine will be deprived of "much needed revenue for [its] cities and towns," but this effect would have little or nothing to do with lower taxes on luxury or hybrid autos, which make up a tiny fraction of the market.

When one reads the legislation itself, it is obvious that excise taxes are being more than halved on all automobiles, not merely hybrid and luxury models. Most of the reduction in funding will be a result of this lower tax on normal cars, not any special models. Furthermore, the legislation makes no mention of luxury vehicles at all. Only hybrids, hydrogen-cars, and cars with a fuel efficiency of more than 40 mpg are entitled to a zero-percent tax for the first three years of their lives. There is a dearth of hydrogen filling stations in Maine, so the State is unlikely to be overcome with a fleet of tax-dodging hydrogen-powered motorists, and while a smart car (Environmental Protection Agency highway rating of 41 mpg) is a lovely machine, "luxury" is hardly a word that most people would apply to it.

Question 4 is a trickier issue. Whether the original version of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) did indeed have a "devastatingly negative impact" on Colorado is up for debate, but it seems ridiculous to claim that the referendum is an "attempt to financially undercut the state." Misrepresenting the other side's views is, of course, a common occurrence in politics, but painting a bill which limits the amount government spending can increase every year as a sinister plot to steal the government's money just seems a tad ludicrous.

In any case, the referendum still seems to contain the same issues which the Colorado version did (it ignores productivity increases in determining how much the government can spend), making it a deeply-flawed piece of legislation. But would an accurate explanation of why the student body should vote "no" on Question 4 really have been too much to squeeze onto an 11 by 17 poster?

To top it off, the students were only informed about three of the seven referendums up for vote. While it is true that some of these, such as questions about school districts and technical changes to the Maine constitution, do not really concern Bowdoin students' everyday lives, Questions 5 and 6 are undeniably relevant. They ask, respectively, whether the state should establish a Medical Marijuana Act and whether Maine should issue bonds for infrastructure improvement. Medical marijuana is an issue on which many students are likely to have opinions, and anyone who has driven for long enough on some Maine roads will understand the desire for more transportation funding. It is quite mysterious why these issues were ignored when a question as dull as an automotive tax was deemed significant enough to go on campus-wide posters.

More than a few members of the student body restricted their votes on October 24 to only Question 1 because they felt they were under-informed on the other issues. Perhaps the College Democrats have lost the spirit of political debate due to a lackluster opposition on campus, but if the student body's views are really as dully homogeneous as the organization seems to believe—based on the preaching tone of the posters around campus—then providing less stilted material that is actually accurate could only increase the number of votes their causes receive. What Bowdoin needs is intellectual discourse, not the saturation of its collective consciousness with one side's ideology, a state which, as the campus' walls and bathroom stalls reveal, the campus is getting dangerously close to.

Benjamin Ziomek is a member of the Class of 2013.