Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 in Review: Forget Voter ID Law; we need a voter IQ law

(From March 2013, this was also a Huffington Post blog)
Society will be safer when people can carry guns into churches.

Our standard of living will increase once we get rid of unions and bring business into our states.

We can create a much more educated society if we pay teachers based on standardized test scores and then let them spend all of their time teaching to the test.

We can get a much better crop of teachers if we do nothing but attack them and tell their students and their students’ parents just how worthless the teachers are.

If we eliminate taxes for businesses, they will automatically start hiring people.

All of those propositions wither and fade away when confronted with reason, but the people who keep pushing this snake oil keep returning to office, year after year, election after election.

It’s not Voter ID that this country needs- it’s Voter IQ.

We need voters who are intelligent enough not to fall for the tactics that have put these merchants of hate and division into office.

While I realize that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 completely ruled out the tests that Jim Crow society of the South used to keep African American voters from casting ballots and rightfully so, it is still pleasant to think about a society where people might actually exercise their intelligence when they step into the voting booth.

Perhaps prospective voters should have to run through a basic checklist before they are allowed to register.

1.   You cannot vote if you think that people who have little or no money are not paying their fair share, so you have to cut taxes to almost nothing for those who are fortunate enough to have money.
2.   You have no business voting if you believe that you need an assault weapon to protect you from your neighbors, or if you actually think any arsenal you manage to build is going to be able to hold off the federal government.
3.   You need to stay away from the polls if you believe that any government as chaotic and disorganized as ours could ever launch a successful plan to round up all of your guns.
4.   No voting for you if you buy into the idea that teachers who take six weeks of training in Teach for America are automatically better than experienced teachers.
5.   Forget about voting if you really think it is a good idea for your representative to accept bills that are written by lobbyists and submit them as their own.
6.   You don’t have the intelligence to vote if you buy into the idea that the 10th Amendment enables state legislatures to disobey any federal law they want.
7.   You should stay at home if you think that politicians who claim to be knowledgeable about business really believe that it makes sense to cut, cut, and cut again, but not to look seriously into increasing revenues.
8.   You have no business voting if you believe the United States will be better off if we involve our military in places like Iraq, Syria, and Iran.

The list goes on and on. Our politicians (or more likely, the special interests who are putting them into office and then keeping them there) have been able to convince the voting public that ideas that are clearly not in the public’s best interest are the only things protecting them from Armageddon.

It has been done by appealing to envy- the idea that someone else, whether it be someone who is African American, Hispanic, female, gay, is getting something and the only way they are getting it is by taking it away from you.

It has been done by appealing to fear- The government will take away your guns; the government is teaching your children to hate God; the government is trying to take your money and give it to people who want to just sit home, drink beer, and let you do all of the work.

It has been done through the spending of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars by special interests, who are able to make even more money every time they can convince the voting public to vote against its own interest.

There is not a ghost of a chance that a Voter IQ bill could ever become reality, and perhaps that is just as well. The idea that there is some kind of litmus test that we have to have in order to cast a ballot goes against everything that makes this country stand out from nearly every other country in the world.

Instead, our best bet is to do whatever we can to raise the voters’ IQ while there is still time to do so.

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