Saturday, September 06, 2008

Voter requirements

With the introduction of the palpably unqualified Gov. Palin to the national election, some discussion has been generated about requirements for public office. Personally, I wish we could have requirements for voting in this country. Now, it's clear we can't because it'd be used in discriminatory manners against historically disenfranchised groups. But ideally, anyone who cannot pass the following test with at least a 70% has no business helping select their representatives.

1. Name the three branches of the national government and briefly describe their respective functions.
2. Identify how fluctuations in supply and demand affect prices of goods and services.
3. Name three ways in which the national government can influence the actions of a foreign government.
4. Define the terms "federal budget deficit" and "national debt."
5. What are the constitutionally defined duties of the vice president?
6. State whether each of the following is a required duty of the national government, a permitted function of the national government, or an act prohibited to the national government:
a. Establish a national currency.
b. Establish and fund the armed forces.
c. Establish a national religion.
d. Tax cigarettes at $1,000.00 per pack.
e. Prohibit entry into this country by a U. S. citizen.
f. Execute an individual upon conviction of a capital crime.
g. Establish a local educational curriculum.
h. Ensure that each state has a republican form of government.
i. Regulate equipment worn by NFL players.
j. Raise the top marginal income tax rate to 100%.
7. What is the functional of the Electoral College, and how are its votes assigned to the candidates?
8. Name three current U.S. Senators and three current members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
9. Define the terms "radical," "liberal," "conservative," and "reactionary" as they apply to current U. S. politics.
10. Which political party might you be expected to vote for if you support each of the following positions? (You must choose between the Democratic, the Green, the Libertarian, and the Republican parties. There can be more than one correct answer in some cases.)
a. Strong environmental regulation, even (if necessary) at the cost of economic growth.
b. Strong economic growth, even (if necessary) at the cost of environmental degradation.
c. A single-payer health care system, sometimes called "nationalized health care."
d. The abolition of the federal Departments of HHS, Education, and Agriculture.
e. The pre-emptive use of military force to resolve disputes with foreign nations.
f. The reduction of federal income tax rates as a goal in and of itself.
g. Using the federal government to retrain workers.
h. Increasing the size of the U.S. military from its current level.
i. Legalizing marijuana.
j. Increasing criminal penalties as a solution for increases in crime.

As you can see, this isn't difficult and really isn't partisan. But we all know that there are thousands, maybe millions of our fellow citizens who will be voting in November who could not answer even 3 of those questions correctly. My well considered and researched vote is worth exactly as much as the drunken doofus who stumbles into the poll on a lark. And there are a whole lot more of them than there are of me.

Welcome to the Idiocracy.


Toast said...

Damn, dude, remind me never to interview with you. #6 was an interesting exercise, but I think that's a bit above and beyond what you should need to demonstrate to vote responsibly. #9 is the kind of question even politically savvy people could disagree on. I love question #10. That, to me, is really the litmus test: Do you actually know what the party you support stands for? If not, please step away from the voting levers.

michelline said...

I loved this.