Warning: this blog contains language and ideas some may find offensive.
We honor the history of the Grecian concept of democracy and we believe we have improved upon the British concept of democracy which forms the roots from which our democratic republic has grown. Even though there is a continual struggle for universal suffrage and accusations of voter suppression we have the single most inclusive democratic form of government in the world. Perhaps it’s time to ask if that is actually a good thing? Perhaps it is time to consider whether something for nothing is the fulfillment of a “Right” to things. Perhaps it is time to demand actual participation in order to receive the participation trophy.
I ask because it seems the average voter can only discuss the now of the Republic; they have no concept of how we have changed the voting participation over the 231 years since we began operating as a republic. They have little knowledge of how the country was founded, who did it, why they did it or the struggles involved with doing it. 68% of US citizens cannot name the three branches of government and 20% can’t even name one. 67% of US citizens cannot name even one of their representatives in Congress. A majority of citizens believe the phrase “all men are created equal” is in the Constitution. The average college student cannot tell you anything about the real reasons for the American Civil War, World War II, the Korean War or even Vietnam. They know nothing of Bacon’s Rebellion or Shay’s Rebellion; nothing about why slavery is included in the Constitution; or why of the three crimes mentioned in the Constitution, treason is the only one for which specific requirements are provided (hint: it was to keep Royalists during the Revolution from being tried for treason by the various states).
They know nothing of how they came to have the privilege to vote but they vote anyway. They don’t understand the difference between a democratic Republic and a democracy. They have no idea that the reason for the Bill of Rights was to protect the people from the government and the minority from the majority. They have no concept that it requires a Constitutional amendment to change the Electoral College nor that doing so would destroy the republican concept of government. Legal immigrants are much more knowledgable of US history and the republican form of government than are people who are born here. We insist that immigrants take a test before they become a citizen and have the privilege of voting, why shouldn’t we insist upon the same level of knowledge for native born citizens exercising the privilege to vote.
Note I term it a privilege and not a right. Rights are God given not Government given as in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is no right to a living wage, a cell phone or the choice of pronoun. Those are privileges granted by a government. Generally, privileges are earned and because of recent behavior on the part of many of our residents I believe it is time that we returned to the days of earned privilege vice the concept that somehow, housing, food, income, cellphones, education and other such qualities of life are “Rights.” People talk about a “Free” education but education even in elementary school is not free. It is provided for by property taxes on those who own property. Those who do not own property get it for “Free” but it isn’t, in any manner, “Free.” Most colleges can’t make it on tuition payments or gifts from alumni instead depending, in large part, on government grants. So, those who ask for free college don’t seem to realize their educations are already being subsidized by taxpayers. But now education has become a “Right,” not a privilege.
Perhaps it’s time we took a deep look at our Republic and insisted on a pay to play scheme. Perhaps we should rewrite the Constitution such that you must meet certain requirements to qualify for the privileges. We’ll guarantee government doesn’t take your life or your liberty without due process nor will it unnecessarily interfere with your pursuit of happiness but you’ll have to meet certain requirements if you seek the other privileges like voting, subsidized housing, free cellphones and such. Religions have requirements, clubs have requirements, organizations have requirements why shouldn’t Government have requirements? We already have some requirements in the Constitution. You can’t run for the House unless you’re 25, the Senate unless you’re 30, the Presidency unless you’re 35. So, putting a requirement in for voting and other programs should be something to consider. It would make us a better society.
Please don’t tell me about all the things like poll taxes and gender restrictions. Those were discriminatory because of their specific nature, remember many white males were originally not eligible to vote either, while property owning black males were. Under the original constitutional interpretation by the states only about 6% of the population was allowed to vote. We changed this over time to one of universal suffrage and since we can do that we should be able to require of one and all the passing of a test on the history and government of the US. We could just use the test intending immigrants must pass.
Anyway that’s my idea.