A Citizenship Test

Opinion: I believe that before you can vote you should be able to pass a citizenship test that includes relevant aspects of American History and a basic knowledge of how our government works to include the Constitution, the three branches of government and the various agencies of the Executive Branch.

The Supreme Court has consistently held against qualifying voters but such a stance has allowed us to rot like a badly kept vineyard where so-called “citizens” know little to nothing about their own government or history. Prior to 2021 immigrants were required to pass a citizenship test before being sworn in as citizens. This was done because it was assumed by Congress that immigrants would not have enough knowledge of the U.S. government or history to knowingly participate in choosing elected representatives or deciding issues affecting themselves and other citizens.

Congress was right and now those who know most about our history and government are legal immigrants who have taken the test and passed. Since we can demonstrate the dearth of knowledge of these matters among recent high school and college graduates we can make an argument that they cannot be trusted to make informed decisions because they are not informed. Yes, it may, in the early stages disqualify some people from voting but simply being born in the U.S. does not make you an informed participant in government.

Most of these tests could be given in high school and/or college after taking the necessary Civics and American history and government classes. The government could publish study guides and sample tests in multiple languages so that language would not disqualify someone from being eligible to vote.

An informed electorate might be less susceptible to support some ideas having been educated on how funds are raised and disbursed by the government. An informed electorate might be more engaged in selected representatives who will actually represent their wishes in Washington vice taking up a sinecure job then collecting a pension w/o ever having actively represented the wishes of those who elected them. An informed electorate would be more engaged in community affairs having learned that most politics are local.

So, I think Congress should pass a law requiring the demonstration of basic proficiency in Civics and American History prior to being eligible to register to vote. Yes, it is a big change but today’s system only perpetuates the cultural concept that things will be given to you. Having to work for the ability to vote might help in reestablishing the basis of the American Dream which was to achieve it you had to work for it.

Anyway that’s my take.

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