Bad politicians are our own fault

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There was a funny little ditty on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" the other night that also made the rounds of the Internet. Someone sent an unbelievably ignorant comment to a newspaper that fully displayed his stupidity. So much so that it was hilarious. But the punch line was that "this idiot had the right to vote."

Well, that got me to thinking. which can sometimes be dangerous.

I am convinced -- actually I am absolutely certain -- that some people should not be allowed to vote. Maybe we should take voting rights and make them voting privileges.

On the trustworthy scale, politicians fall near the bottom of the list. Loathed. Scorned. Despised. But the fact is that politicians are politicians only because we the voters elect them. We glance at their resumes and then hire them. Later we discover it's much more difficult to fire them. In short, we have no one other than ourselves to blame.

Maybe it's time for a National Voters Test. Think about it. You have to take a test to drive a car.

Or to sell real estate.

Or insurance.

Or practice law.

So what would be wrong with asking voters to -- at the bare minimum -- have some inkling of how government runs before we give them the all-powerful vote?

You see, voting is one of the more important aspects of our republic. And we grant that power without reservation. We often joke that some voters cast their ballot on the looks of the candidate or for some other superficial reason. But it's not a joke.

Every coffee shop conversation includes the talk that we should throw all of the rascals out of Washington, D.C. We should start fresh. But we fail to recognize that we put them there in the first place. So maybe we should blame a flawed electorate and not flawed politicians.

Elections are often no more than elaborate popularity contests. But often the most popular kid in class is not the best suited for a particular job.

We already exclude some convicted felons from voting, so why not exclude those who have not a clue on how our system of government works?

But instead of trying to limit voting to the informed, we're going in the opposite direction. We are bending over backward trying to widen the net for voting by adopting motor voter laws or not requiring voter identification or allowing mail-in votes. Someday soon we'll be able to vote at home on a computer. That way voters won't have to miss a minute of Jerry Springer to cast their all-important ballots.

If we want an improved government official, then we should improve voters and there should be some minimal requirement to vote. Set the bar very low, but at least have a bar.

Sure, I realize that a National Voters Test will never become a reality. But I also realize that an uninformed electorate often brings lesser candidates to office. And ultimately we pay the price for others' ignorance.

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