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Should you have to pass a basic knowledge test

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major underscore
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#1

Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:42 AM

That many people have a poor grasp of the basics of government should not come as a surprise to anyone. Yet these people vote and may sway the outcome of elections.

The debate topic is simple:

Should you be required to pass a basic knowledge test before being allowed to vote?

SagaciousKJB
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#2

Posted 12 May 2010 - 12:11 PM

I think to penalize the stupid by denying them voting rights is simply the "easy" way out for people who think their motives aren't relevant. When it comes right down to it though, if you denied everyone that could not pass a "basic" knowledge test you'd first have to define what basic knowledge is--and surely there will be someone that is unsatisfied with whatever conclusion is reached. After that you have a large group of people who are denied the right to vote for a candidate if they wish to because, "They said they would fix the roads," or some small personal interest. Even if these people may not understand the way the government works and may not understand the implications of voting for the guy that wants to fix the roads but ban all motor vehicle transport, simply removing their representation in government is just as naive and incongruent to running a democratic government as is their folly in choosing a candidate that doesn't really represent their goals. Instead of saying, "These people that don't know any better shouldn't be allowed to vote," what needs to be done ( and usually is ) is to get such voters to understand who their candidate is based on relating their issues to the nuances of government they may not understand. The only problem is that this lends itself to propaganda, misinformation, and again just circles back to there being some kind of standard understanding for voters... Really when you think about it, it would be just as difficult as trying to inform voters who to vote for without educating them.

Another thing you overlooked, though I'm sure you would address, is those that may not be able to pass the test due to learning disabilities or other circumstances. I mean, imagine if a law were in place that, "You must know the history of the U.S. government," back during a time when African Americans and women were first being allowed to vote. Many of them couldn't even read, how would one suggest that they have to pass a basic knowledge test if the knowledge on that test is not common? If a person can not read, then they are probably one of the people in a country that needs representation the most; if they are stupid they need education. I don't see how denying their vote makes anything better, as sooner or later their issues and needs will be heard whether it's through social unrest or the democratic process.

The intricate workings of government are usually not what is on the foremost of people's thoughts and concerns. While many people claim that the ignorance of the uneducated voting populace undermines their efforts and ambition--often times regarding an unwanted political figure being elected as the work of people too stupid to know what's good for them--the very assumption is as pompous and ignorant as one could be. I mean, as much as I disliked George Bush for example, I don't pass judgment upon those who voted for them, and some of them are the smartest people I know. Ultimately for people to assume that elections and voters are being swayed one way or another due to a lack of intelligence shows a very arrogant standpoint that is just as dangerous to voting.

Now as far as being required to have a basic understanding of how one's government works when electing officials for said government... Again I think to tell someone, "You don't even know what the President does, you can't vote for them," would probably exclude 90% of the American public from voting. I mean, I guarantee that at least half of Americans have no f*cking clue what the President's REAL role in government--the way most of us think about it, we'd think we were electing "the guy in charge". More like a democratic king than what the forefathers intended.

When it comes down to it though our entire voting system is very flawed. We don't vote on whether we go to war, what bills are ratified, etc. We vote for the people that will vote for that; and on many more intricate layers than that. We vote for city council, than then lobby state representatives that vote in the House/Senate ( I wouldn't be passing my test for voter's rights, let's get that straight right now ), then so on and so forth until finally the President signs it, or vetoes it, and then a bunch of more guys get to vote on it in Congress. That might not be exactly how it works I'll admit, but the actual representation of what each individual wants is lost in translation most of the time. By the time Mary Sue Homemaker's plea in city council for tougher immigration laws because of local education issues has made its way up to a state level, it's just a political tie-on to a larger national issue and the importance to the individual becomes loss and we wind up with misrepresented and disenfranchised citizens no matter what we do.

It doesn't help that people vote for a President thinking that they're going to solve immigration laws, when really they're only worried about losing their job and could probably vote in their local or state government to better solve their problems. Yet, I guess we can't really blame them, with how much the media wants to convince us that the President is the most important political figure in the country that decides everything and that it's basically the one vote you can make that counts the most, when really it's probably the one that matters the very least.


Honestly though, why do we really have elections the way we do? I mean, if more people van vote for some TV show in a matter of minutes than people do nationally for the entire duration of the Presidential election, then I think someone is a little behind the times. I mean, Obama could probably come on during the State of the Union address and say, "Folks, if you want to legalize pot text "toke up" to 63819, if you want to keep it the way it is text "clean up"," and we'd have better representation for drug laws in this country than we've ever had before. Then maybe if we did that more often than once every year, the problems that arise from one particular choice would not be so bad. Say we legalized weed, but then kids and bus drivers were getting stoned and sh*t, so we go, "Okay, we have to criminalize it again," but then we arrest a bunch of f*ckin' people and wind up finding out it might actually help some and go, "Okay, well, maybe we should keep it semi-legal," and so on until we found something to settle on. Now imagine doing that about every two weeks: We would have made more progress in a month and a half than in forty years of drug laws. I mean, it's no wonder one group always feels like someone voted the wrong way, we go ages before ever readdressing a situation once we've made a choice. This in an age where millions of people can vote on something with their cell phones in the matter of seconds. I mean, our f*cking voting systems seem like it's stuck in a time where long distance phone calls were something to admire. Anyone ever watch the movie "Network"? Imagine if today every person with a cell phone or a computer could instantaneously say to the White house, "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore!" Who knows if it would actually work, the point is I'm pretty sure we're at a point in the nation where can stand to vote and reevaluate things with a bit more speed and a lot more representation.

Sorry, that last paragraph was a bit... Out there. Think about it though.

Canofceleri
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#3

Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:06 PM

Yeah, we should just make them spell disenf..desenfrin...ah sh*t!

RomanViking
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#4

Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:20 PM

SagaciousKJB, that is seriously the most intelligent, well done, relevant posts I have ever read. And the last paragraph that you try to downplay as "a bit... Out there" was the most thought provoking concept I've read in quiet some time.


Our democracy is a twisted and inefficient model. So much misinformation, and even complete lack of information...


Example: I see an ad campaign for a new mayor, or state governor/senator, etc.. but it's all useless crap I can't discern anything worthwhile from:




"I'm a Republican, and I'll fight for your Colorado values and LOWER TAXES".

And,

"I'm a proud Coloradan, born and raised, vote for me, etc..."


^if it's not useless, one line promises like magically lowering (already low) taxes, or saying they're born and raised and therefore they would make a good Senator... It's just propaganda shamelessly trying to make the other person look bad..


How as citizens, our we supposed to make an informed decision on who to vote for when we're treated like babies. When there is no open discussion or genuine information? It's just a load of commercial crap, or propaganda, and very very little actual substance.



And then what makes it all the more pathetic is, well how you explained it:
QUOTE
We don't vote on whether we go to war, what bills are ratified, etc. We vote for the people that will vote for that



So we really have very little information to make informed decisions from, and then the person we blindly elect is actually the person who makes the real decisions.


It's a pathetic system.




Actually more directly on-topic: I have to agree with SagaciousKJB. The better approach is to actually INFORM the people, even the slightly "slower" people.

TBH, mentally retarded/handicapped people shouldn't vote, simply because they're incapable of making real decisions. It's the hard, cold truth.

But again, even intelligent people who should be completely capable of informed decisions, who should have part in democracy - really don't know who to vote for in many cases. Campaign commercials that nobody can actually discern anything of value or relevant meaning from.

I know for a fact that the people of the city I live in, have absolutely no part in real decision making.




The government "democracy" needs to be reworked. As Sagacious suggested. Citizens need to understand the issue, be informed. All the misinformation and again, lack of information has turned a good idea into the joke it is today. And once again, like before, citizens have no say in bills passed, or wars fought.


It's a sad joke.




OKAY OKAY, I was on-topic, I swear if another idiot moderator warns me for going "off topic" angry.gif


TL;DR mentally retarded folks, literally incapable of making informed decisions, should not be allowed to vote. If some sort of knowledge test is required, as the OP major underscore suggested, so be it. Ultimately it's about keeping misinformed idiots from screwing everything up --- but really, it's inevitable that some government official or asshole will somehow take advantage of this. Or the test would be really retarded and biased.

There's really no way to make a completely unbiased test, a completely unbiased voting pool of citizens. There will always be misinformed or ignorant people screwing things up... or a higher up Capitalizing, or otherwise taking advantage for their own selfish ends..



I can't think of any solution.




Maverick24
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#5

Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:23 PM

Introducing barriers to the right to vote undermines the very core of democracy. Besides the practical implications and problems of enforcement of a 'minimum intelligence' to vote, such as defining the means of qualification, those politicians elected are meant to represent the entire nation. A politician is sworn to the promises he made to his electorate: this is his mandate. If a politician is elected by only a privileged group, how can their mandate apply to the entire people? People omitting their right own to vote is one issue, but denying the right to representation is immoral.

Further to this, an intelligence test would favour different demographics, placing greater power in the hands of privileged and well educated. A disparity in power would increase social imbalance and further the gulf of inequality. A black child born into a ghetto has already diminished chances of making something of their life; why tell them from an early age that the nation does not even value their viewpoint, but that it does a rich white kid who had the luck to be sent to university?

We live in an age of information. With the power of the internet, people can easily access facts(?), opinions, debates and analysis of virtually any issues on the political stage or not. The twenty-four hour news cycle means that politicians are not able to operate behind a veil of misunderstanding for period of time. The news industry provides the check-and-balance that is required to ensure politicians stay true to the aforementioned mandate that they have been granted on election.

What is a problem, however, is the apathy with which people turn to sources of information to validate what they have heard of been told. Saying that people should be better informed of politics is all well and good but it does not consider the fact that people who don't care, don't care. The power of Fox News is telling of the way people like to be presented with politics: unambiguous and often brutal character analyses that polarizes issues into one of two distinct camps. List all of the political issues at the front of American politics and you should be able to place them into two widely understood but never stated boxes: baby-killing-bleeding-lefty-liberals or racist-xenophobic-southern-religious-nut-jobs.

Rather than openly and progressively discuss issues, political opponents typically take firm stances in one of their aforementioned trenches. Lumping issues such as capital tax rates with abortion issues, the inane politicking becomes a contest of attrition between parties, separate from the image of multilateral consensus through compromise that democracy should be.

This discussed apathy is rampant amongst people who may be considered unintelligent, but is definitely not missing from the middle-classes and the educated. The soccer-mum spectacle of turn-of-the-century elections highlights that even hard-working and independent people are still susceptible to manipulation that relies on their deficiency of political knowledge. Perhaps, rather than use lack of intelligence as a scapegoat for democractic failure, we should focus on the general apathy of a nation to a politics game that only rears its head when it wants attention.

Jesus'En'Hitler420
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#6

Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:45 PM Edited by Jesus'En'Hitler420, 12 May 2010 - 05:48 PM.

QUOTE
Our democracy is a twisted and inefficient model. So much misinformation, and even complete lack of information...


It was never a democracy.

Roman, the system worked just fine. The fact is the system is not "pathetic", it's been skewed in to proporations that make it seem "pathetic". The fact the U.S government does what it does now is directly due to political complacency on behalf of the public. The founders knew that people would most likely not vote on everything single damned thing so they found the representative republic where it actually is someone's job to look after the issues better because it can be done more efficiently in this way. However, there's some problems that have arised:

-People do not keep after their representatives voting records, so the same jokes keep getting elected again and again. I do not think anyone would have voted for Chris Dodd had they known the connection between him, Century 21, and his votes that helped pass the laws that later played their role's in the subprime mortgage crisis.

-Being a Federal representative was never meant to be a full time job, and because it is now, they are always in the same damn place all the time making it very easy for lobbyists of the Unions and the Multinationals to get to them.

-It is now fashionable to be a Federal representative because they get the TV time, six figure salaries and pensions for life. How can we expect them to represent us when most people can barely make $60,000 and have to depend on "Social Security" for their retirement when the congressmen take from it like a bowl of Halloween candy?

-Because of the lack of education (Which can easily be said is done on purpose to keep the "system" the way it is) it's very hard for people to keep up with the legal language that laws are written in. You can blame them for "spewing" propaganda as they do but the fact is is the trueinformation is there right at the Congress's website but the public is apathetic towards reading legislation. People do not want to read the law. It can take a long time to read just one law. How is somebody with a full time job and children supposed to read the f*cking Healthcare bill that's 1,000 pages long? A thing like that may not be able to change, but unless people keep after their reps records, then how can we expect it to change? You said there's a sh*tload of propaganda out there but if that's all people listen to, why would we expect anything different by being able to vote "more"?

The public has the tools to redress these problems, but because nobody bothers to read the damn Constitution, (Which I'm presuming you have not judging by how you went about and called that "pathetic" when the fact is it's a damn work of political art) let alone the Bill of Rights (Which is by far the easiest thing anyone can do...) how can we expect the "representatives" to do any of the job they were outlined to do ?

It's all about education really. Isn't it ironic that we live in a country where the Constitution is the "law of the land" yet not one article in it was ever explained to probalbly any of us in any of our public school classes? I graduated High School and still hardly knew a damn thing about until I read it myself. It's going to take a lot of people to start reading it themselves, otherwise none of it will get better.

And that is what I propose, if there was going to be a "basic knowledge test" to get a license to vote, it would all be based on specific article's in the Constitution, specific amendments in the Bill of Right's, and maybe some passages written in The Federalist Papers.

I do not have that trust in people to be able to vote via a cellphone like on "American Idol" or any of those shows, atleast in today's America. That opens the door for manipulation via hacking and hysteria. All bills go through much debate (even with the hack politicians and all the baggage we have today) and the last thing we need is people that can not even make an informed decision about whether or not it is healthier to eat at home or at f*cking McDonalds being lulled into voting yes on some random war issue because the President gets on TV and starts crying about how "we are all going to die" if something does not get passed within 30 minutes.

I dare anyone to read the Constitution, and tell me how in anyway (Aside from the seperation of powers, that sh*t is obvious) that the Federal government of today even resembles the one written in 1787.

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#7

Posted 12 May 2010 - 07:10 PM

im pretty sure they used to have tests like these only they were bias to repel black voters. but i mean if you think about it, how many of barack obamas voters only supported him because of his skin color? there should be some sort of credibility test i suppose, but its not like your vote really counts anyway

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#8

Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:57 PM

No, I disagree with passing a test to vote.

First, because it is a right, it is one of the individual liberties that is guaranteed by any democratic nation.

Second, it's not the solution, people should be taught basic knowledge, education should be upgraded.

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#9

Posted 13 May 2010 - 05:10 AM Edited by Rown, 13 May 2010 - 05:19 AM.

I agree that the education system needs a boost... but I doubt we're all of the same mind on how to do that.

I also think the way we do citizenship should be altered.

1.) Citizenship will be tested in by naturalization for ALL residents (or maybe service based (not just military)).

2.) We treat EVERYONE in the nation like human beings. Deserving of having their rights respected.

3.) Residents will still be able to vote for local officials, state officials, and federal congressman.

4.) Citizens can vote for president.


So probably how it would breakdown is:

Passerby -> No voting rights. Other rights protected.
Resident -> Select voting rights. Other rights protected.
Citizen -> Full voting rights. Other rights protected.


I've been thinking off and on about this... various tangential rants withheld.

Rown rampage_ani.gif

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#10

Posted 13 May 2010 - 11:08 AM Edited by Maverick24, 13 May 2010 - 11:26 AM.

QUOTE (Rown @ May 13 2010, 05:10)

1.) Citizenship will be tested in by naturalization for ALL residents (or maybe service based (not just military)).

2.) We treat EVERYONE in the nation like human beings. Deserving of having their rights respected.

3.) Residents will still be able to vote for local officials, state officials, and federal congressman.

4.) Citizens can vote for president.


But Congress and the Judiciary are supposed to be of equal power to the President. As Jesus'En'Hitler420 said, the seperation of powers is one of the few constitutional items easily identifiable in the modern America. Your proposition would see an unfair representation given to the President. This represents a more effective mandate: an imbalance of powers. Your system of checks and balances would be skewed by this proposal. That is to say, that it is of course perfect now!(?)

QUOTE (Jesus'En'Hitler420 @ May 12 2010, 17:45)

It was never a democracy.

Roman, the system worked just fine.

The Roman system was probably more oligarchical than the system America has right now. By the time the Triumvirate emerged, the system that is held is such high praise to the point that America's system was modelled on it, the levels of government had become entirely elitist to the point that the republic had effectively 'fallen' already. The course of the Roman constitution was shaped entirely by war, finalising in the event that the 'President' (read Caesar) assumed control by an imbalance of power (he controlled a military that was a route to greater political power for its soldiers).

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#11

Posted 13 May 2010 - 05:11 PM

I don't see how that shifts the power. The Justices of the Supreme Court aren't elected by the people. The Senate wasn't SUPPOSED to be elected by the people. Hell the President now isn't even elected by the people. Explanation por favor.

And on the second part JnH was using the poster's name to address him (RomanViking), not talk about the Romans themselves.

Rown rampage_ani.gif

Jesus'En'Hitler420
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#12

Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:13 AM Edited by Jesus'En'Hitler420, 14 May 2010 - 04:29 AM.

Yeah thanks Rown for stating on my behalf that I was addressing RomanViking's post, not the Roman system of governing.

There's a few things I would propose in a new Constitution but it would be primarily based on the one the U.S currently stands on. Rather, what it used to stand on mad.gif

If you look back upon the Articles of Confederation and Perpertual Union Between the States, a lot of debate leading up the Constitution and the supreme Federal branch was really about representation among the states. Once it was realized that the "one state, one vote" model wasn't working under the Articles, Jefferson proposed the "Virginia Plan" which essentially gave the new Constitution (Much of the Constitution is based upon it's givings) the bicameral legislature that we see today. While the Senate wasn't elected by "the people" per se, it was elected by the state legislatures, which can be said is indirectly elected by "the people". As you mention though, it was overturned by the Seventeenth Amendment. Was it really a change for the better?

In my opinion, the whole reason this country is f*cked up because people do not know the bounds placed upon government by the Constitution. We wonder why "sh*t so f*cked up", and I say that reason is because our government, through fault of the peoples apathy and stupidity, has way overstepped it's limits placed upon it by the Constitution. People like to place the blame on Capitalism, and that's wrong. The problem is that the Federal government through the laws it provides itself, is often in bed with those corporations we place blame on. Why does it provide itself with such laws that hurt us? Well, because "we the people" do not read the laws, do not keep track of voting records, and only listen to the jargon that is spewed out by the state supporting/supporting state controlled/controlling media.

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#13

Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:53 AM

I think people are apathetic in part because there is hardly a time for them to give a damn. Every four years we elect a president, and for the vast majority that's the only time anyone pays attention and participates. I agree that citizens shouldn't be this apathetic, though my solution to that end is to reshape citizenship as a kind of higher level. Something to be desired, something to strive for.

Also I believe that people should have more reason to be interested in their government. For this I would propose things such as potential national referenda, or something that Thomas Jefferson suggested later in his life, occasional Constitutional Conventions for the suggesting of amendments.

Jefferson followed the "social contract" theory of the Constitution (a document that he unfortunately was not present to help make... I think he was in France). The Constitution as a contract cannot realistically be expected to govern any further than the generation that created it. By this logic... we've been without solid governance for nearly 200 years. Though you could say we live in tacit agreement to it... or sometimes do. But by offering Conventions you remove the speculation. People can directly say "yes this document is good" or "no, we need some fixes".


Rown rampage_ani.gif

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#14

Posted 14 May 2010 - 07:17 PM

I don't really think it's a matter of people being apathetic or not understanding the way government works. I mean, even when there are people who attempt to use the democratic process, the government doesn't honor it. Medical marijuana laws spring to mind, but I'll get to that in a second...

How can we say that Americans are too apathetic to understand the government is over-stepping its bounds when things like Waco, Ruby Ridge and the OKC bombings happened only in the last two decades? I mean, if any American was outraged by government to do what McVeigh did then that signals anything but apathy--not to endorse his actions or anything. However, the fact that so many Americans were simply pacified into accepting the events at Ruby Ridge really burrs the lines of things. An FBI sniper can shoot and kill an unarmed woman, be completely exonerated of any wrong doing because he was "acting within the scope of his job" and even be celebrated as a hero... With that kind of nonsense, I don't think it is entirely unlikely that if the government didn't play its cards right, today we could be in the middle of a violent revolution regarding the actions of Timothy McVeigh as heroic.

Then how can we not say the government does not basically issue propaganda? I mean, that FBI sniper is a hero for shooting an unarmed woman, is justified because it was "his job", yet the family that they attacked is supposed to be "violent" and "radical" because they wanted to live in the middle of no where rather than live under the government laws they didn't believe in? Go research the event for yourself, it is just another instance of the government stepping way over its bounds and pacifying its public with propaganda.

The real danger is that we do have people smart enough, that care enough, but are also sufficiently susceptible to propaganda to do smething like Timothy McVeigh did. Because, remember, it's not like what he did was in any way right--killing hundreds of innocent people is heinous no matter how much one tries to justify their intentions. However, doesn't the fact that someone with such intelligence and motivation can be strung in by one piece of propaganda until instead of picking up a pen and paper they take up arms?

To me that all shows an American public that isn't misunderstanding anything, that isn't too apathetic or lethargic to do anything, but one that is just easily misguided into choosing the wrong course of action.

The fact that Rown brought up Jefferson amazes me, because I think Jefferson understood this about America better than anyone. There are so many quotes you can attribute to Jefferson that show amazing foresight. One is particularly hard to find but he basically says the same thing your'e saying now, Rown.

This one is my favorite though:
"The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty….what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure."

It might come off as endorsing violent revolution, but to me I think it's more of a prediction of violent revolution. Not so much telling it like it should be but how it will be. Given all of the real catalysts of change this country has been through, I would say that Jefferson hit the nail on the head. Even some of the most civil and peaceful movements like Martin Luther King's were marked by violence elsewhere, and you see time and time again Americans just snapping instead of turning to the democratic process. However, is this because those Americans are radical, misguided, etc. Most likely yeah, but I think it also stands to show that the democratic process does not work for every American, because you cannot say that every one of these Americans is radical or misguided.

If you ask me what I think is soon to cause more violence, it is with our increasingly authoritative police state. Waco, Ruby Ridge, Rodney King, just to name a few that caused some seriously violent backlash in very recent times. It's important to realize that, it doesn't even have to come from many people either... While many think of a revolt as huge and riotous like the LA Riots, some of the worse loss of life can be caused by just one disgruntled man like in the Oklahoma City Bombing. These incidents alone were caused by the double standards that are in place in this country in regards to what boundaries are placed on law enforcement, and with more and more recent incidents just like this occuring--like the shooting of an unarmed man in the back by BART authorities just to name one notable instance--I don't think that it signals Americans being apathetic or ignorant at all, but the government simply misrepresenting them.

However, every time something like this happens, the revolt is heard. McVeigh's retaliation against the government opened up new cases against them for the actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge. The revolt in LA opened up new cases against the police involved in the Rodney King incident. Again I just think it attests to what Jefferson was saying.

Propaganda goes both ways though; it can insight violence, or quell it. A great example of that is the LA Riots; many people speculate that public backlash was so high because of the way the reporting unfolded. Then when the officers were retried, the reporting was calmer, they did not show such angry civiliians, and there was no backlash. You have to ask yourself, is this beacuse the media took time not to insight an angry public? Propaganda is not simply just political rhetoric all the time, it can really control the way a populace will react to something.

QUOTE (JnH)
Well, because "we the people" do not read the laws, do not keep track of voting records, and only listen to the jargon that is spewed out by the state supporting/supporting state controlled/controlling media


Jargon = Propganda

Besides you can't just typify the entirety of the American public as just gulping down this sh*t and accepting it as true. There are millions of people out there--yes millions--that have already voted for their states to decriminalize marijuana medicinally, and many more millions who do not buy into a lick of the government's misinformation and propaganda campaigns about it (to be fair there are millions more on the opposite side of that fence). There are thousands more yet that have taken it upon their very well educated selves to petition the government using the very democratic process that you claim is the answer to getting what we want. I will concede that for the most part it works; several states have very good representation of what the public wanted in regard to marijuana laws.

Yet, the DEA can still come in at any time, and enforce "Federal Law" which supersedes the state law. Now, I don't want to twist this into a debate about marijuana, I just want to know... If the Federal Government can simply choose to ignore what the public of one state wanted, yet they're not giving anyone the opportunity to voice their opinion at a federal level, what are we supposed to do?

I mean, forget about states that have decriminalized marijuana, the amount of states that have simply had it on a ballot alone shows that it should be up to a federal debate instead of a state-wide debate, because as soon as any one state makes one law, the federal government is in disagreement. How is a system like that supposed to work, and how are people supposed to change it according to the democratic process if the government is not keeping its part of it? I mean, assume the entire West Coast decriminalizes pot, the Federal government just keeps its stance, and then you wind up with prosecutors figuring out ways to get them brought up on federal charges so the pot laws will stick. They already do this with other types of laws that state and federal courts disagree about the punishment on.

I mean, if we want to look at the constitution as a contract, you yourself have pointed out that the government has not done its best to uphold its contractual duties. So what recourse do we have?

Jesus'En'Hitler420
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#15

Posted 16 May 2010 - 11:19 PM Edited by Jesus'En'Hitler420, 16 May 2010 - 11:32 PM.

QUOTE

I mean, if we want to look at the constitution as a contract, you yourself have pointed out that the government has not done its best to uphold its contractual duties. So what recourse do we have?


The Second Amendment, and what it actually is there for. Not the petty debates about crime/murder.

I think what people need to do is start learning about what government is founded upon in this country. Through reading The Federalist Papers, you see why power is divided in the way it is, why it takes as long as it does to pass legislation, and why the Federal level was given so little power. Political power is a stain that sucks people in to a lifestyle that is inherently about retaining power and not giving it away. The government will always issue propaganda when it takes it upon itself to gain more power by identifying "problems". If the problem is not felt by the majority (Like Healthcare, to many people) it has to create it. No one felt there was a problem with marijuana in the '30s, so the government had to make it a problem to gain the power to control it. Then it will issue more propaganda to justify it's involvement. First marijuana was evil and would make you rape and murder. Then it was evil between Korea and Vietnam because it turns you into a tree loving pacifist.

The problem that I see is that the Federal government unfortunately is too far away from the people. People certainly do realize that the Federal level is overstepping it's bounds, but the issue is is that the people do not get involved until after "it" has been put into law. Was the "War on Drugs" necessary? Now we are stuck with the implications of it, and the implications of disbanding such organizations like the D.E.A and all the livelihoods that have been built upon it.

The Federal government was founded in the manner that it was so that way it had virtually no power. The only thing the Founder's hoped for after they were gone was that the people of this country would recognize beforehand what was a power grab. Its job is there in the Constitution but people unfortunately have been mislead as to what the Federal job is. Now today it seems most people think the Feds are supposed to provide and regulate. People seem to think it's President Obama's job to give them health insurance when the fact is his only job is to uphold the Constitution, command the military and be the foreign ambassador. Now that the Federal government has the power to mandate health insurance, how can we expect them to relieve themselves of it?

It's basically this: I am giving you a job to be a security guard for my home. That will be your job. I am not hiring you to be a security guard so you can also be my doctor, my child's safety inspector, my cook for lunch, my food inspector, my educator, my accountant, my dick sucker, or for you to give condoms to my teenage son.

It's a problem that has been persisting for damn well near a 100 years since the "ratification" of the Sixteenth Amendment. It was right of the Women's movement to protest the system for equality in voting rights, it was not right of women to protest the government to mandate businesses to give paid leave for being pregnant. Once people realize why the Federal government was given the job that it was then it might get better without revolution. Again, we need the people to read the law (The Constitution and Bill of Rights) and why it was founded the way it was (The Federalist Papers).

Once people realize these things, then we can start grilling future candidates about sticking to those ideals. Then when that candidate is elected, you must keep up with his voting records. If he does not stay true, then you know that not only will you have to grill the next candidates even harder, you must also get his word that he will vote to repeal, or he will not see a term like his predecessor.

Let me give a quick run down of some issues that the Feds are involved in but is not their job in any stretch of the imagination. The ones that they are not supposed to be involved in will be labeled as State.

-Commanding the U.S Army: Federal
-Healthcare/Social Security: State
-Gun Control: State
-Securing the Borders: Federal
-Issuing Currency: Federal
-Drug Control: State
-Food Inspection: State
-Abortion: State
-Business Regulations: State
-Interestate Commerce Regulations: Federal
-Education: State
-Minimum Wage: State
-Work Safety: State

Notice that all of the societal issues are State matters. It seems way too many people, while they know the Federal government is overstepping its bounds, they do not necessarily know what the boundaries are. Once the Federal government has it's dirty hands on something, it will never let go. We reserve the right to petition, but once that fails, the next tool is the Second Amendment. The only way to have the Fed give up power is to make them feel very overwhelmed by peaceful, but well armed protest.

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#16

Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:32 AM

QUOTE (Jesus'En'Hitler420 @ May 16 2010, 16:19)
QUOTE

I mean, if we want to look at the constitution as a contract, you yourself have pointed out that the government has not done its best to uphold its contractual duties. So what recourse do we have?


The Second Amendment, and what it actually is there for. Not the petty debates about crime/murder.

I think what people need to do is start learning about what government is founded upon in this country. Through reading The Federalist Papers, you see why power is divided in the way it is, why it takes as long as it does to pass legislation, and why the Federal level was given so little power. Political power is a stain that sucks people in to a lifestyle that is inherently about retaining power and not giving it away. The government will always issue propaganda when it takes it upon itself to gain more power by identifying "problems". If the problem is not felt by the majority (Like Healthcare, to many people) it has to create it. No one felt there was a problem with marijuana in the '30s, so the government had to make it a problem to gain the power to control it. Then it will issue more propaganda to justify it's involvement. First marijuana was evil and would make you rape and murder. Then it was evil between Korea and Vietnam because it turns you into a tree loving pacifist.

The problem that I see is that the Federal government unfortunately is too far away from the people. People certainly do realize that the Federal level is overstepping it's bounds, but the issue is is that the people do not get involved until after "it" has been put into law. Was the "War on Drugs" necessary? Now we are stuck with the implications of it, and the implications of disbanding such organizations like the D.E.A and all the livelihoods that have been built upon it.

The Federal government was founded in the manner that it was so that way it had virtually no power. The only thing the Founder's hoped for after they were gone was that the people of this country would recognize beforehand what was a power grab. Its job is there in the Constitution but people unfortunately have been mislead as to what the Federal job is. Now today it seems most people think the Feds are supposed to provide and regulate. People seem to think it's President Obama's job to give them health insurance when the fact is his only job is to uphold the Constitution, command the military and be the foreign ambassador. Now that the Federal government has the power to mandate health insurance, how can we expect them to relieve themselves of it?

It's basically this: I am giving you a job to be a security guard for my home. That will be your job. I am not hiring you to be a security guard so you can also be my doctor, my child's safety inspector, my cook for lunch, my food inspector, my educator, my accountant, my dick sucker, or for you to give condoms to my teenage son.

It's a problem that has been persisting for damn well near a 100 years since the "ratification" of the Sixteenth Amendment. It was right of the Women's movement to protest the system for equality in voting rights, it was not right of women to protest the government to mandate businesses to give paid leave for being pregnant. Once people realize why the Federal government was given the job that it was then it might get better without revolution. Again, we need the people to read the law (The Constitution and Bill of Rights) and why it was founded the way it was (The Federalist Papers).

Once people realize these things, then we can start grilling future candidates about sticking to those ideals. Then when that candidate is elected, you must keep up with his voting records. If he does not stay true, then you know that not only will you have to grill the next candidates even harder, you must also get his word that he will vote to repeal, or he will not see a term like his predecessor.

Let me give a quick run down of some issues that the Feds are involved in but is not their job in any stretch of the imagination. The ones that they are not supposed to be involved in will be labeled as State.

-Commanding the U.S Army: Federal
-Healthcare/Social Security: State
-Gun Control: State
-Securing the Borders: Federal
-Issuing Currency: Federal
-Drug Control: State
-Food Inspection: State
-Abortion: State
-Business Regulations: State
-Interestate Commerce Regulations: Federal
-Education: State
-Minimum Wage: State
-Work Safety: State

Notice that all of the societal issues are State matters. It seems way too many people, while they know the Federal government is overstepping its bounds, they do not necessarily know what the boundaries are. Once the Federal government has it's dirty hands on something, it will never let go. We reserve the right to petition, but once that fails, the next tool is the Second Amendment. The only way to have the Fed give up power is to make them feel very overwhelmed by peaceful, but well armed protest.

Well, I agree with you that if a great number of Americans did educate themselves to this standard we would be much better capable of reforming government. However the problem still persists in that--put on your tin foil hat--the government does not want its citizens to learn this. It would rather carry on spreading the propaganda that makes Americans believe that the president is the most important person in the country, or that the federal government should be involved in every little part of their life. Like you said they're not going to let go of it.

Maybe it's a pessimistic viewpoint but I just kind of feel like we've moved past the point where Americans can educate themselves about the way this country is really supposed to work, because when you think about it, the federal government controls their education, it feeds them propaganda and misinformation which they use to come to faulty conclusions about what the 2nd Amendment is for and then all they have left is the words of very few people who are well studied in it, but are not nearly as credible to anyone as the great Public Service Announcement, text book or whatever source they heard America was the greatest and totally infallible from.

I mean, if today you walked up to a random person on the street and asked them why they thought the 2nd Amendment was important, 9/10 would say something like, "So we can keep the King of England out of our house." How many realize that it's so we can keep our own government in check? Then when you actually do propose that idea, the reaction to it is immensely biased into shock and the person thinks you're crazy for even suggesting that we'd ever have need for it--then in the mean time, they go out and vote in droves to bring about tighter gun control because they've been convinced by the same propaganda that guns are dangerous and that it's better for everyone to just not have them. I mean, I don't want to get into a gun debate to digress this any further, but is it really any surprise that the people that want guns out of the hands of citizens the most are the ones so strenuously proposing and endorsing gun control measures? More so, is it even surprising that they're more effective than those trying to educate the citizens about why they shouldn't vote these gun laws into effect, and why they need to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

I do think that I am thinking with a grain of pessimism here, because when you propose that perhaps before violent revolution will come armed peace rallies, my immediate reaction is that, "We cannot even have unarmed peace rallies without police falsely arresting, tear gassing and pepper spraying a crowd once they get a little big and rowdy." If you throw guns into that mix, I think the first armed, peaceful protest would quickly disintegrate into the first battle. I mean as it stands, a group of citizens cannot even gather in large numbers and seem slightly aggressive without some police force being mobilized to deal with it, and I doubt an armed populace is going to sit back and allow themselves to be tear gassed. So in the mean time, American's rights to simply protest is already being burdened by all the regulations and "saftey" measures government feels it needs to put in place.

I don't mean to be critical, but to think that we won't have to fight for our right to protest is kind of losing sight of just how far down the spiral the U.S. government has twisted. You probably wouldn't be able to hold the type of protest you're thinking of without the government over-stepping its bounds and causing full scale rebellion or simply massacring the people at the protest and calling it justified.

I just think days of Martin Luther King being able to rally people into non violent protest while they're being sprayed with hoses and bit by dogs is gone. Personally I believe the right for Americans to be guaranteed a public protest died at Kent State, but the simple ability for citizenry to hold any kind of real protest now days is a farce. The second the protest gets too big, it is "riotous", the second it gets too passionate, it is "violent" and there is simply no way in that circumstance that any group of citizens could take up arms and protest because as soon as a large group of armed citizens gathered, the government wouldn't see it as a protest, they would see it as a revolt or a rebellion and then act so accordingly and before you know it, instead of a protest you've got a battle.

I mean, let's concede that in this day in age, if you had something like the million man march, and they had rifles, the government would not stand for it at all. They would mobilize militia's and have that thing shut down and justify it with whatever it would take. I mean, there's simply no way our government would stand for armed protest of that magnitude without trying to stop it, and then what is going to happen?

Past that, if we can't have an armed protest without full scale war and violence breaking out, then we're left with peaceful protest. However, the government can simply go ahead and shut those down any time they feel that it is not "peaceful" or that it is a threat to the public, and so where does that really leave any of us standing? In order to really go out and have your voice heard, you will have to illegal protest, with arms, and with enough people that the government would be too afraid to bring in the National Guard or someone because they will know it will result in massive loss of life.

The only real question I have about whether the U.S. government will violently eradicate this type of opposition is this: How much is too much? Waco was a huge loss of life, yet the backlash felt by the government from it was insignificant. Given that, of what size and proportions do you think you'd need to make such a protest to ensure the government won't simply annihilate any armed demonstrator that poses a threat?

The fact that I ask that question probably seems far fetched for those that believe the system still works but I just don't think it does, and personally I thin it's been broken for a while. I can't spend the time and effort it would take to cite all the proof of this that I'm sure is there, but I've mentioned many of them. Waco, Ruby Ridge, OKC Bombing, Los Angels riots ( pick one ), Kent State... I think if anyone can research just those events, and not come to the conclusion that the government is totally out of control, then I must be out of my mind. Really sometimes I believe the only reason we don't behave like China or some of the other country considered to have terrible humanitarian rights is beacuse the problem has not reached the same precipice as it has there.

Prisons are another thing that people aren't paying attention to though. While we're sitting here talking about government over-stepping their bounds, in many ways they're doing so with our endorsement.

Does anyone realize that America holds 25% of the world's prison population? Did you know that 44% of the American prison population was black? 10% of all African American males between the age of 25 and 29 are still incarcerated as I write this, and nearly 5% of all African American men are incarcerated; in fact, in every state, the rate at which black males are incarcerated is higher, and in 20 states even 5 times as high. 1% of America's adult population as well, and only 49% of the prison population is there for violent offenses, the rest of the majority of which are there for drug crimes.
http://www.hrw.org/b.../incarceration/

What is significant about this, you say? How does it relate to what we're talking about... Most felons can neither vote nor own a gun--though many states are trying to restore felony voting rights for non-violent offenders, it is still illegal for anyone convicted of a felony to own a firearm or ammunition.

So what does America have to do to ensure a certain group of Americans doesn't rise up? Charge them with a felony. With all the non-violent crimes one an incur a felony charge from now days, and looking at the disproportionate rate at which some ethnicities are incarcerated, what do you think this spells out for any such group that wishes to reform in any way? If you ask me, potheads would be better off ensuring that posession charges cannot fall under felony punishment, or else they might find themselves unable to vote at all. Unfortunately many states, this is not the case, and there are people losing their right to vote for something as simple as over 40 grams of marijuana ( the minimum you need for a felony conviction in Washington state ). In many other southern states there are now felons serving time for far less than that.

Though it's extremely controversial, many would say that the U.S. government has been actively denying and violating the rights of the African American public for many years by first zoning their communities in such a way where they have much more access to guns and alcohol, less access to low income housing, and some even say are responsible for the distribution and introduction of crack-cocaine--thought his last argument is far less substantiated. Given the fact that so many African American adults are now felons, and cannot vote or own a firearm, in what way does the government have to fear or even listen to them? They can't vote, they can't legally possess a gun, so what is left for a community faced with these issues?

So to put all this more simply... If government takes away our rights to reform faster than we can exercise them, then what hope do we have of accomplishing reform in a peaceful and democratic way?

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#17

Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:14 AM

I just want to know what a universal version of "Basic Knowledge" is.

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#18

Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:49 AM Edited by Rown, 17 May 2010 - 07:55 AM.

I guess we can all agree that the OPs topic wasn't as simple as they would have led us to believe. lol. That said, time to be complicated.

---

@ Unoriginal44
"Basic Knowledge" is universal on a scale that we haven't yet conceived. We can't yet universalize basic knowledge.

Then again... we aren't letting the universe vote. We're letting non-felon, naturalized or naturally born people with the title of "citizen" vote... so long as they comply with whatever regulations may be put in place by their states so long as IT doesn't make restrictive regulation based on gender, race, or age (if eighteen).

Even as complex as that may first appear it is still greatly simplifying the criteria for such a test.

So if you meet the above criteria... what more should be expected?

I suggest the following:

A.) The name of the candidate you intend to vote for.
B.) The party of that candidate.
C.) The name of a leading challenger to that candidate.
D.) The party of that challenger.
E.) The stance on issues of all of the above.


Well... the names and parties are pointed out pretty clearly on ballots I'm familiar with. This leaves the stances. To minimize confusion the answers to that question should be verbatim of what the person or entity says.

BUT this leaves us with a problem. What if you know what was said... but not what they meant. Comprehension would seem to be key following that train of thought. If you can't comprehend what a side said... then you can't truly comprehend what you're voting for or against.

Do I believe in a knowledge test? Yes. Though I don't know what good that will do you without the comprehension to apply it...


Of course I would hope that under my proposed revision to citizenship comprehensive skills would increase... it's by no means a given.
---

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#19

Posted 17 May 2010 - 08:13 AM

QUOTE (Unoriginal44 @ May 16 2010, 22:14)
I just want to know what a universal version of "Basic Knowledge" is.

Breathing, walking, and the ability to eat food and drink liquids.

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#20

Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:41 PM

QUOTE
I do think that I am thinking with a grain of pessimism here, because when you propose that perhaps before violent revolution will come armed peace rallies, my immediate reaction is that, "We cannot even have unarmed peace rallies without police falsely arresting, tear gassing and pepper spraying a crowd once they get a little big and rowdy." If you throw guns into that mix, I think the first armed, peaceful protest would quickly disintegrate into the first battle. I mean as it stands, a group of citizens cannot even gather in large numbers and seem slightly aggressive without some police force being mobilized to deal with it, and I doubt an armed populace is going to sit back and allow themselves to be tear gassed. So in the mean time, American's rights to simply protest is already being burdened by all the regulations and "saftey" measures government feels it needs to put in place.


Well, the point of the armed protest is to see where the line is being drawn. "Our" side can not fire the first shots, of course, and that is the point. We need to see just how far is the government willing to go to retain their power. We look at an event like Tiannamen Square or the couple of mass demonstrations in Burma with unarmed protests and they get quelled so easily because they tear in to them with a machine gun. Would the PLA have been so willing to fire upon millions of people in Tiannamen Square if those millions were armed with rifle and pistol? It is very disheartening thought that thousands, or tens of thousands would have died, but would China be the fascist money grubbing state it is today had that occured? Unfortunately that is the case we might face today, but we do have that right to protest armed, and it may be the only avenue left for anyone who believes in the cause of liberty for all matters, and not just the ones a select few deem "appropriate".

I think Jefferson was the one that said, paraphrasing here: that the point of protest is to disrupt the order of the day, and when government legislates that, then we know we live in a tyranny. Well, that's the case as you mention with your last sentence. All so very true.

QUOTE
The only real question I have about whether the U.S. government will violently eradicate this type of opposition is this: How much is too much? Waco was a huge loss of life, yet the backlash felt by the government from it was insignificant. Given that, of what size and proportions do you think you'd need to make such a protest to ensure the government won't simply annihilate any armed demonstrator that poses a threat?


Someone in another thread said that Capitalism has made people not look after each other whilst defending Communism because it supposedly does that "job" well. I disagree, it's going to be a time like the one quoted above this paragraph that will bring people together. There's just nothing to fight for in America, and still to many people there is not except for self serving interests. Once those self serving interests are impeded upon by over taxation and over regulation, then perhaps we will get enough people to care for eachothers cause to band together and fight that fight.

But to answer the question, I would say a million. That may not sound that hard, but to get one million to march armed on D.C, that's damn well near unimagineable today. We have been discussing how people haven't used the tools and haven't understood the Federal job, and people still do not, so people will not become proactive until it maybe is too late to avoid bloodshed. It was different in the American colonies, there was no democratic process to use, only appeal to a monarch. Today, the majority has neglected to be well read and educated on the process. It took a 100 years to get to where we are now, and I feel if we used the process and took full, unrelenting advantage of it, it would damn well take another century to reverse the damage done. You and me will probalbly never see the "more perfect union" in our lifetimes.

As for the prison problem, a lot of it aswell aside from what you mentioned is a byproduct of that sad "War on Drugs". We know it isn't working, we know we are throwing money in to an endless pit, and we are still allowing the representatives to get away with it because of all of the propaganda issued about it. Most of those non violent offenders shouldn't be pardoned, but rehabilitative clinics should be integrated in to the prison system. The punishment first model doesn't work for these individuals unless they ran a cartel or killed over it. That's obvious, but users need not be in prison because there's nothing to punish. It's like a man who has lost his way. He needs some help. The old saying comes to mind "give a man a fish he eats for the night, teach a man to fish and he eats for life", or something like that.

The problem though is our criminal justice system is not tailored to this and needs massive overhauling that would cost more than we have. We'd need to retrain a workforce (Some of these numbers off the top of my head but the whole scope of the C.J system employs about 15 million people) of about 1 million prison guards to also be psychiatrists and the like, restructure the parole system, and integrate rehabilitative facilities in to existing prisons. Too much, too late.

I'd like to reiterate again because of the peoples apathy and lack of understanding of the Federal job, the Federal government way overstepped it's bounds in the case of taking away voting rights for nonviolent offenders. Why do I say this? I cite as my evidence the first part of the Fifth Amendment: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime..."[/I] I would like to know who gave anyone the idea that having a gram of coke is an "infamous crime"? How about having a joint in the early '70s? Now that's all it takes to have your voting rights stripped?

As you and me look deeper in to these issues, I would hope anyone reading begins to see how far this country has truly come since the days of the Convention.

As for the final question, we're about to find out for sure this midterm season. People are going to have to be very hard on potential candidates, and be very thoughtful about who they vote for. We know total amnesty and Cap and Trade are right around the corner. I already have a few picked for Connecticut, do you?

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#21

Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:40 AM

QUOTE (SagaciousKJB @ May 12 2010, 12:11)
Honestly though, why do we really have elections the way we do? I mean, if more people van vote for some TV show in a matter of minutes than people do nationally for the entire duration of the Presidential election, then I think someone is a little behind the times. I mean, Obama could probably come on during the State of the Union address and say, "Folks, if you want to legalize pot text "toke up" to 63819, if you want to keep it the way it is text "clean up"," and we'd have better representation for drug laws in this country than we've ever had before. Then maybe if we did that more often than once every year, the problems that arise from one particular choice would not be so bad. Say we legalized weed, but then kids and bus drivers were getting stoned and sh*t, so we go, "Okay, we have to criminalize it again," but then we arrest a bunch of f*ckin' people and wind up finding out it might actually help some and go, "Okay, well, maybe we should keep it semi-legal," and so on until we found something to settle on. Now imagine doing that about every two weeks: We would have made more progress in a month and a half than in forty years of drug laws. I mean, it's no wonder one group always feels like someone voted the wrong way, we go ages before ever readdressing a situation once we've made a choice. This in an age where millions of people can vote on something with their cell phones in the matter of seconds. I mean, our f*cking voting systems seem like it's stuck in a time where long distance phone calls were something to admire. Anyone ever watch the movie "Network"? Imagine if today every person with a cell phone or a computer could instantaneously say to the White house, "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore!" Who knows if it would actually work, the point is I'm pretty sure we're at a point in the nation where can stand to vote and reevaluate things with a bit more speed and a lot more representation.

Sorry, that last paragraph was a bit... Out there. Think about it though.

Because people would abuse it, like they do with text voting. You know how many vote texts a show gets? Then do you know how many are doubled? I don't have statistic because if you do statistics on this thing you need some f*cking perspective but I bet there are some people out there who vote twice or more. You think if it came down to it, the upper class would happily spend $2 million on texting again and again and again just to get an outcome they want. This traditional form of voting is the only way we can continue to regulate voters.

I mean, have you seen the amount of identity theft out there? People doing scrupulous things on the internet? Information flows so easily on the internet that we shouldn't let it consume us, we have lost so much through networking that people probably spend more time talking on the internet and phones than face to face.

What I'm trying to say is that a text is a text, it is what, 10 cents? That decides the outcome for millions of people? No identity needed to do it, just a $10 phone. Do you know how easy it is to do that?

Back on topic to this, basic knowledge test.

No.

Why?

Because that goes against human rights, and while I don't agree with a lot of bullsh*t that comes out of the humans rights act, some of it is there for a reason.




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