Monday, December 18, 2006

New Test Requirements

An editorial in the AJC this morning got me to thinking about our responsibilities as citizens. We require immigrants applying for citizenship to take a test on their knowledge of "the fundamental concepts of American democracy". Why shouldn't we all have to re-qualify on a regular basis?

We should have to pass a citizenship test as part of our filing of income taxes every year.

The facts are really depressing. A recent survey showed that although 52 percent of Americans could name at least two characters on "The Simpsons" only 28 percent could tell you two of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. Sad. Another recent survey showed that 77 percent of Americans knew at least two of the Seven Dwarf's names but only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court Justices. In September the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that just two-thirds of Americans polled could identify all three branches of government and that only 55 percent were aware that the Supreme Court could rule laws passed by Congress unconstitutional. Finally, and the worst shame of all, is that fully 35 percent thought that the President had the Constitutional right to have the "final say" over Congress and the Judiciary.

Here is a question. Do you think it is right that these people have the right to vote?

That is why I am going to advocate for a citizenship validation test on all Federal Income tax returns. You have to pass it or your right to vote is revoked until you do. Nothing too tough. A few First Amendment questions. A few questions on Constitutional Law and maybe throw in a few Magna Carta questions as well as a few landmark law questions like the Civil Rights Act and such. Questions everyone who votes should be able to answer.

You know maybe if we had some sort of pre-qualification for voting in this country we might have a different leader right now. That is not a bad thing to contemplate as you ponder the testing.

I expect your support on this.

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