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Ankur

Pass a Test before you can vote?

Should one be required to pass an exam before being permitted to vote?  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Should one be required to pass an exam before being permitted to vote?

    • Yes, one must pass an exam before being registered to vote.
      9
    • Some sort of non-exam but intellectual control on registering to vote.
      4
    • No, one should NOT be required to pass an exam before being registered to vote.
      20
    • None of the above.
      3


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I am convinced that the most dangerous threat to Democracy is the uninformed voter. People who areduped into voting one way or another through political lies. I think the slaves who were promised 40 dollars and a mule if they voted for one guy are still waiting for their mules and money.

 

Facts

  • Kerry is a flipflopper: not a reason to vote against Kerry. If you think it is, you dont understand politics.
  • Bush's tax cuts are good: not a reason to vote for Bush. If you think it is, you dont understand economics.
  • Kerry is going to raise taxes on the middle class: not a reason to vote against Kerry. You clearly dont know the positions of the candidates.
  • Bush (or Kerry)is going to draft you: If you believe that you are entirely clueless.
  • 91% of Bush supporters believe that the world favors Bush, not Kerry when its really overwhelming international support for Kerry.
  • Majority of Bush supporters believe Bush is pro-international cooperation, pro-environment, anti-big business... etc etc.

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Bush's tax cuts are good: not a reason to vote for Bush. If you think it is, you dont understand economics.

Umm, you are aware that this is highly disputed, right? In fact, economics is currently still called the "dismal science" because it is effectively impossible to truly understand certain truths and effects of economics.

 

Kerry is going to raise taxes on the middle class: not a reason to vote against Kerry. You clearly dont know the positions of the candidates.

But then again, Kerry is promising to spend a little more money than he could have available, which is making all his promises just a little hard to completely swallow ...

 

Bush (or Kerry)is going to draft you: If you believe that you are entirely clueless.

Except for the fact that every expert in Iraq is saying "we need more troops, we need more troops." There's a big difference between what the candidates promise and what they'll be able to deliver.

 

91% of Bush supporters believe that the world favors Bush, not Kerry when its really overwhelming international support for Kerry.

emphasis mine

 

What's my point? That you have not presented any fair criteria for "knowledge" that you would have voters believe. You make these statements as dead-hard truths, when in fact there's a lot more to think about than you're allowing for - don't assume that voters don't think about the issues.

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I am convinced that the most dangerous threat to Democracy is the uninformed voter. People who areduped into voting one way or another through political lies. I think the slaves who were promised 40 dollars and a mule if they voted for one guy are still waiting for their mules and money.

 

Facts

  • Kerry is a flipflopper: not a reason to vote against Kerry. If you think it is, you dont understand politics.
  • Bush's tax cuts are good: not a reason to vote for Bush. If you think it is, you dont understand economics.
  • Kerry is going to raise taxes on the middle class: not a reason to vote against Kerry. You clearly dont know the positions of the candidates.
  • Bush (or Kerry)is going to draft you: If you believe that you are entirely clueless.
  • 91% of Bush supporters believe that the world favors Bush, not Kerry when its really overwhelming international support for Kerry.
  • Majority of Bush supporters believe Bush is pro-international cooperation, pro-environment, anti-big business... etc etc.

Haha Ankur, if all registered voters had to pass a test like the one you have in mind, there would be like 10 voters per state that are able to vote. A notion of thorough analysis of each competitor by each American voter is unrealistic because all Americans aren't as inspired by the actual issues at hand. They find something they like about one of the candidates, and then they go with their gut feeling. Besides, there are too many paradoxes in politics for one to look at the big picture clearly enough.

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Umm, you are aware that this is highly disputed, right? In fact, economics is currently still called the "dismal science" because it is effectively impossible to truly understand certain truths and effects of economics.

 

 

But then again, Kerry is promising to spend a little more money than he could have available, which is making all his promises just a little hard to completely swallow ...

 

 

Except for the fact that every expert in Iraq is saying "we need more troops, we need more troops." There's a big difference between what the candidates promise and what they'll be able to deliver.

 

 

emphasis mine

 

What's my point? That you have not presented any fair criteria for "knowledge" that you would have voters believe. You make these statements as dead-hard truths, when in fact there's a lot more to think about than you're allowing for - don't assume that voters don't think about the issues.

 

 

 

You *DO* of course realize I was being a little ironic and mostly sarcastic right?

 

But I *DO* believe that there should be a level of competency in something before you can vote. The sad thing is that most bush supporters are entirely clueless. They follow bush because he is "a good christian" or because "he is more like me the poor guy making minimum wage working at a Walmart in El Paso." Equally, Kerry supporters, although typically slightly more aware of the realities of the nation are equally polarized in thought. They follow Kerry believing that he will make their lives better when Kerry is interested in one thing: increasing the beauracracy of government which actually removes people from the workforce and makes the nation that much less productive.

 

There is something wrong with Americans when they continue to support candidates who have no interest in representing the beliefs which Americans hold. Politics is a game of lies in America. Not a game of ideals.

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the test is a good idea but then u get into problems

 

tons of people who are turned away will be up in arms, lawsuits all over the place, the race card played again and again

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i doubt it'll cause a civil war. but, i do find faults with this. the major one being that just because someone is politically illiterate doesn't mean that they don't deserve the rights of being american. but, other than that, i think it is generally a good idea.

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i didnt mean civil war when i said up in arms, i just meant that some people wont like being denied their consitutional right, however stupid voters are bad so we're stuck in the middle

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well look at it in this light then...

 

how well is america doing to be a representative democracy when the people dont know who is doing the representation and what their elected officials are representing?

 

Stupidity of the average American will be the downfall of this country.

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i agree with that. but, i also think that people who vote strictly based on party affiliation are bringing this country down. people who know the issues, but don't care if their candidate digresses their own personal values and/or beliefs. people who vote strictly based on if the person is a democrat or republican, who go down the line checking one side of the ballot, reguardless of who it is and what they stand for.

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Guest Hang'in With Special Agent Dale Cooper

i don't like this because it could very very easily be used as a pretext to disenfranchise whatever portion of the population a group in power wanted. it's just like the poll taxes and the methods blacks were denied the vote in the past in the south.

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i don't like this because it could very very easily be used as a pretext to disenfranchise whatever portion of the population a group in power wanted. it's just like the poll taxes and the methods blacks were denied the vote in the past in the south.

QFA

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well i dont like the fact that Bush (or Kerry) can go around to uneducated people and say "Bush is going to draft you" or "Kerry is going to raise your taxes!" and win those states based on such antics

 

This whole notion of ACCEPTING the current system is BAD.

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It's strange to me that those who are deemed "uninformed" are usually working class folk or members of a minority group. Like, correct me if I'm wrong or whatever, but it seems like the fella getting layed off or who is unable to vote because of their long work day, or the Latina whose attempts to become educated are blocked by "English Only" legistlation know alot more about politics than I do. Maybe instead of demanding a more educated electorate we should demand for more honest body of elected officials who will act responsibly and engage those on the margin in a more altruistic manner.

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It's strange to me that those who are deemed "uninformed" are usually working class folk or members of a minority group. Like, correct me if I'm wrong or whatever, but it seems like the fella getting layed off or who is unable to vote because of their long work day, or the Latina whose attempts to become educated are blocked by "English Only" legistlation know alot more about politics than I do. Maybe instead of demanding a more educated electorate we should demand for more honest body of elected officials who will act responsibly and engage those on the margin in a more altruistic manner.

 

I'm glad you brought this alternative up and I'm going to expand a bit. I tend to agree with Ankur when he says that acceptance of the system as-is is bad, but I don't think the solution is to screen the electorate but rather modify if not entirely rebuild the way in which the politicians do business.

 

I think that a representative democracy is one of the most respectable accomplishments of western civilization, tracing it's roots all the way back to the Greeks. To compromise or change the system because the people who participate in it are not knowledgeable would be a major step back in the progress that western civilization has made. The reason I see democracy as such a wonderful value stems from my ideological belief that liberty is the most important right that we have as humans. Democracy is an exercise of individual will upon the government and another exercise of liberty. I want to acknowledge that this seems a bit counter-intuitive that I would support a system in which politicians are allowed to suppress liberties (i.e gay marriage, taxation, censorship, etc) but I would counter that by saying that I support the idea of having elected officials but I disagree strongly with the amount of power these elected officials should have.

 

This would bring me to the reason I would oppose screening for elections. I believe in the 'all men are created equal' axiom in so far as all men and women are guaranteed basic fundamental rights. One of those rights is the right to liberty. As noted above, democracy is a function of liberty and so to limit democracy is to limit liberty. However, democracy unchecked is a bigger threat to liberty than anything in this country (again: gay marriage, taxation, etc). There is an important balance that must be maintained between the power of the government and the liberty of the individual and that's where I think the constitution comes into play. But enough with the digressions, my main argument against limiting democracy would be that it is a limit of liberty.

 

As for the dilemma we are still left with of an ignorant populace which threatens to be the downfall of this great country. The solution I think would be a combination of both what Ankur and what Hef suggested. I tend to lean more with Ankur in that you will never be able to rid the political elite of dishonesty so the one true way to combat that dishonesty is through knowledge. Knowledge, as Ankur so often notes, is what made this country the superpower it is. Change is not going to happen by creating voting restriction however, nor is it going to happen through slightly higher test standards. In order for this country to maintain its power there MUST be a cultural shift of values. We must create a society that cultivates scientific knowledge. Science is traditionally the route countries take in order to acquire power. Sure a cultured population with knowledge of the arts and literature would be wonderful but it is not going to maintain the United States as a superpower. In turn I think that harboring such scientific knowledge will translate into a more intelligent population across the board. Like Hef noted, politicians must held accountable for dishonesty, rampant partisanship needs to cease and politicians need to build bridges to 'those on the fringes of society'. But none of this will ever happen unless politicians have something at stake. The only way in which politicians will ever truly change is if there is an electorate that will hold them accountable to dishonesty and know when they are being lied to and manipulated. And this will only happen when that electorate becomes more intelligent.

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Elected representatives in America do anything but represent their constituents. I cannot recall the last time a senator, congressperson (federal or state) or local government officials ever held a meeting, or a bbq or any form of open discussion with the people. Sure, the reps tend to send periodic flyers informing the people of the good work being done, but what happened to listening to the voice of the people?

 

At what point do we look at the morals of the candidates and say "well, I will just vote for this candidate because they will always make the right moral decision." Is that not the most absurd cop out from actually participating in a democracy? Democracy is more than the simple act of voting every two or four years. Democracy means that the people must engage their representatives, beseige them with their concerns and criticisms. In the absence of action from the people, how can the people expect change? Have you offered your representative a trationale, a motive or an idea to represent in the legislature?

 

People in America are entirely apathetic about their level of activity in this country, and yet find it convenient to get flustered and red faced come Presidential elections. If the people dont inform the candidates or officials of what they need to make their lives a little better a little easier, then you are essentially expecting the official to make all the decisions on your behalf without any logical input. You have corrupted the process which we call "the voice of the people" and silenced it on your own.

 

The 2008 election started yesterday. If the people show genuine concern for their well being as well as that of their neighbors, then the representatives will be required to accommodate those concerns. No representative can ignore the people and be reelected. But representatives who arent in touch with the people can cover up the lack of communication through their "great work." Start hounding your representatives. Start telling them they need to fix the stupid budget, they need to stop cutting money from education, they need to start requiring bid contracts, that they need to govern this nation instead of throwing up their arms and pork barrelling their way into a successful bid to reject challenges to their throne.

 

Its a two way street. You need officials who communicate with you regarding upcoming legislation, seeking constuctive input from the people. And you need to communicate your wishes yourself. One can force the other to exist. But if you have neither, you get the mess we currently have.

 

Justin is 100% correct in his analysis of the issue and of my previous comments. Intellectual activism, pursuit of knowledge are the tools of the people. In the absence of these weapons, how can you fight the war of apathy and ignorance?

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I thought america invented democracy.

 

 

 

Anyway, though I believe that voters should be informed, know about relevent issues and to smart to eat up partisan hackery, tests are not the way to go about it. I believe that things are the way they are partly because politicians benefit from an uninformed public. It is easier for them when people are influenced by catchphrases (Flip-Flop) and soundbytes.

 

 

BTW: I passed the test

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Well, hopefully most debaters should pass that test. shouldnt be too difficult.

 

Neural link. and thats my point. voters are being swayed by the catchiest sound byte. The disinformation junkies like swift boat, move on etc, they are doing a disservice to America.

 

America needs to be informed. How do you propose going about it?

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Guest Hang'in With Special Agent Dale Cooper

the electoral college was originally intended to solve most of the problems you propose.

 

i find much fault with the media for refusing to critically report on campaign claims on both sides. they abdicated a critical responsibility in the election.

 

besides, this is nothing new. campaigns have been carried out much the same for over a hundred years.

 

i get nervous when someone starts talking about who can or can't vote.

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Hey... i am just doing what conservatives do :)

 

I love irony at work...

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Well since I think we all seem to be in general agreement that a knowledgeable citizenry and a culture with a stronger emphasis on education is the solution the debate than becomes, how do we achieve these goals?

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