Musings June 2016
By Ron Marr
For more than two hundred years, American politicians have fondly embraced the cliché that people get the government they deserve. It’s a convenient line, most often uttered when our leaders and legislators screw up so horribly that the country goes to hell in a handbasket. Nobody passes the buck better than a politician, and in effect our incompetent, feckless, and corrupt lawmakers are saying, “Don’t blame me; blame those stupid citizens who voted me into office.”
Sadly, there’s a hint of truth to this. Few would deny that a substantial chunk of our population consists of folks who sell their cars for gas money and think Hamburger Helper comes with another person. Such being the case, it stands to reason that a good percentage of those we entrust to determine the best and brightest are imbued by their creator with the mental horsepower of bait.
Thus, in the name of competent and rational government, voters should be required to pass a basic competency test. I propose we place three questions at the top of every federal ballot. Answer incorrectly and your choices are rendered null and void. This would go far toward winnowing out the unwashed masses who think Iran is a two-word sentence or believe that White Castle is where the president lives. For example, we might ask . . .
Q: Which of the following people never served on the Supreme Court?
A. John Roberts
B. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
C. Diana Ross
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting we disenfranchise legal residents by posing queries regarding obscure Constitutional minutiae. Questions could not in any way be construed as biased due to race, creed, color, or religion. On the contrary, I’m suggesting topics just slightly harder than “what’s your favorite color?”
Q: The US Constitution does not guarantee
A. Freedom of speech
B. Freedom to keep and arm bears
C. Freedom of religion
Of course, we’ll need to come up with about a thousand such bits of obvious trivia and randomly place them on ballots. You know how those Democrat and Republican National Committees are. If every ballot featured the same questions, those cheatin’ clowns would send the correct answers to members before the ink was dry. You just can’t trust political parties; they’re the ones who got us in our present mess.
Q: The three branches of government are called “the judicial,” “the legislative,” and the
In the interest of not hurting anyone’s feelings or self-esteem, voters wouldn’t be informed if their questions were right or wrong. They would simply check their boxes, receive their “I Voted” stickers, and go on their merry way. There’s no need to explode the walls of an overly sensitive person’s safe space by rubbing their face in the fact that they’re about as sharp as a pound of wet leather.
Q: Our country is made up of how many individual states?
Of course, because the average person is biologically connected to their smart phone, we need to ensure against the possibility of anyone surreptitiously Googling the correct answers. Though it causes intense agony to be disconnected from the world for five minutes, Wi-Fi connections would be turned off at all polling places. I know that’s a huge sacrifice, but it reflects the ideals made famous by one our most revered former presidents.
Q: In his 1961 inauguration speech, President John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask . . .
A. How much is that doggie in the window?
B. When do we eat?
C. What you can do for your country.
In our society, every vote counts, and that’s downright terrifying.
For more information, Ron Marr can be reached directly at ronmarr.com