Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Just because it's your right, doesn't make it right

Last week’s column noted the oddity of people not voting when their vote could make all the difference in the world.

I hope you didn’t take that to mean I think everyone should vote. I don’t. 

You may have a Constitutional right to vote, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always the right thing to do. In fact, there are people who vote in every election who have no business doing so — right or not.

All across the country there are organizations (Republicans) who want to create so-called “Voter ID” laws under the assumption that people who shouldn’t be allowed to vote (illegal immigrants — and by immigrants, I mean Mexicans) are voting and swaying elections (in favor of Democrats). 

First of all, I’m not sure that this is a real problem. In other words, I don’t think it’s happening. At least not to the extent that these organizations would have you believe. Secondly, there are greater problems with voting, namely that complete idiots’ votes count exactly the same as mine.

And as long as you’re not one of those complete idiots, you should feel that it’s a problem, too.

The Founding Fathers argued for months about how much of a right you should be allowed to influence the government. While it’s popular to believe now that they all were in favor of us having complete control, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, until the ratification of the 17th Amendment — less than 100 years ago — we didn’t have a direct vote on the vast majority of our federal government. Judges are appointed by the president, the president is still technically elected by the Electoral College, and Senators were elected by the states themselves, not the voters. All we voted on was the House and some didn’t even think we should be allowed that right.

See, the Founding Fathers knew that for the most part, mankind is selfish and uninformed — both dangerous qualities, but a downright threat to national security when combined. 

But now we’ve got selfish uninformed people picking our elected officials. And then we get mad at them when they do what we want them to do — or when the don’t do what we want them to do.

Rather than a “Voter ID” law, I’d like to see a “Voter IQ” law. Not literally, mind you. I don’t want only “smart” people to be allowed to vote. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be allowed to vote and I’m selfish, too! 

I’d like to see a test when you enter the polling place with simple questions that anyone who’s voting should know the answers to. Things like: 

• What political party controls Congress?

• Who is the current vice president of the United States?

• What state was Mitt Romney formerly governor of?

I’d like the questions to be different each election year, but I’d like them to remain basic like that. And I’d like there to be five of them. Whatever percent you get right, your vote counts that much. This would help to weed out the people that vote because they feel they’re supposed to, but don’t do the required research — or the people who go and vote for the person they were “told” to vote for, but have no idea why they’re voting for that person.

Although voting is a right, we need to stop treating it as such and start treating it like the responsibility the Founding Fathers were afraid to give us because they knew we’d screw it up.