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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Informed Dissent

Twenty-three months and $1.5 billion dollars worth of campaigning has come to a head and is about to burst. But rather than urge you to take part in the popping of this political pimple by voting for one candidate or another, I’m going to do the opposite; I’m going to urge you to stay home.

Now, by “you” I don’t mean the college educated, reasonable folk who read my column and agree with me. The “you” I’m addressing here is another sort of beast.

I’m talking to the 33 percent of Americans who still believe that Saddam Hussein was “personally” involved in 9/11. To the 51 percent who think offshore drilling will lower gas prices as early as 2009. To the 40 percent who believe that there’s “a lot of disagreement” among scientists over whether global warming is real, the 29 percent who don’t think it’s even happening and the 30 percent who think it’s happening but that it’s not our fault.

I’m talking to the 64 percent of Americans who believe human beings aren’t evolved, but “created directly by God.” To the more than two thirds who don’t know what DNA is or what it does, the 57 percent who believe God performs life-saving miracles of healing and to the 18 percent who believe the sun revolves around the earth.

I’m talking to the 72 percent of Americans who can’t identify any two freedoms protected by the First Amendment. To the nearly one third who put the U.S. population between one and two billion, the 76 percent who can’t name two or more justices on the Supreme Court and the third that can’t identify the three branches of government.

The people I’m talking to shouldn’t even be voting in a costume contest, let alone for the presidency. Put bluntly, these people are simply too ignorant and incompetent to decide who runs the country, and that they’re allowed to do so is absolutely crazy.

As NOFX says, “Majority rule don’t work in mental institutions,” and it seems obvious to me that we’re all up in that cuckoo’s nest. It’s high time we reject the ill-conceived notion of codified mob rule, and admit that much in the same way that getting shot down over Vietnam doesn’t automatically qualify John McCain to be president, being born in America doesn’t automatically qualify you to vote for him.

Think about it; we require a certain level of expertise to do something as mundane as drive a car because we recognize the danger posed by an inept driver. Why then, are there no benchmarks to determine who is knowledgeable enough to elect the CEO of the most dangerous empire in world history?

With that in mind, I propose some standards. Tough ones. I’m not going to claim all the answers, but in the interest of fairness and exposing myself to more ridicule, here’s what qualifying for voting privileges might look like. I envision three criteria: two service related and one educational, satisfying any two of which would qualify a citizen to vote.

To start, national or security service, including serving in the military, National Guard, Coast Guard, firemen, policemen, etc. Then there’s public or international service, such as the Peace Corps, Red Cross, AmeriCorps, etc. Third would be educational attainment, including a professional degree or four year degree (this would cover nurses and teachers, for example). Finally, everyone would have to pass a national civics test, similar to the current nationalization test, only harder.

There’ll have to be some additional criteria, like minimum U.S. residency and English fluency, and obviously the government would have to make every accommodation for those falling under financial hardship as a result of these parameters. But the basics are there.

Our declaration of independence says that all men are created equal but it simply isn’t true. And even if it were, people certainly don’t end up that way. So let’s drop the charade and grant that maybe, just maybe, some people shouldn’t be punching ballots on Tuesday.

Of course, this whole conversation is irrelevant; voting doesn’t do shit except give Diebold some numbers to fuck with to justify the selection of the uber-rich.

So cheers, and may the best puppet win.


K.C. CODY thinks that if this were a dictatorship, it would be a heckuva lot easier. Just so long as he’s the dictator. Dictate to him at kccody@ucdavis.edu.


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