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Why Our Republic is Broken

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I was discussing politics with a group of people the other day when a middle-aged woman told the group, “All of this talk about the war is meaningless. The tax talk doesn’t matter. If our country does not have a strong moral base, God will not have us under his protective covering. If we spit in God’s face with the removal of prayer from schools, the legalization of abortion, and destroying the sanctity of marriage, why would God favor our nation? If we do not have God’s favor, we are nothing as a nation. I’ll never vote for a man that isn’t disgusted that thousands of babies are being killed in this country every month.”

In a CNN exit poll taken for the 2004 presidential election, they gave six options for which issue was most important to the voter. These issues were: health care, Iraq, the economy, morality, education, taxes, and terrorism. Morality was the number one issue that influenced the election with 22% of the voters. If you look over the history of elections, a twenty-two point swing usually affects the outcome of an election. Obviously it would not affect every outcome, but if you look in this particular instance, 80% of the moral issues voters cast their ballot for Bush. If you take out those voters, it’s a landslide victory for Kerry. For perspective, the area that was second most important to voters was the economy with 20% of the voters; 80% of that portion voted for Kerry. This is how many elections are decided all throughout the government, not just the presidential election.

These are the people that don’t have to pay close attention to the election. They don’t need to study the nuances of the stances of different candidates. The only issues that they care about are extremely easy to find out. A large portion of this moral issue faction are the extreme voters who will never cast their ballot for someone who is either for or against abortion, gay marriage, cloning, stem cell research, animal rights, homosexuals in the military, gun control, death penalty, etc.

I’m not going to disparage the moral values of others. It is a good thing that people care about social issues. People can believe what they want and if there are ever enough of them that vote in such a way that my life is greatly impacted in what I feel to be a negative way, I’ll find somewhere else to live. That is supposed to be the point of a republic.

My problem is that somehow political parties have melded a certain set of moral values with fiscal and war values. Why is it that a majority of fiscally liberal politicians are for more gun control? Why is it that almost all fiscally conservative politicians are against the legalization of abortion? I cannot find a logical link as to why these moral and fiscal values would be linked.

This union of social and fiscal issues has created a weird result where people that either don’t care or don’t know enough to have an opinion about financial issues are unwittingly changing the outcome of elections that will greatly affect the nation financially. This voter often does not feel the need to educate himself because they are voting about the issues that they care about. This has to be remedied.

My suggestion is twofold. First, government needs to be split up into the social and fiscal sectors. Isolating social issues from financial issues will stop the incidental effects of people voting on moral issues when they do not have a preference on fiscal issues. It will also allow for people that are more specialized as financial analysts to run for office. There are some officials whose background is mainly social issues who do not have the technical knowledge to know how certain bills will affect the economy. Those people can still run, but they’d be in a branch that better suited their area of expertise.

The fiscal branch would set the budget for schools and the social branch would decide whether they could pray in school. If the social branch of the government voted through legislation that legalized stem cell research, the bill would then be passed on to the fiscal branch who would decide what kind of financial assistance should be given to researchers. If the social branch voted it down, the financial branch would not vote on issues that dealt with stem cell research because any kind of research would be illegal. Some things, like taxes, would never be voted on by the social branch. Other things, like partial birth abortion would never come before the fiscal branch.

Morality can never be completely removed from fiscal decisions because morality often shapes financial ideals. There would doubtlessly be conflict from time to time on whether a fiscal bill has social implications. For these occurrences, there should be an equally split portion from each branch that come together and vote on whether the social branch gets first crack at the bill. For military decisions, there should also be a combination of the two groups. The only office to not be fractured would be the executive branch. The president would not be split into a dual office.

Elections between the two branches would be staggered so as to discourage people from voting just because they are there. I’m tired of everyone trying to make it easier for people to vote. It’s time to make it harder.

This leads us to my second suggestion which is a mandatory test that people have to pass to vote. It would not be an IQ test. It would not gauge the predictive power of the voter. It would be a simple test put together from an equal number of constituents from each party where the voter had to identify the relevant issues for whatever election he was planning on voting for. If it was a fiscal election, each candidate would have to clearly and simply outline their plans and philosophy. The voter would have to pass this test before being allowed to vote. Its design would only be to make sure that voters knew the basic philosophies of the candidates.

This would likely weed out a great deal of voters. This would not be a bad thing. There is a great deal of emotional support for everyone having a voice through their vote. The problem is a great deal of the population doesn’t have a voice. They are too busy working to familiarize themselves with the current issues. If they do not understand the issues, how is their vote beneficial to the United States?

The reason that only white, male, landowners were allowed to vote in America until the last two hundred years was because at that time, those were the only people that had the opportunity to have a good education. The founding fathers were trying to filter out the votes of people who did not understand the issues. As social progress allowed for women and black people to gain access to the education that they always deserved to have, the more logical it seemed to give them the right to vote. The miscarriage of justice was not that women and black people were not allowed to vote. The miscarriage of justice was that they were kept ignorant on the issues. It was not the intention of our forefathers to have a system where ignorant people decided elections. They were obviously wrong in holding those groups from progressing, but their reasoning for not letting them vote was good: ignorant people make bad decisions.

There is basically no way my plan could happen without some sort of catastrophic event happening. Americans are too apathetic for this kind of change to occur. The NAACP would go crazy over the racist implications of a mandatory voting test.  Nevertheless, this plan makes much more sense than the current setup we have now. It would give us the best republic possible.

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About Benjamin Siess

  • So, if I’m boiling this down right, you’re basically suggesting that we elect a president and a pope for the US?

    Why wouldn’t it be better to just ignore the moral issues voters since they’re going to vote the same no matter what we do, and do our voting based on the assumption that they will be a bloc applied to the more religiously conservative candidate and just vote on the other issues.

    But you also miss another point. The truth is that there are really TWO sets of morally righteous voters. There’s also a block on the left which also votes on humanistic moral issues and positions. The pro-choice people are just as absolute, fanatical and predictable as the pro-life people and they form a voting bloc which basically counterracts the similar one on the right.

    So maybe the problem you’re concerned about sort of takes care of itself.


  • pablo

    “The reason that only white, male, landowners were allowed to vote in America until the last two hundred years was because at that time, those were the only people that had the opportunity to have a good education.”

    This article is by far the biggest piece of trash that I have read on this site. Not only is the author advocating disenfranchising voters with a test, and does not understand what a right is, (the right of a person regardless of education, race, gender, beliefs, or any other criteria to have a say in her/his government via the vote), he is also attempting to re-write history as his paragraph above indicates.

    The reason that Indians, Blacks, Women were not allowed to vote was because the majority of our founding fathers considered them to be subhuman, and that is fucking fact Benjamin.

    I have a better idea, I suggest that YOU Benjamin be given a test by me to determine if you are eligible to vote.

    1. Can you explain what the word sovereignty means as it applies to an individual under our form of government?

    2. Where under our system of government do rights come from? As in the right to vote, the right to privacy, the right to be free.

    3. What does the due process clause of the 14th amendment mean to you? How is that federal amendment relate to state government?

    4. Do you think that people that believe that the world was made by a god with testicles in 7 days, and that those people who think that those that disagree with them will burn in everlasting fires of hell, should be allowed to vote?

    Your article disgusts me Benjamin, and I suspect that if you answered these questions honestly you should be barred from participating in your government.

  • Benjamin


    The executive branch would be left alone as I noted in the article, so no, no pope.

    I think the separation of fiscal and social issues would greatly reduce the number of people that vote on the conservative side, which would eliminate that block. People only vote for what they care about. Look at the number of people that directly benefit from fiscal conservatism (without even discussing indirect benefits). It’s mostly the rich folks. There aren’t a whole lot of them. Somehow a pretty large portion of the lower and lower middle class have been wrangled into voting Republican. How is that? I’m with Obama in that they’re “clinging to guns and Jesus.”

    My supposition is that they are voting based on social issues and without the tug of those social issues, they wouldn’t show up at the poll at all.

  • Benjamin


    People have the right to drive, but they have to pass a test to prove that they know what they’re doing. There are quite a few rights that one has to demonstrate knowledge to acquire. It’s free to everyone that gives a shit enough to put in the time. A country of ignorant voters will eventually falter.


  • Benjamin, driving isn’t a right. That’s as absurd as saying playing golf, shopping at Macy’s and eating turkey at Thanksgiving are rights. False analogy.

  • pablo


    Contrary to your sarcasm regarding your assertion that I do not know whence my rights come from, I do, I was merely being sarcastic to Nalle, because I find most of his ignorance so repugnant.

    I know you are used to her Majesty’s laws, however here in the good ole usa, the right to travel, including on the highways is not a privilege but a fundamental right.

    What most of you slaves do not realize is that your rights have been trampled upon, and instead of living in a free republic you live in a corporate police state, and have been fooled into thinking that a right is a privilege, it is not.

    Below are numerous court cases with citations about this fundamental right, to travel, and to travel on the highways. Does this mean that I can travel without a driver’s license, not in today’s police state you cant, but that is only because not only the common law (of which 95% of americans have no clue about, even though it is fundamental to our form of government AND mentioned in the Constitution) but the constitutional law has been usurped by tyrants.

    Robertson vs. Department of Public Works, 180 Wash 133, 147.
    16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sect.202, p.987
    “Personal liberty largely consists of the Right of locomotion — to go where and when one pleases — only so far restrained as the Rights of others may make it necessary for the welfare of all other citizens. The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horsedrawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another’s Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct.” [emphasis added] II Am.Jur. (1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135.

    “The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived.” [emphasis added] Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.

    “Heretofore the court has held, and we think correctly, that while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place of business for private gain.” Barney vs. Board of Railroad Commissioners, 17 P.2d 82; Willis vs. Buck, 263 P.l 982

    “the right of the Citizen to travel upon the highway and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business and uses it for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus. The former is the usual and ordinary right of the Citizen, a right common to all, while the latter is special, unusual, and extraordinary.” Ex Parte Dickey, (Dickey vs. Davis), 85 SE 781.

    So yes Dread I disagree fundamentally with your assertion, and have cited the relevant jurisprudence involved.

  • pablo

    Oh and Dread?
    You said:

    “That’s as absurd as saying playing golf, shopping at Macy’s and eating turkey at Thanksgiving are rights.”

    Those too are rights, unenumerated as per the 9th amendment to the US constitution, incidentally most State constitutions have a similar amendment guaranteeing unenumerated rights as well.

    I was born free, the fact that now the government has said I am no longer free does not change that, it just goes to show that we live in a police state, that was formally a constitutional republic. My rights do not come from government but from on high, which is where I take my refuge. The fact that government now says that I am not free only means that there are those that would deny me what was given to me by my creator, and they will be held to account either in this world or the next, thats not my problem.

  • moon

    The republic is broken because you elected folks that we call “vendepatrias” here in Latin America–who sold their souls for a plate of lentils and the illusion of power to what Eisenhower called the Military-industrial Complex (now better known as Big Oil and Big Guns).

    What you didn’t realize until now–and some of you, millions in fact, still don’t realize is that they sold YOUR soul and YOUR rights right along with their own.

  • pablo


    They sure as hell did, and the vast majority of americans dont have the vaguest clue that they were sold down the river decades ago, particularly Nalle and Company.

  • moon

    Which IS an example of cognitive dissonance–the term the CE incorrectly applied yesterday to one of SJ’s posts.

    They cannot believe that the folks they believed in as if they were the Holy of Holies would sell THEM, their loyal subjects and minions, down the river.

    So they DON’T believe it.

    There is no one so blind as he/she who chooses not to see.

  • pablo

    Oh and Benjamin?

    I assume that your a youngster, if not your article is even more atrocious than I said earlier. They do not teach basic civics and constitutional law in public schools anymore, if they did, you would have realized that your litmus test to vote was tried in the deep south decades ago by racists. What they did was demand that citizens particularly african americans ones have to show basic understanding of law etc in order to vote. It was done for ONE reason and ONE reason alone, that is do DENY people (blacks) the right to have a say in their government. We call these laws JIM CROW laws, I suggest you google it before you write another article that is so completely full of it Benjamin.

  • pablo


    I was wondering if you would care to relate how Nalle and company several years ago attempted to locate you via the internet. I am very curious as to the circumstances, and no I am not being paranoid as Nalle loves to assert, I just want to know to what levels Nalle and Company stoop in their quest to silence dissent.

  • pablo

    Dave re post 3

    “We hold these truths to be “self evident” [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] that all hu-mens are created equal, and that they are ENDOWED [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] by their creator with certain unalienable RIGHTS [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor], that among these rights (that means that these rights are not inclusive) are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”

    Yes I do know where my rights come from Nalle, where do yours come from, the republican party of Texass perhaps?

    All people are born free, the fact that governments tend to deny them their innate freedom, is the very proof of despotism, and tyrants that would have you believe otherwise, ie that rights are delegated from the ruling elite.

    I know your not a big fan of freedom Nalle, but I have been attempting in my own humble way to educate you, its not easy.

  • Cindy D

    As social progress allowed for women and black people to gain access to the education that they always deserved to have, the more logical it seemed to give them the right to vote. The miscarriage of justice was not that women and black people were not allowed to vote. The miscarriage of justice was that they were kept ignorant on the issues.

    Sorry, I hereby deny you your right to vote. You have failed to demonstrate any accurate knowledge on this subject and you are also just making things up out of the thin air of your imagination and trying to pass them off as history.

    Not only do I heartily support your not being able to vote, I support sterilization for people like you, so that you won’t be able to pass along any defects along to innocents.

  • moon

    This will have to be brief, pablo as I have to do the makeup for my niece who is going out doing the Mexican version of Trick or Treat in a few minutes.

    1. Because I disagreed with them, first someone–probably clavos–posted what they found under the name I was posting under–Marthe Raymond–including petitions I and other Latin American intellectuals had signed for the En Defensa de la Humanidad. And I believe they also made snide comments because I had a couple of poems, on request, on the Poets Against the War site.

    2. Next someone posted the coordinates of where I was posting from. Suposedly it was franco–which is why I knew he was a Nalle clone, as otherwise he would not have had access to that info. Nalle also tried singlehandedly banning me by disabling said IP at that time–another clue.

    3. I stopped posting for awhile as I was en route to Bahrain–and when I posted from Bahrain Nalle told everyone I was an Chinese government agent posting from Beijing! That set off a bunch of paranoid ramblings by Nalle, his clone Franco and Clavos–and maybe others about how they were going to have to be careful because I was an agent of China and Venezuela and Cuba and who remembers what other countries.

    4. Besides accusing me of the above, and of being an alcoholic who slept with a Mexican gardener, I really don’t remember. All I can tell you is that giving clavos the shot to the shorts I eventually gave him was small potatoes by comparison with the harrassment and invasion of privacy they directed my way because I disagreed with their Good Ole Boy Shitkicker politics.

  • Benjamin


    Wasn’t one of the biggest problems with the testing that there were exemptions? For instance, the only people that had to take the tests in some parts of the country were those not eligible to vote before black suffrage? And the poll taxes that only black people had to pay? It wasn’t the fact that people were required to know the law, the problem was that only black people being targeted.

    I’m not suggesting a test that only a law student could pass. I’m suggesting a test where people have to know a minimal amount about each candidate. Just enough to stop people from voting down party lines.


  • Cindy D


    Knowing a minimum about history would be a greater priority in my book. After all, what difference does it make if you know where a candidate stands if you have no historical context that would allow you to analyze the likely outcome of their stances?

    If what you believe is false, how will you be able to exercise any meaningful judgment?

  • Cindy D

    Or, why not just design a questionnaire that really cuts to the chase and upholds the real purpose of our Republic.

    Just ask: What is your net worth?

    Then: Deny suffrage to everyone below a certain amount.

    Allow me the liberty to hazard a guess about your political affiliation: I am going to go with, hrmm, it’s a tough one–Republican!

  • Benjamin


    I agree. It would be in everyone’s best interest to have a complex understanding of history, economics and political science before voting. But I’d settle for people knowing more than the political party and the stance on abortion/gun control of the guy they’re voting for.

    Maybe it’s a pipedream to think that any sort of testing could be enacted, but it’s even more unlikely that a history portion could be added to said test. I was attempting to make an unrealistic idea somewhat more feasible.


  • pablo


    You miss the fundamental premise of voting. Lets assume for the purposes of discussion you were born in the USA. You as a person born here have a fundamental RIGHT to have a say in who represents you in government which is what a representative democracy means, as opposed to a direct democracy, which in my opinion is little more than mob rule, and most of our founding fathers abhored that type of government and for good reason.

    If as your argument proposes that there is a litmus test for whatever reason voting is no longer a right but a privilege, and I can assure you that it not only would ruin what little is left of the republic, it would be used to deny opposing views for representation by those in power.

    I do understand your reason for advocating this, indeed in my view the vast majority of americans are extremely ignorant of what freedom means, and a constitutional republic, and of what liberty means.

    I watched McCain giving one of his campaign stumps today, and I was greatly amused, as he said lie after lie, about how he would change government, bring it back to the people etc, and the people were so dumb ass ignorant they cheered, at every lie that he told. That is indeed how ignorant many american are, particularly of the republican ilk. If these folks can vote in complete denial, and ignorance then anyone can, regardless of education, gender, race, or prejudice.

    I however choose not to vote, but it is my choice. The reason that I do so, is because I believe fundamentally that our vote does not count, because the ruling elite has usurped that basic right with black box voting machines that are not accountable to anyone but the people that made them. Until such time as my government, state and federal can show me in a clear and concise fashion that I can understand that my vote counts I will continue to not participate in a process that I know is a lie, as the elections of 2000 and 2004 so clearly show. As the government derives its power from the consent of the governed, it is incumbent upon them to make every vote count, which they do not.

    Have you seen the lines Benjamin in the early voting? It is 2008, and they still cannot make a system that does not allow a person to vote easily. Do you think its just an accident, they just cant seem to make a system where a person can cast their vote easily? I do not think it is an accident and indeed argue that it is done on purpose. We are little more than a banana republic at this point, ruled by men that you never see, whose interests have nothing to do with promoting and spreading freedom or liberty either at home or abroad.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Benjamin


    If you read the article, I can’t see how a seperation of social and financial sectors would benefit Republicans, at least as far as finances are concerned. The main point of the article is that people (mostly the lower classes) are voting Republican because of moral reasons despite the fact that the Democrats have what most would consider to more beneficial programs for poor folks.


  • moon

    I would like to see all the elitist crap cut out.

    Just because the founding fathers were privileged and believed only the economically privileged should be allowed to vote doesn’t mean that those late 18th century ideas should be running the show in the 21st century!

    The democratic posture is that everybody is SUPPOSED to have equal rights and equal access.

    That means that it is your perfect right to be an ignorant shitkicker against women’s rights to choice and against minorities and against gun control.

    Rules of the game. Not All animals are equal but some are more equal than others, a la Animal Farm.

    Anything else is Fascism [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor].

    What really hacks my butt is that some of the folks who think they are the Elite are actually the villains of Carl Hiaasen novels….aka crackers.

  • Benjamin


    I think the old guys were on to something. At the time, I’m sure the founding fathers couldn’t imagine an age of such apathy that those who could vote would cast their vote with such ignorance.

    I think everyone has a right to be an ignorant shitkicker as well. I don’t think they should have a right to vote in complete ignorance, though. What’s the point? Who is helped? There are people on both sides that would be excluded. We aren’t in an age were black people are mostly illiterate like in Jim Crowe days.

    All I call for is a basic knowledge of each person that you’re voting for, not who has the most signs in your neighborhood, or what political party they’re affiliated with. If you don’t know that then what are you voting on?

    If everyone was required to take the test it would be equal access.


  • Cindy D


    I did read the your entire article. I was guessing at your political affiliation for other reasons.

    Okay, let’s put your theory to the test. Can you name one fiscal issue that is entirely separate from social issues?

  • moon


    Like I said–anything else is Fascism.

    Who are YOU to decide who is more qualified to vote? By what test? All education is, after all, POLITICAL (somebody decides what YOU should learn).

    As an educator, I tell you that your idea is crap, pure and simple.

    Take it or leave it.

    Personally, I left the US because there are too many ignorant fascist racist assholes there.

    And most of them think they are The Elite.

    The republic is broken, yeah, but beyond that, almost everybody in it is fucked–and fucked up.

  • Benjamin


    You think the voting boxes are fixed?

    Or are you just against the electoral college?

    (I understand the difference between a democracy and a republic)

    I’m okay with voting be a privilege as long as everyone has the right to the test. There was obviously a big problem with how the testing was set up earlier in our history.

    I understand how it could be a touchy subject, racially speaking because of the Jim Crowe law. That’s why I mentioned the NAACP at the end of the article. But I’m not suggesting the test because I’m a racist. I think the ignorance is spread equally along racial lines. There would be a lot more white voters left out of the process than people of color if a test was inacted.

  • moon

    The PS to that, Benjamin, is that YOUR rights and MY rights are not–nor should they be–more important than anyone else’s.

    And that folks should vote from prison–especially since imprisonment is largely based on being poor and dark.

  • Cindy D

    “All education is, after all, POLITICAL (somebody decides what YOU should learn).”

    And that’s the truth!

  • Cindy D

    “YOUR rights and MY rights are not–nor should they be–more important than anyone else’s.”

    And that is the truth too!


    You didn’t respond when I took away your rights in my comment #14. I wasn’t only being a smart alec, I was making a point.

  • Doug Hunter

    Another disconnected issue… but very telling. The basic fact is that ignorant morons vote for the person most likely to give them a handout because they find it hard to succeed on their own. They vote for the democrat left, therefore leftist democrats are all for extending the vote.

    Conversely, those on the right are usually for limiting votes. If the demographics are reversed you’ll see a different story (eg. absentee military ballots being challenged by dems)

  • Benjamin


    You are correct that I probably should have picked better a better term than “social”. Obviously welfare is a social issue, but I wouldn’t want welfare to be a part of the social branch. I would have picked “moral”, but I don’t know that I consider gun control to be a moral issue and that I know for a fact is a leading vote changer for a lot of people in the south. The main thing is that I want to seperate the emotional moral issues that put blinders on people from every other issue that exists.

    Sure, abortion is an important issue, but it’s not something that is as relevant as a ton of other issues that are at our nation’s forefront at the moment. The whole purpose of splitting up the social and fiscal (for lack of better terms) is to give those with the moral obsession (who seem mostly Republican to me) an avenue to voice that without affecting every other issue by accident.

    This is a 1,300 word article. Obviously I’m not going to be able to trouble shoot most of the issues with my proposal of government. Obviously there are going to be problems with my idea. Still, I think it would have promise at bringing forth the best elements of society.


  • Cindy D

    The basic fact is that ignorant morons vote for the person most likely to give them a handout because they find it hard to succeed on their own.


    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You seem to have done okay. I mean, judging by the fact that you at least have a computer and internet connection. That’s a sort of successfulness.

  • moon


    1. It’s time for you to go back to the drawing board.

    2. Are you old enough to vote? (This is not a snide comment, but a legitimate question.)


    Nonsense. Folks on the right are into handouts just as much as those on the left. Not all rightwing losers have their handouts gracias a their Dad, but many do. And they are into the BIG handouts–like contracts to provide mercenaries in Iraq….

  • Cindy D


    Okay, you are looking at the social issues though. I’m looking for a single “fiscal” issue that has no social implications.

  • Benjamin


    I probably would have caught that you were making a point had you not suggested sterilizing me shortly thereafter. I just figured you were being an asshole. My bad, I guess?

    The difference is that in my scenario people would have prior access to concrete information constructed by a mixture of both parties about each candidate’s stance before being denied a vote if they decided against caring. You made an abstract conclusion based on your own opinion and then enforced it on a message board.

    I guess you’re right. No difference.

  • moon





  • Benjamin


    Where did you think I was under the impression it was going? Straight to congress to be ratified?


  • pablo


    Did I say anything about the Electoral College? Methinks not.

    Yes the voting machines are rigged to steal elections, thats exactly what I said. Google Stephen Spoonamore.

  • Cindy D

    My point was this:

    You are making a decision about what right a person can have to vote based on your own subjective measurement of what they should know.

    I took away your right to vote based on my own subjective measurement of what you should know.

    Next, I carried this one step further, to illustrate the danger in taking people’s rights away based on whether they fit our subjective measurements.

    You think the issue of voting is important enough to warrant removal of a right from someone you are judging as unsuitable.

    I used a different issue of unsuitability. It resulted in a more sever deprivation of your rights.

  • pablo

    This is very basic shit Benjamin, you really should know better imho.

  • Cindy D

    I do agree with you Benjamin that voters are uninformed.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Nonsense. Folks on the right are into handouts just as much as those on the left.”

    True, it’s just a different demographic. From my anecdotal experience almost everyone that lives off of government entitlement programs, scams a government program to eek out a living, or activily disrupts society with criminal activity speak and most likely vote in favor of democrats. These people are not good at things like showing up on time at a specific location or remembering what day the election is, they just know democrats are “for the poor people” and will make their quest at surviving without contributing that much easier.

    That’s not a particularly large segment of the population it’s just the target of the original article. Democrats should look towards something like compulsory voting after this election when they have sole control of the government. If they could squeeze that in or some watered down version that strongly encourages the act it would solidify the fundamental shift leftward the country has experienced.

  • Pablo @ #6 and 7:

    I was out, hence unable to respond as soon as I would have liked.

    I’m actually in agreement with you here. You hit the nail on the head with your citation from Robertson v. DPW, in which the right to travel is placed, correctly, under the umbrella of the general right to life, liberty and the pursuit of all that good stuff. It is not in itself, however, a fundamental right – any more than golf, shopping and whatever else it was I gave as an example are. Fundamentally speaking, there are other ways to travel besides driving.

    Voting, however, is reasonably considered to be a fundamental right. You’re either free to vote or you aren’t. You either have free access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or you don’t. There is not and should not be a test on these core rights.

    And as for Amendment 9, no doubt you’re correct that this was intended to encompass such things as the right to drive. The Founders knew full well that if they didn’t put that one in, certain bloody-minded individuals would fight tooth and nail to deny rights left, right and center on the grounds that because a given right wasn’t specifically enumerated, it wasn’t a right at all.

    That said, a right that wasn’t considered basic and obvious enough to be enumerated in the original Bill of Rights is not, by definition, fundamental.

    Driving a car without proper training can turn the vehicle into a lethal weapon, thereby potentially endangering others. Therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable to make the right to drive contingent on passing a test and holding a license. The Right to Life trumps the Right to Drive here.

    The act of voting, however, endangers no-one else’s rights, and so should NOT be subject to a qualifying test.

    (As an aside, if anyone wants to know why I don’t think the right enumerated in the Second Amendment qualifies as a fundamental right, let me know and I’ll explain my reasoning.)

  • Cindy D


    I probably would have caught that you were making a point had you not suggested sterilizing me shortly thereafter. I just figured you were being an asshole. My bad, I guess?

    Okay, I was being sort of an asshole. I mean you weren’t being rude. I just read that interpretation of women’s/black’s suffrage and it very much got to me. I urge you to please do some further reading on the subject. Read some female authors and black authors.

    I hope you will accept my apology for being an asshole.

  • pablo

    Too bad Nalle can never admit what you have the humility to do Cindy, this site would be a whole lot better if he did. I thank you for that.

  • Arch Conservative

    “The basic fact is that ignorant morons vote for the person most likely to give them a handout because they find it hard to succeed on their own. They vote for the democrat left, therefore leftist democrats are all for extending the vote.”

    There’s nothing like a heaping dose of truth on a Sunday morning. Thanks Doug

    This guy right here, even though he’s voting for McCain, has restored my faith in the possibility that not every last American out there is a braindead moron incapable of thinking for themself…

  • Condor

    Anyone ever take the citizenship test? I looked one over once. It was pretty comprehensive.

    Testing should be basic Constitution and civics related, not in depth as to individual candidates, or parties. There are some websites out there right now which give basic tests in the Constitution. Why not. We have to be licensed to drive, why not licensed to vote. We have to register to vote. Prove citizenship etc… While the roadways may be part of our rights. We still have to have the necessary paperwork in order to travel on it, and have to abide by safety rules and regulations. So, where’s the liberty in that? There is the perception of liberty, but you have to pay for the access, in taxes, fees, tests, fines, etc….

    One thing I would like to point out Benjamin, is that if people are not voting due to social issues, or 2nd amendment issues, that usually is at the party level, regardless of who is on the ticket. I know people who vote straight republican and make no bones about why. I also know people who vote democrat and make known that their party supports their viewpoints also. Candidates be damned, it’s party or nothing with those people.

    I’d like to ask, how many go down the ballot and vote for this person/party, then skip over to this person/party, then skip over to….

    I think I did once when I voted for Nader. But over the years I tend to vote where my interestests are. For instance if I was an auto-worker and union member, I would vote with that block.

    Voting blocs have existed for years and will continue. Unions have blocs, organizations have blocs, races and churches have blocs, gender has blocs. Anti-abortion? Vote anti-abortion.

    I also used to bemoan a candidate making it through the primary process based soley on their social stances. We (the american people) have left a lot of good, bright, articulate politicians in the dust because they attended church, or thought abortion was wrong, or weren’t necessarily pro-gay. Even with law to the contrary these politicians were not given the chance… because social stances have become more important than the ability or the intelligence to govern correctly. So what do we end up with? Take a look around you, around the House and Senate, around the white house (over the years)…. that’s what we get. Less, not more.

  • Benjamin


    Oh god, does this mean that I’m going to have to apologize for all of the times I’ve been an asshole? I have too much to do today.

    I shouldn’t have said “only people to have a chance to have a good education.” I should have said that, by and large, because of horrific oppression, those groups were robbed of having a chance at the kind of education necessary to make as informed vote as the white land owners. You’d still probably disagree, but oh well.


  • Benjamin


    I’m having problems finding where our disagreement is.


  • troll

    imo elections should be by secret ballot ie no names should be on the ballot only signifiers a – b – c – etc

    the voter then bases his decision on the energy emitted by the various letters

    this would lead to better government you betcha

  • moon

    I would like to shovel some erath over this pitiful thread, as it is Day of the Dead here in Mexico and the rest of my folks are at the panteon.

    Just a parting thought–or shot: All those rednecks at the bottom of the class barrel are voting for Obama?

    Pull the other one.

  • Fucking hell, people. It doesn’t matter a pair of dingoes’ kidneys who cares about whatever idiot’s views. If that’s true why the hell do we have a comments box?

    Personally, I don’t sodding care whether Moon, Arch and Jet care about each other’s views or not.

  • Doc,

    Perhaps. But what would Douglas Adams say?


  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Douglas Adams would say 42, of course.

  • Actually, Douglas Adams’s characters did find the ruler of the entire universe, and discovered that he was absolutely suitable for the role.

    He lived alone in a small shack on a remote planet, talked to his cat, and assumed everything was a figment of his own imagination until it could be proven otherwise.

  • moon

    Which is why he was the Ruler and everybody else was among the believing RULED who thought it actually was real and meant something.

  • Cindy D

    Dingoes kidneys, Dr.D? Are they good in a kidney pie?

    I just LOVE a steak and kidney pie!

  • Arch Conservative

    “bizarrely inaccurate but nonetheless personal attack deleted”


    C’mon you guys can’t tease me like that.

    There is no other word in the English language more apt to pique my interest than bizarre. Well maybe cunnilingus but bizarre is a very close second.

    What did you say Jet? Don’t let them stifle your creative insultery.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • pablo

    And here I thought Arch was a cunning linguist. I sure am. 🙂

  • Baronius

    Benjamin, it sounds like your plan was designed in order to produce the outcome you want. That’s always dangerous. I think you’ve got to address Cindy’s question. Which fiscal Congressional acts aren’t social? Is war funding unrelated to morals? School vouchers? Faith-based initiatives? Medicare Part B?

    The other problem I see, and this might be due to my ideology, is that many social decisions have fiscal consequences. You change the definition of family, it’s going to affect preschool and after-school programs. You approve of gambling in your state, it’s going to affect law enforcement. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

  • Cindy D


    I agree about most social decisions affecting fiscal issues. With the fiscal issues I couldn’t think of one. But, I was able to come up with one on the social side. Prayer in school. I couldn’t think of a fiscal effect.

    What do you think?

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I’m sure there are a few. I suspect that a return to scholastic discipline would yield a cascade of economic benefits and decrease the cost of education per child, but I don’t see that happening through school prayer.

    Imagine, though, if we could teach history as it occurred, with millions of people fighting over God and empire and money and freedom, all the things that drive human behaviour. If we taught children poems about love and death. If we showed science as a fight between great minds about the nature of the universe. If, in short, we showed kids what the world really is, instead of the sanitized version that gives no offense. Imagine if we confirmed what children intuitively know, that there are ideas worth fighting for.

  • Cindy D


    How eloquent! How very wonderfully and elegantly put!

    Your second paragraph is a model of what the experience of education could be.

  • Baronius

    Thanks. Every four years I get emotional about our education policy. I find it inexplicable that it’s never a prominent issue.

    The Democrats never use it. Teachers, along with government workers, account for half of US union membership, and the Dems don’t want to upset the applecart. (Never mind the fact that the individual union members, the teachers themselves, are screaming for reform.) The Republicans never mention it, because they figure it’s a Democratic issue. I’d like to believe that if a candidate talked about real education reform, he’d get 70% of the vote. But maybe I’m wrong; maybe people actually don’t care about the future.

  • Baronius,

    What Cindy said in Comment #63.


  • Clavos

    Ditto to #63.

    OMG! Houston, we have agreement between four (count ’em folks, four) individuals with usually disparate viewpoints on a BC Politics thread!

    Stop the presses! We need an extra edition!! Call Rupert!

    Takes deep breath, looks around sheepishly, hoping no one noticed fatuous outburst; shuffles off to Buffalo — or maybe Little Havana.

  • Cindy D