|You Passed the US Citizenship Test|
I couldn't resist... How well would you do?
If you couldn't pass the U.S. citizenship test, but you're a citizen by default, why do you think your opinions on politics should matter?
I've often wondered about informed participation among the American people. We encourage high-school students to register to vote, and the media always bemoans the lack of turnout by "qualified" American voters. If Americans choose not to vote because they don't know what's going on, is that really a bad thing?
The truth is, I'm not sure high turnout would be good for American elections. I'm not suggesting we go back to the property test -- only allowing property owners to vote, as we did in the early days of the American Republic -- but maybe we do need some kind of test.
Literacy wouldn't do it -- and not simply because illiterate Americans are sometimes well-informed. No, the real issue is civic and historical illiteracy. If we expect immigrants to pass an exam to become citizens, perhaps it would be appropriate to ask citizens to pass an exam to earn the right to participate in determining the shape of our collective future.
Question of the day -- should there be a basline of knowledge required before we allow people to participate in the American political process?