The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

What is the most fundamental right of citizenship in the United States?  If you answered, the right to collect a stipend from the Federal government you get the gong.  According to the USCIS (The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) the correct answer is the right to vote.

USCIS is the agency that is responsible for making sure that immigrants who apply for citizenship have an understanding of our government and are qualified to become new members of American society.  One of the requirements for citizenship is that these individuals be able to pass a test, taken from a field of one hundred questions.  They are asked ten which are randomly selected and must answer at least six correctly.

It seems reasonable that we want new citizens to be thoughtful and understand the way in which our country operates.  If voting is indeed the most fundamental right (and we’ve amended the Constitution four times to deal with this issue) then it certainly makes sense that we want an informed electorate to participate in that process.

I have posted the link to the list of potential questions below and if you review them you will certainly have no difficulty answering them.  In fact, any high school graduate should be able to answer them – because by the time they are graduating they typically have gained the eligibility to vote.

I am fully confident that everyone who regularly reads this blog would score close to 100% on this test.  Congratulations!  And if you watch the video below you will realize that you are smarter than the average American bear.  Be prepared to be shocked.

If you both reviewed the list of questions and watched this video you realize that all of the questions in the video were on the list which we might pose to those who want to become naturalized citizens.  And you are also aware that the native born Americans in the video had, with one exception, great difficulty answering them.

So this leads me to a thought.

If you hold the designation, “General Securities Representative” in the financial services industry, the SEC mandates that you have to pass a continuing education exam and be certified that you are current in your knowledge of the business.  Passing that exam is required every two years.

If you hold a driver’s license, you will periodically be required to take an eye examination, a written test and perhaps a road test to make sure that your skills still meet that state’s requirements to be designated a safe and knowledgeable driver and should be allowed to continue the privilege of operating a motor vehicle.

If we require a “literacy taste on American government” of those who aspire to American citizenship, is it unreasonable to expect that those of us who, through accident of birthplace, should not meet those same standards?   Passing this test should be simple since we should have absorbed most of this information through osmosis if not through our school studies.

The USCIS is correct in saying that the “most fundamental right of citizenship is the right to vote.”  But they omitted one very important phrase which I would add to the end of their statement.  That phrase is, “in an informed manner.”

I would like to credit the genesis of this post to Rick to whose blog I subscribe.  I would have re-blogged the post which served as inspiration but was unable to find a way to do that from his site.  He has put up some very insightful posts and I would urge you to visit him at

If the people who were interviewed in the video are typical of many who will cast their ballots on November 6, 2012, we should all, “Be afraid – be very afraid.”

Comments on: "BE AFRAID–BE VERY AFRAID" (11)

  1. This is BEAUTIFUL! What a GREAT idea!

    Too bad it’s DOA.

    We can’t even force people to prove who they are when they arrive at the polls to perform this most sacred of duties.

  2. Thank you for mentioning my blog, and thank you more for the hard work and love you obviously put into your own. I’ve enjoyed being a subscriber and look forward to many more visits and reading many more thoughtful, fun, uplifting and enjoyable articles from you. Best wishes, always.

    • I believe in giving credit where it is due – and I was sincere in my statement that your posts are insightful and thought-provoking. Thank you for taking your time to share your knowledge with the rest of us. I hope the recommendation brings more readers to your doorstep.

      And thank you for your kind comments about my blog. I will try to live up to your expectations.

  3. Holy. Crap! That video was UN-real. I was slack-jawed through the entire thing & by the end my chin was on the floor! Please let it be scripted. Please! I’m going to have nightmares tonight. This was a horror movie of a post!

    • Sorry about my delay in responding SB. I missed your comment. (I’m bad). When I saw the video I thought I would lose my mind. So I pulled out a one dollar bill just to verify that it was still George Washington and not George W. who was on it. (Phew). There may still be a little sanity left me.

  4. What a great idea! I’ve had to do continuing education all these years to maintain my CPA and other credentials, so I value those designations. Maybe forcing us to confront our national values on a periodic basis would help us understand how fortunate we are to be part of an enlightened free society. Then when we look at the chaotic situations in other places it will help us value our freedoms more, be contributors, and appreciate what we have.

    • Thanks, Ian and you’re right. But the idea will never fly because we have an expectation of being allowed to vote – but don’t believe we have the need to do so in an appropriate manner.

      In essence, we are little more than spoiled children.

      • At one point, David Gelernter, the subject of my post tomorrow morning says, “These things used to be important because they said “this is an ‘ought’ society where we take our duties as seriously as our rights — not an inch-deep, egomaniac society where our rights are sacred but our duties are all owed to ourselves.”

        I think that is a good summary. I agree with your post completely, except that I don’t consider voting the most sacred right, that is life but, voting is right up there, as well, as both right and duty..

  5. A voter’s periodic test that must be passed for admission to the polls? Magnificent! Do they have a Medal of Honor for poli-sci? That deserves one, plus the palm leaf cluster! We’ll work out the few obvious little problems; it’s a great idea!
    So is not allowing the vote to anyone under 30. So is requiring ownership of property before being allowed to vote. Those lacking property have no stake in the economy and are inclined to vote themselves other’s property to correct that, right?

    Universal suffrage sucks! It’s an illusion…let your dog vote; you’ll get a dog as Mayor. (Might be an improvement…)

    (Necessary disclaimer: This contains no sarcasm, excepting the dog)

    • Thank you for your compliment on the idea. I think it is reasonable to expect that a person who is going to cast their vote and determine the future of the country’s direction for the next two years should have a fundamental grasp of the issues – and certainly a grasp of our history.

      As to the dog issue – I believe that with her common sense approach to life, my dog could do a far better job than many whom we have elected.

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