Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dear America: Please be Politically Literate

This weekend I explored the dangerous abyss that is political forums. I was disgusted to find nothing but name calling and chinese spam (good study for my chinese class though, 太厚了!). I decided that maybe if I tried another political party that I might find some more intelligent discussion on politics, rather than discussion on how terrible the other side was. But to no avail.

Maybe politics is a taboo subject to talk about because we cannot speak about such things as learned people of reason... most people who talk about politics seem obsessed with demonizing their opponent instead of telling the general population what they stand for in the area of policies. If you don't agree with you about a movie and I have a good argument, you and I can still be friends... if the same two people don't agree on politics, you have to survive a huge barrage of name calling and stupidity before any cognizant conversation can be said.

This said, for the last two years I have taken a break from politics in general, in part because my little sister is planning her presidential campaign and I got tired of talking politics with her... and in part because the types of people who talk about politics in forums and social networks seem to not have any grasp on how our national government (or world economics) works at all.

Now I'm not advocating one side or the other (both presidential candidates are being rather childish in my humble opinion), but I would like to have the American public be a little more politically literate. Back in the early days of the USA there was something called a political literary test... a test that was forced on the colored voters after they got the right to vote. This doesn't mean that I advocate someone being forced not to vote because of the color of their skin... this means that EVERYONE should have some knowledge of the system they are voting on. This literacy test was a way to ensure that the people who were taking it knew enough about the government that they would be able to think about the candidates and make an educated decision. The Founding Fathers made this country a representative democracy in order to stop the mob mentality, or people voting because of factors rather than their policies and how they are going to serve the country.

We don't dare send people out in cars without a test, why not have the same requirement for people to be able to vote in elections. The questions don't need to be difficult, but knowing what are the responsibilities of the people we are electing into office would definitely help us recognize the claims that can he worked out from the claims to change things are in the arena of an entirely different branch of government.

Please please please be informed before you vote... try your hardest to see what the candidate is going to DO rather than focus on what they claim the other candidate is going to do this next election... if more people did that, less muck would be thrown about and debates might actually be more educational than ill disguised verbal sparring.

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