February 5, 2010

Please welcome your Tea-note speaker

In his speech Thursday to Tea Party convention attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."
Wonder who he had in mind.

How about a test for the differently-hued House minority leader.

Mr. Tom Tancredo should be positively thankful there's neither a civics nor literacy test for his own constituents, otherwise he would likely not have received any votes at all, ever.


Jeremy R. Shown said...

Point taken, and I certainly don't want to defend Tancredo, but do you think that he might have a point about the general level of ignorance among the electorate?

Among the entire electorate.

illusory tenant said...

If that was his point, I might agree. Except everyone has different reasons for voting and they may be ignorant of a lot of things but if their vote is only directed at preventing an expressway from getting constructed too close to their property, then nobody should undermine their ability to do that.

Or to support a "pro-life" candidate, even if that is the only thing they know about and care about.

More generally, voter turnout in the U.S. is already relatively low compared to other democratic nations -- look at the Wisconsin spring elections: 20-ish percent -- so rather than making it more difficult to vote, it should be easier.

In the meantime I think everybody should try and educate everybody else on different perspectives, debunk bogus premises and arguments, etc. if they want, and however they want.

For any enlightened democracy, voter tests are just plain creepy, regardless of how allegedly well-intentioned they might be.

Or so it seems to me.

Ordinary Jill said...

If Tancredo is so concerned about civics knowledge, why doesn't he push for civics curriculum standards for public schools receiving federal funds? Instead, his party (under President Bush) pushed for reading and math testing, pretty much guaranteeing that social studies (including civics) would get short shrift. It's like they want to maintain an underclass of worker drones who have no opportunity to participate in governance. Although, that would reduce the need to import said worker drones from Mexico, so I suppose it is consistent with Tancredo's anti-immigration philosophy.

illusory tenant said...

Eh, let's just abolish public education altogether -- it's not in the Constitution! -- and leave it to Citizens United and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to present all the facts and the solid reasoning to the voters.

John Foust said...

Well, it is in Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution.