Thursday, April 25, 2013

A proposal for American citizenship

I have had an idea, which may or may not address a myriad of problems affecting these United States...

We should begin letting all natural-born Americans be citizens.  But only at age 18 can they become full citizens, with all the rights and privileges that comes with such citizenship.

However, for that to happen a person must be made to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that he or she is up to handling the responsibilities that comes with being a fully-functioning member of a democratically-elected republic.

Each individual would have to demonstrate basic knowledge of the Constitution, some simple geography (i.e. be able to find the United States in a world map) and basic English.  Perhaps along with some understanding of American history, economics and accounting.  Let the examinations be done in the randomly-applied style of the SAT, the GRE and similar tests.  It shouldn't be too hard but neither should it be ridiculously easy: people should be made to learn material which once was standard throughout America.

Once a person has shown such competence and understanding, only then can they become citizens with the right to vote.  With the right to run for office.  With the right to have access to resources like government college assistance, food stamps, Social Security etc.

"But Chris, what you're advocating will lead to taxation without representation!"  No it won't.  All eligible persons will be able to demonstrate that they can be represented.  This government already enforces income taxes on young people under the age of 18 but work part-time jobs... and they still can't vote yet.  I don't think it's unreasonable that if an individual desires to be represented, that there be obligated some measure of thoughtful competence in deciding the matter.

If we expect naturalized citizens to be sufficiently qualified before partaking of our government and its full complement of services, then we should expect everyone else to be qualified as well.

We've too many politicians who keep getting elected because of ignorant, irresponsible voters who only want a place at the public trough without contributing anything.

It is time to compel them to start contributing something. Even if it is only having responsible consideration about what it means to be a citizen in this society.


Anonymous said...

Here! Here! Superb idea and it would help trim down the numbers of people who continue to vote for their own welfare support, into perpetuity. Would not eliminate it, but surely produce a smarter, more discerning public.

Of course, it will never happen because that will discriminate against group x, y, or z.

Great thought though Chris.