Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Voter Registration Test

I'm glad I went to eat Mexican food tonight. Otherwise, I might've gone to vote next Tuesday without some vital items of information. Here are a few things I learned from the diners speaking loudly at the table next to us:

-Barack Obama's campaign is predicated on a lie. While Obama started his campaign calling himself black, new information found on the Internet (that always-infallible source) reveals that he's actually half white, 4 percent black and 46 percent "Arabic." And according to Chelsea Lately, a late-night satirical talk show host, Barack really wasn't raised by his mother, stepfather and then white grandparents. His Kenyan dad was around all the time.

-John McCain is going to immediately overturn Roe v. Wade when he comes into office because he's "against a woman's right to choose."

-We're all going to get drafted into the army to fight unjust wars.

-Why are we giving millions of dollars in aid to countries that don't have food? Why don't we give that rice to the people living under the bridge? And what about me? I only got $11 in my pocket and I gotta spend $5 of it on food tonight.

This conversation embodies all that's wrong with our democracy, where people are flush with information but have no desire to actually find out the truth. In this environment, people can find "facts" to justify any point of view without considering their source. The mainstream media is bad enough, but at least it has to show some discernment. When people start seriously citing late-night shows and obscure conspiracy Web sites in political conversations, it's time to fear the fact that these same folks have just as much say in choosing our leaders as we do.

Take the above quotations. I'm not a big Barack Obama fan, but I think we can at least give him the courtesy of getting his ethnicity right. Yes, his middle name is Hussein and he did spend time in Indonesia. But there's no doubt that his dad was black, whether his dad was from North Africa or West Africa. And how do you become 46 percent of an ethnicity anyway?

As far as his dad goes, I'm pretty sure Barack only saw him once after returning to the U.S. from Indonesia.

The abortion quote illustrates how a tidbit of truth can sometimes be twisted. Yes, McCain says he is staunchly pro-life, but he doesn't have the power himself to single-handedly overturn Roe v. Wade. The president does not interpret the law. Hopefully our friends at the adjacent table were referring the fact that the president will probably appoint tons of judges to lower federal courts and possibly the Supreme Court over his first term. While Obama has said his appointees would have to feel empathy for the little man, McCain says he's going to appoint folks based on credentials, not ideology. See this article for more...

President Bush recently announced troop reductions in Iraq. Certainly this is a better time to start drafting people than when we made the troop surge last year.

Oh, and the last quote. Why do we give aid to other countries? I guess we should hand over millions to people who have not taken advantage of the opportunity our country - the most prosperous on earth - has given them. Maybe we should hoard our affluence, keeping it within our borders and leaving millions of innocent victims of natural disasters to fend for themselves. See cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in China.

I encountered these folks a week after listening to this Howard Stern segment where Obama backers voice their support for policies that are actually John McCain's and even agree that Sarah Palin will make a good pick as Obama's VP.

All this combined makes me wonder whether or not we should have a voter registration test, a quick quiz on the basics of the candidates' positions before being allowed to cast a ballot. I mean, that's the assumption behind having a voting age, right? That once we're 18, we have the ability to discern.

That skill was not evident around the dinner table tonight.

No comments: