My fellow liberals are understandably upset about various Republican state legislatures passing laws that will restrict voting access to typically disenfranchised people. These laws disproportionately limit votes that would probably be for Democrats. The premise behind the stricter laws is to stamp out that dreaded boogeyman VOTER FRAUD. Of course, we wouldn’t want to remind these legislators that the occurrence of voter fraud is miniscule.
If my Republican friends really want to worry about voter fraud, I’d like to turn their attention to a fraud that goes unnoticed every election. Very simply it is the phenomenon of very stupid people entering the voting booth.
My story actually begins with my own stupidity. The other day I was looking at a map of the proposed Keystone pipeline extension which had a solid line and a dotted line on it. I was having trouble understanding the difference. Like an idiot, I had neglected to notice the legend at the bottom of the map. My almost-eight year old 2nd grader explained the map to me when my wife prompted her to. I then updated my Facebook status to say “The verdict is in. I am not smarter than a 2nd grader.”
Things got worse however later in the day. The Lawson family gathered around the warm glow of the television to watch the game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?. For the uninitiated, contestants on this show try to win money by answering questions in topics taught in the first through fifth grades. Each contestant gets the help of one actual fifth grader from a panel that appears in each episode. With that backdrop, the following transpired. Mind you, I am NOT making this up.
The question: Which President of the United States served immediately before Franklin Delano Roosevelt? (Answer: Herbert Hoover)
The contestant thought aloud, “Well, IF Roosevelt served more than one term, then maybe the President who served before Roosevelt was Roosevelt himself?” The host, Jeff Foxworthy was kind enough to tell the woman that there are no trick questions on the show. I could see at this point, things were not going to end well. IF? One of the most well-known facts about Roosevelt was that he was elected four times, the only President with that distinction. Clearly this fact had escaped our poor contestant.
After pushing her brain to its limit she called on her fifth grade partner for assistance. Sadly the young girl was not the best exemplar of our educational system. Her answer was “Abraham Lincoln”. At this point, I went into shock. Lincoln was long dead before Roosevelt was even born. Their terms were not even in the same century. But forgiving man that I am, I gave the poor fifth grader a pass and blamed her teachers for her utter ignorance.
Our adult contestant now had the option to use the fifth grader’s answer or come up with her own. She wisely chose to reject “Abraham Lincoln”. The furrows in her forehead deepened. She descended into intense meditation. And then it came to her. She had arrived at her answer. Her answer was …
Gasping for air, I asked my wife to call the paramedics. Just when I thought the lady recognized the utter impossibility of Lincoln, she picked a President even earlier than Lincoln. In fact, she picked the fourth President of the United States. Could the fourth POTUS possibly have served in the 1930’s? So three possibilities come to mind. She either knew nothing about Madison, or nothing about Roosevelt, or nothing about either. She was a grown-ass woman! She was incapable of making a guess that contained even the slightest hint of deductive reasoning. Had she said Calvin Coolidge, I could have said ok … early 20th century President. Had she said Harry Truman, I could’ve said ok, she’s got a good time frame there and just got the men in the wrong order. But no, her answer was the answer of a blindingly stupid person.
And now the real tragedy … this woman can vote. It makes you wonder just how many of the folks who enter the voting booth cannot discern their anus from a hole in the ground. And if it is true that much of America is dumb-as-a-post stupid, what does that say about the leaders we choose? Is it any wonder we have a Congress that repeatedly makes a spectacle of itself in incompetence? And while I still support our President, is it any wonder that we demanded virtually no relevant experience from him before electing him to the Presidency? Is it any wonder that the current slate of Republican Presidential wanna-be’s appear to be answering a casting call for Saturday Night Live?
The real voter fraud going on in America is that folks who can’t tell the difference between a SALT treaty and a salt shaker are choosing the man or woman who gives the “go” on a nuclear strike. Sadly, while we can legally ask you to produce all sorts of identification to prove you are who you say you are at the ballot box, we can’t legally ensure you won’t put James Madison as a write in candidate on the ballot.