Do you think people should have to display an understanding of politics before b

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  1. EmerKelly profile image82
    EmerKellyposted 11 years ago

    Do you think people should have to display an understanding of politics before being allowed to vote

    I don't mean an in-depth understanding, just a basic one of how government works and what each party/candidate stands for.

  2. Freeway Flyer profile image83
    Freeway Flyerposted 11 years ago

    I am sympathetic to the idea in theory, but I don't see how it could be carried out in practice. How would the term "understanding" be defined? How would people be tested to determine if they were "qualified"? The only people who would benefit from this type of policy being implemented would be the lawyers handling the lawsuits.

    In my view, a significant percentage of the population should recuse themselves from political participation. A lot of the people that I have come across have no right to even having a political opinion. We should all do the world a favor, in fact, by butting out of discussions regarding topics that we know nothing about. I recognize my own ignorance about 99.999% of the topics in the universe, which is why I don't express any opinions about them. A recognition of ignorance is the first step toward wisdom.

  3. Rossogrosso profile image60
    Rossogrossoposted 11 years ago

    Display where? To whom? What constitutes "politics"? Well, since there are only two parties which have a chance of being elected and they both stand for the same thing: corporate welfare and endless war, what difference does it make? This actually would be a sort of   "Jim Crow" tactic, like literacy tests instituted in some states to keep non-whites from voting. When the U.S. Constitution was framed, you, Emerkelly, would not have been allowed to vote because of your gender. I would not be allowed to vote because I do not own property. Even if we were allowed to vote then, we would not even directly elect Senators or the President. Now, anyone over 18 and not in prison or on parole can vote, but it doesn't mean anything becaue the real power is not in the White House or Capitol Hill, it is in Wall Street and The Federal (private bank) Reserve.So, we can vote until we are blue in the face, but do you see any meaningful choices? Even when the candidates appeal to our sense of justice and our desire for peace and prosperity before they are elected, they just do the same as their predecessors once they are elected.

    1. Mr. Happy profile image70
      Mr. Happyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      "Even when the candidates appeal to our sense of justice and our desire for peace and prosperity before they are elected, they just do the same as their predecessors once they are elected." - We can try impaling a few and see if things change.

  4. profile image0
    msorenssonposted 11 years ago

    Ideally..yes..that would be wonderful..
    In reality this never happens..

    1. Mr. Happy profile image70
      Mr. Happyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Is reality not what we make it?

    2. profile image0
      msorenssonposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      There is a shared reality in this physical universe yes..the solidity of things ...then there is "A Separate Reality" according to Carlos Castaneda and others..,then there is "actuality.." They are distinct from each other even if overlapping...

  5. Bob Zermop profile image68
    Bob Zermopposted 11 years ago

    No, because who would be the judge? Everyone has the right to vote on the laws and legislation that will affect them, even if some don't seem to have an inkling of understanding.

  6. Neil Sperling profile image59
    Neil Sperlingposted 11 years ago

    I think the politicians should have to be the ones with understanding.... I don't see that as the way it really is. Today they are Rossogrosso said... puppets on the strings of those who really are in control.

    From the North Pole all the way to the South pole - we need a complete NEW system..... no revision to a broken system will work... a complete new system is necessary. We need to go back to zero with a positive approach to rebuilding the world of man.... I could go on ... but I have said it before!

    1. Petra Vlah profile image59
      Petra Vlahposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Very few people are voting the way it is. Should knowledge (of any kind) enter the equation, then even fewer people will vote. Would that change anything? Not at all! The voice of "we the people" never counted for much - ask corporate America!

  7. glmclendon profile image60
    glmclendonposted 11 years ago

    I think you may be getting in deep water. This country belongs to us all. Should there be a history test before a soldier can put his life on the line ,even though we will not let him vote? If he should lose his life should  the country not honor him  because he did not pass the test he was no better than a crook?

  8. WD Curry 111 profile image57
    WD Curry 111posted 11 years ago

    You must be very young. No one understands politics. That's why anyone can say anything and make a good living from it.

  9. Laurinzo Scott profile image65
    Laurinzo Scottposted 11 years ago

    I think that in a true democracy, it is essentail that regardless of knowledge everyone be given a chance to vote. But obviously some are going to be more adept at the process. We are taught the basics in school but refresher course would help. Would too be great if politicians would make themselves know before election time... we should demand it of them.

  10. Stigma31 profile image61
    Stigma31posted 11 years ago

    How is a person that does not understand politics any less capable of picking the proper leader/party than a person that does. people that understand politics usually have chose a party because it suits there needs. People that do not understand tend to vote until the party that is in does not appease them then they change. To me the latter seems more intelligent. There are no perfect parties or solutions, each one has there downfalls. The problem with most political systems is that the  party or parties not in power job is to prevent the controlling party from doing any good or bad. If the party tries to do something good they will probably stay in power which the other party does not want. They want to be in power. It doesn't matter whether you vote with your head or your heart, the truth is you should have the option to vote. That is your right!

    1. Laurinzo Scott profile image65
      Laurinzo Scottposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Bravo STIGMA I couldn't have said it better.

    2. Sheepsquatch profile image63
      Sheepsquatchposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      There are many people who vote on name recognition alone or randomly vote lines where they don't know the candidates. They don't vote based on upon what they believe the government should do, they are just randomly filling out parts they don't know.

    3. Stigma31 profile image61
      Stigma31posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Almost everyone that vote votes on name recognition. People that know absolutely nothing about politics very rarely vote, and the ones that do tend not to influence the vote either way. As you say they are random. There would be random votes for all

  11. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 11 years ago

    The answer is no, because there is no way of preparing a test regarding the understanding of politics that would be accepted by the majority.

    When I was interviewed for my last job, 24 years ago, someone in the room (there were about 25 people interviewing me) asked if I understood Louisiana Politics.

    I replied, "Yes, assuming that Louisiana Politics can be understood."

    The more I think about it "understanding politics" has to be one of the top 10 oxymorons of all time

    1. profile image0
      detroitmareposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      There are two questions asked here.  One is about understanding politics and the other is about understanding government.  I am hereby changing my answer to No, Yes.  Nobody understands politics completely...except maybe lying politicians.

    2. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It is easy to get government and politics confused. Government represent the rules that are to be used to run a system that is aimed at providing services. Politics exist to disrupt that process.

  12. billd01603 profile image78
    billd01603posted 11 years ago

    It would be good if everybody who votes would be educated. But this is America and everybody gets to vote.Many people are influenced to vote one way or another and they don't realize the ramifications. The good thing is people who are not politcally savy tend not to get out and vote

  13. dervishez profile image61
    dervishezposted 11 years ago

    It is important in my view to have an understanding of politics before one chooses to vote a certain party candidate. One should be aware of the manifesto and agenda that politician brings forward before going for election as it entirely stands for the voter's benefit. For instance, Barack Obama came up with the slogan of 'change'. The voter on his end should be able to identify all those areas that need change and how the candidate is going to implement his agenda to make way for change which he promised.

  14. shea duane profile image59
    shea duaneposted 11 years ago

    Unfortunately, people have a Constitutional right be be stupid. If we try to instill a desire to understand government, we are denying them their right to choose ignorance.
    Also, who would define 'basic understanding of how government works'? If I could be the definer, I'd be OK with it... but if, say Rod Blagojevich had the honor of defining basic understanding, I'd be very unhappy.
    Great question though!

  15. conradofontanilla profile image66
    conradofontanillaposted 11 years ago

    No. if understanding means ability to make definitions or to defend choices. In my country even one who neither read nor write can  vote. Politics is the making of choices among candidates, policies and programs. One can choose from among candidates. People may not mind how government works but how it affects them. People may vote along party lines, or blood relations, or friends of friends, or mass media recall (like actors or actresses). Very few, even among schooled people, base their votes on record performance or probable performance. In advanced countries a lot of manipulative devices are being employed to entice voters.
    That is desirable in a highly politicized group or society. Suppose political orientation by the state is a requirement for voters. It is like civil service where one who cannot pass a licensure exam is not allowed to hold a position. In politics, a person is responsible for his or her own political orientation. In state orientation pluralism should be ensured.

  16. Credence2 profile image78
    Credence2posted 11 years ago

    No absolutely not, who is it that will determine if a potential voter has the proper understanding? Reminds me of the literacy tests used in the south to weed out undesirable voters. An educated electorate is desirable but not at the cost of systematic disenfranchisement.

    Sounds a lot like tyranny peeking.....

  17. Matthew Weese profile image60
    Matthew Weeseposted 11 years ago

    75% of Americans do not vote any how because there too busy working to pay their bills. That is one reason why we Americans have hit the poverty level we have come to know and except. because the government has slowly enslaved every one through this capitalist mode of production that is crumbling around us more every day. The Bush administration, the Nixon administration, EXT....Has proven that it does not matter who votes any way. If you believe your vote truly matters then think about this....Why is there no working mans party? I know because the workers of the world are kept working, his/her voice does not mean shit.

  18. liftandsoar profile image60
    liftandsoarposted 11 years ago

    No, for many of the reasons already mentioned.  Having said that, I don't think it's necessary or even possible to understand all the issues, national and international to be able to have an opinion on a candidate.  I'm far more interested in the character of an individual than that he or she espouse all my particular opinions. That means that instead of listening to promises that most won't and can't keep we should look at the record of his past.

  19. duffsmom profile image62
    duffsmomposted 11 years ago

    I understand what you are saying, but voting in the US is a right and when the government starts putting provisions on our rights, it becomes a slippery slope open to the interpretation of whatever admin is in power at the time.  That could be a very scary and dangerous thing.

    1. Sheepsquatch profile image63
      Sheepsquatchposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I agree. At times I want to say people who are ignorant should not vote, but whoever would be in charge of sorting voters would have all the power.

  20. dpsimswm profile image61
    dpsimswmposted 11 years ago

    Look up the Voting Rights Act.  There is a reason we don't test people.  The tests can be designed to turn certain types of people away from the polls.  It's a basic right of citizenship to be able to vote.

    1. Ask Ashley profile image67
      Ask Ashleyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well said! I 100% agree.

  21. RaphaelDorsainvil profile image55
    RaphaelDorsainvilposted 11 years ago

    Placing a condition on voting has been done before. When African Americans were first allowed to vote, one of the conditions was to display an understanding of the constitution by proper interpretation, something contemporary politicians seem to have difficulty executing.

    Voting was also limited to those who owned property. Many began to ponder, if it's truly democratic considering only a certain category of people could vote. With exception of serial killers, and murderers, there should be unconditional voting, in fear of more people being disfranchised in selecting the country's leadership. Immaculate? no, but it's democracy.  With the reigning oligarchy possessing so much political power, placing more conditions on our diminishing voting rights will aid their cause, and hurt the electorate.

    1. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      To my knowledge the only people who are disinfranchised are those who do not register and do not choose to vote and convicted felons, many of who are able to regain their right to vote. Murder of one person by one person is as bad as a serial killer.

  22. Agantum profile image60
    Agantumposted 11 years ago

    As soon as we put conditions on electors, we define who a citizen of a nation is.  We think it is fair to limit the vote to people above a certain age.  Other factors such as criminal record, academic standard, taxes paid, skin color, height, physical and or mental impairment have all been used somewhere in the past.
      Immigrants who have to pass a test to gain residency have to show an understanding of the political process, is that the sort of test that we should all have to pass before voting?

  23. Xenonlit profile image58
    Xenonlitposted 11 years ago

    It is impossible to understand politics these days! There is no test for the stuff that comes out from the mainstream media or anywhere else these days.

    Even the most uneducated people have their opinions. They know what is really going on at street level, and they have a right to vote. The ones who know that they are lying and are being lied to are the ones who need to be kept out of the voting booths.

    I say no.

  24. cprice75 profile image84
    cprice75posted 11 years ago

    How would we test this?  Most of the people who claim to have an "understanding of politics" can merely parrot the soundbites they heard on MSNBC or Fox News.  Does that actually constitute a knowledge of politics?  Methinks not. 

    I think that the Constitution is pretty clear in that it does not include any such restriction as to the vote.  After all, how many 18-year-olds have much of a clue about anything, much less politics.  I know I didn't at that age, even though I thought I did.

    Sounds like a good way to disfranchise the poor and minorities to me, especially if their "understanding" did not agree with those in power--sort of like the days of the grandfather clause that protected the white voter from reading tests in the initial days after emancipation.

  25. MrsLMMc profile image62
    MrsLMMcposted 11 years ago

    It is a fundamental right for citizens of age to vote.  They also have the right to excercise their own education on who and how to vote.  I believe that creating a litmus test of those eligible to vote based on knowledge content would not be valid nor ethical.  It would create a way to sway voting results by altering the eligibility test... I believe something like this would be a slippery slope for us to walk if we ever went this route.  It reminds me of the statement by a congressman from the 1800's when the debate of women's right to vote first came to surface... according to some people's opinions, women were too erratic emotionally to be able to vote based on personal perception.  Hummmmm. 

    With this said, it is our DUTY as a voter to be informed.  To make educated decisions is prudent and part of our civic duty -- but is our right to excercise that duty or not.

  26. suzettenaples profile image87
    suzettenaplesposted 11 years ago

    No, we don't even ask people to have an understanding of marriage before getting married or an understanding of children and how to  raise them before getting pregnant and having them.  In this country, everyone has a right to be ignorant as well as knowledgeable.  Too much government regulation!

  27. CriticalMessage profile image67
    CriticalMessageposted 11 years ago

    It would certainly help more than it currently hurts...

  28. Pollyannalana profile image61
    Pollyannalanaposted 11 years ago

    I think the voting system sucks and it would be too easy to cheat or have many illegal votes, but proving an understanding? No. That would be just another way of taking rights away and whose opinion would decide whether you or I had the right understanding of politics?

  29. Living Well Now profile image60
    Living Well Nowposted 11 years ago

    I thought an understanding of government was mandatory to get a high school diploma ... an understanding of politics isn't necessary. Voter participation isn't that high, many people don't care or confess their ignorance of the issues.

    1. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You have to take a course in government (Civics when I was a student). You just had to pass it--not understand it or even agree with it.

  30. ssaffery profile image80
    ssafferyposted 11 years ago

    I don't think it matters. Even if there was no voters, the world would still be governed, magically, by politicians. They control the federal and local police, not to mention nuclear weapons, and its all about world control, and capitalism.

  31. bhardee83 profile image59
    bhardee83posted 11 years ago

    Its hard to say. We should have have free will to vote but that is the same reason we will keep getting the same results also. Lack of understanding.

  32. Mike Marks profile image59
    Mike Marksposted 11 years ago

    actually, yes... practically, no...

    yes... I believe a responsible voter has to be informed... I believe a responsible voter needs to be competent in the method of critical analysis in order to distinguish information from disinformation, truth from propoganda...

    no... because the qualifications can be manipulated to disqualify targeted segments of the population...

    ...between the two evils... overall I vote "no"

    ...and in the meantime I can only hope that everyone who exercises their right to vote does so responsibly... voters still own this country for now.

  33. profile image0
    detroitmareposted 11 years ago

    YES!  Maybe a basic competence test of some kind should be enacted.  I've heard people say that their votes were based on things such as "he looks presidential" and "the T.V. ad said...".  Many more examples for sure, but we'll leave it at that.  Today on the news they were talking about one of the first things Obama wanted to do when he took office: shut down Guantanamo Bay (where terrorists and suspected terrorists are detained).  He hasn't done that, so to most it's a failed promise.  However, he did try - only to be shot down by congress.  I am not sticking up for Obama, but many times the president's hands get tied by one of the other branches of our government.  Many people don't realize that one simple fact.

    1. profile image0
      detroitmareposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Vote me down.  Do it!  They told you to on a TV commercial didn't they?

    2. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Even if you had a test and the person passed it, they would still be voting on things like he looks presidential... A test will not change human behavior.

  34. wabond profile image56
    wabondposted 11 years ago

    I suppose to a republican a democratic voter doesn't understand politics and to a democratic voter a republican voter doesn't understand politics.

  35. Nick Hanlon profile image60
    Nick Hanlonposted 11 years ago

    This has been done before under the ''Jim Crow'' laws but by using the literacy test.The right to vote comes from you being a citizen who is not serving a jail sentence and that you are paying taxes.My ancestors we're Irish Catholics who we're 2nd class citizens when Ireland  was under British rule so this would bring back a lot of bitter memories.

  36. ElderYoungMan profile image67
    ElderYoungManposted 11 years ago

    Yes.  But it should be taught in the schools along with how the economy works and money is made.  The idea is to have an uninformed, overly-emotional electorate, that will make decisions based on a feeling.  it is how the powers that be want it.


  37. Becky Bruce profile image68
    Becky Bruceposted 11 years ago

    Although it sounds logical, policy has too many implications for this to ever work. Political knowledge is subject to interpretation. Also, politics are taboo in school and church, learning about them takes resources such as a family that is politically involved or the ability to afford a higher education. Therefore I envision this leading to a world where the poor become ostracized from voting. Of course if handled in the perfect way it could work wonders, if everyone was granted the equal chance to 'learn' about politics but then who's teaching us? The government?

  38. christopheranton profile image63
    christopherantonposted 11 years ago

    No I don't think so. In a democracy the right to vote should be given to every adult within the community regardless of the level of political involvement or political education. To put conditions, like the one you ask about, on whether people should have the right to vote or not is just a few steps away from insisting that they should be educated about a particular party or parties that are deemed acceptable to the governing elite. A practice like that could lead eventually to a one-party state.
    In a democracy, it is up to everybody who wants people to vote for them to put their own policies across and to educate their own constituency. Voters should be entitled to vote for whoever they like, for whatever reason they like to vote for them, regardless of whether the candidate is from the monster raving loony party or the most respectable mainstream grouping.
    I do believe that there should be education in how the political system works. This should be part of the normal education system however. Passing or failing in this should never be a condition on whether somebody has the right to vote or not.

  39. mattforte profile image88
    mattforteposted 11 years ago

    I agree with where you are coming from. I've had that train of thought for years. However; telling people they aren't *allowed* to vote undermines the whole concept of having a government run by the people. (Not that it is, anyway)

    I don't vote on bills I haven't researched. If I did, I'd be contributing to this messed up system we have now. In a perfect world, the entire country would follow suit. But that will never happen.

    1. Radikum profile image60
      Radikumposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, we live in a Plutocracy!

  40. arb profile image77
    arbposted 11 years ago

    Perhaps anyone having an opinion should submit it first to the opinion police to make sure it is an informed opinion or an educated opinion. Why not simply find the most educated and informed American scholar and let him vote for us? Voting is but the casting of an opinion. God help us if we must now prove that it is the correct opinion.Interesting that the most informed among us, do not cast similar opinions. I wonder what that means?

    1. annerivendell profile image61
      annerivendellposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Voting is but the casting of an opinion, yes. But the casting of it has an effect on all of us, so one would hope that it is an informed opinion, which is entirely different to a "correct" opinion.

  41. feenix profile image56
    feenixposted 11 years ago


    For many decades, both blacks and women were denied the right to vote and one of the primary reasons why is much of the power elite contended that the members of those groups were intellectually inferior and not "smart enough to vote."

  42. stockpicks profile image61
    stockpicksposted 11 years ago

    Hard to say because even with classes/education, people would view politics differently. My understanding will be different from another person; thus, perhaps that is responsible for a different conclusions and opinions.

  43. annerivendell profile image61
    annerivendellposted 11 years ago

    I'm assuming you're asking this question regarding the whole of the world and not just the U.S. It depends on whether we're talking about a democracy, whether the ruling government are to be trusted in their interpretation of what your understanding is (and that's not necessarily related to whether they're a democracy or not), who decides what constitutes an understanding of politics and how  they decide it. I see where you're coming from though. Many people just follow the crowd, or family tradition or habit or whatever and don't bother to find out the facts. But that's what democracy is, it's not perfect, but what system is?

  44. profile image53
    MarylandGUposted 11 years ago

    No, but I think people should have a solid reason on who they are voting for.


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