Some of you older folks out there may well remember first hand what African Americans had to go through in order to vote. White southerners who controlled the elections felt the need to impose solely on black voters literacy, civic and history tests that even white, college-educated people would've had difficulty passing.
When African American voters peacefully protested against this blatantly racist injustice, we attacked them with police dogs, beat them, turned fire hoses and water cannons on them, in your lifetime if you're 45 or older. It was the last major spasm of a dying white America that couldn't tolerate black people being given electoral parity with their own kind. That year, Congress reacted with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and President Johnson swiftly signed it into law (which shouldn't've been necessary after the 19th century 14th and 15th amendments, the latter prohibiting a state or the federal government from denying anyone the right to vote on the basis of race, among other things).
Tom Tancredo basically would love to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965, because he said this two days ago while short-stroking the mouth-breathing masses at the Tea Party convention:
And then, something really odd happened, mostly because I think that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country. People who could not even spell the word “vote,” or say it in English, put a committed socialist idealogue (sic) in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama. (Emphasis Eli's, but not the unfortunately-timed misspelling of "ideologue" by whoever at Media Matters transcribed it)
So Eli at Firedoglake thought it would be a good idea to draw up his own litmus test that perhaps we could impose on the voting public (especially evangelicals and other Republicans):
1) Was Saddam Hussein responsible for 9/11? 2) At the time of the invasion, did Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction? 3) At the time of the invasion, was Saddam Hussein harboring al Qaeda in the regions under his direct control? 4) Were there any successful terrorist attacks on the United States between 9/11/01 and 1/20/09? 5) Was Barack Obama born in the United States? 6) Is Barack Obama a Christian or a Muslim? 7) Is Barack Obama a committed socialist ideologue? 8) Does Barack Obama hate white people? 9) Does Barack Obama want to kill your grandmother? 10) Is liberalism a form of fascism? 11) Do tax cuts increase or decrease government revenue? 12) Is Medicare a government program? 13) Is homosexuality a lifestyle choice? Is it contagious? 14) Are all gay people pedophiles and/or “recruiters” for the gay lifestyle? 15) Is abstinence-only sex education more effective at preventing teen pregnancies and STDs than comprehensive sex education with a pro-abstinence message? 16) Is the Earth thousands of years old, or billions of years old? 17) Did life on Earth evolve naturally, or was it created as is? 18) Are human carbon emissions causing global climate change? 19) Do scientists and academics contribute anything useful to society? 20) Is individual voter fraud a widespread epidemic that is distorting our electoral process?
Now, it goes without saying that many of the tea partiers in attendance would miserably fail such a test (after all, these are the same people who every 24 months vote maniacs like Tancredo back into office election after election). Imposing such a test that would be a breeze for those in the reality-based community on tea partiers and other grassroots conservatives and would be like handing a Rubics cube to a chimpanzee.
The real test would be to see how many of our elected officials would pass such a test. My guess would be most Republicans in Congress would just as miserably fail and we've heard nothing from the right wing in both chambers that even remotely promises they'd pass such a test.
And that's precisely why Eli drew up this list. Many of these same questions and the ignorant answers to them were either proposed or relayed along by our Republican elected officials. If you were to seriously entertain some of their sweaty, bug-eyed conspiracy theories, you'd "learn" that Barack Obama is indeed a Muslim, that he wants to kill your grandmother, that he wasn't born in the US, that the president is a socialist and/or a Communist, that liberalism is fascism, that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, that global warming isn't caused by the burning of fossil fuels, that global warming is, in fact, a hoax.
The list goes on.
So if Tancredo wants to impose a civics test on dark-skinned people who supposedly can't spell the word "vote", then I unite with Eli and suggest that turnabout is fair play and impose one on them, beginning with his 20 suggestions. What other questions would you include in such a litmus test? Here's my list:
1) Is Barack Obama sleeping with your wife? 2) Was Columbus wrong and is the earth, indeed, flat? 3) Did Jesus own an AK 47? 4) Was Jesus a registered Republican? 5) Gravity: liberal myth or semi-documented theory? 6) Does earth orbit around the sun or vice versa and, don't forget, Copernicus was a Polack. 7) Are men who suck penises and women who lick vaginas merely straight people being rebellious or has the Devil possessed them? 8) How, exactly, are Ellen Degeneres, George Takei and Elton John destroying your marriage? 9) Is carbon 14 dating a liberal hoax, myth or lie? 10) Is God truly a nationalist who favors the United States with His grace? 11) Ice shelves the size of Rhode Island are breaking off Canada and the Arctic. Is this the result of global warming or Michael Moore and Al Gore jumping on them? 12) How many of each animal did Moses take aboard the ark? I could go on and on like this all day but I think we all know how our more conservative elected officials would fare were they forced to undergo such a litmus test. Then you'd see a rapid change in the, well, complexion of the United States Congress.
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