Sunday, November 30, 2008

Americans Know Nothing: A Civics Test For You

Something I've known for many years has been empirically tested and supported . . . Americans don't know anything about government. This is why I favor civic test for voting. Go ahead, call me racist, sexist, elitist, or whatever other hyperbole you have stored up in your head. None of those adjectives have anything to do with why I believe voting should be restricted to those that actually know about government. The idea that I spend hours, weeks, months, years forming well-thought out opinions for how I vote, just to have my ballot canceled about by the guy behind me who only voted because "it's the right thing to do" or because someone talked him into it, really bothers me.

The Founders restricted voting to white, male, landowners. Did you catch that? It wasn't that they were white or male. It was that they must have owned land. Even female land owners were able to vote if they were in charge of the house. The reason for the land owning qualification wasn't because the Founders were racist, or sexist, though some most certainly were. The reason voting was restricted was because the Founders didn't trust the population as a whole to put the interests of society above their own. So, they decided to only allow those people who had a vested interest in society (land owners) and those that had a knowledge of government (the educated, i.e. rich white guys) to vote.

Today, to be educated or have a vested interest in society, you don't have to own land. I own none, yet I consider myself fairly well educated. Most children get free, public education. While the level of education is different depending on what school you go to, the opportunity is there. Detractors will say that poor kids don't get great educations and they can't study because they are too busy working or taking care of siblings. That may be true. However, a simple civics test would not necessarily exclude these groups. Study guides could be available. If you don't have time to know what branch of government creates law, then you don't have enough time to form an opinion for whom you should vote.

So, what would I do? Restrict voting to people 21 and older. The only exemption are military personnel who are 18 or older who are serving or where honorably discharged. Once you turn 21, you have to take a civics test to determine your political knowledge. We could let said test be valid for ten or so years, so you wouldn't have to take it every elections. If you fail, you can take it again, and again, and again. This test is free. All you have to do is pass, (say 70 maybe 75%) and you're in. The test will not be partisan. It will be over general U.S. government information. Who passes bills? Who vetoes legislation? Who declares war?

So, if you're brave enough. Take this test and let me know what you scored. I got 30 out of 33 correct, which was a 90.91%. I teach political science at the college level and I didn't even know them all, so don't feel intimidated.

Friday, November 28, 2008

2 Deaths After Wal-Mart Stampede

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede


Updated Friday, November 28th 2008, 10:19 AM
A Wal-Mart store was the scene of chaos this morning. Anderson/News

A Wal-Mart store was the scene of chaos this morning.

A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.

The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

Nassau County Police are still investigating and would not confirm the witness accounts. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. Police did say there were several injuries but weren't more specific.

Jessica Keyes was among the shoppers. She told the Daily News she saw a woman knocked down just a few feet from the dying worker.

"When the paramedics came, she said 'I'm pregnant,'" Keyes said.

Paramedics treated the woman inside the store and then, according to Keys, told the woman:

"There's nothing we can do. The baby is gone."

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."


From Me: I hope y'all think this behavior is as ridiculous as I do. I think getting up that early to save money is silly in and of itself. Saving money is great, but is it really worth the trouble, or in this case the life? Thanks to the materialism of many, two families will have sad, tragic Christmases. I hope those stampeding through Wal-Mart are proud of the money they saved! It cost 2 lives!

Something tells me we will hear more stories like this before Christmas is over.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beware: John Hagee

My wife and I get about 20 TV channels. We can't afford the fancy stuff. I don't even get the History Channel or ESPN. :( Thankfully, I at least get WGN for my Cubs games. Anyways, I was channel surfing about 5 minutes ago and ran across John Hagee. Now, I don't have a Theology degree. I'm not a deacon in a Church. I'm not even in the choir, but I do know that Mr. Hagee is a dangerous man who is missing the point of God and his Word and is misleading many people.

Just had to get that out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Rant: Where Am I Wrong?

This is going to be a bit of a rant. It may not even get posted. It all depends on how I feel when I get done writing.

Anyways . . .

I've become annoyed, frustrated, puzzled, etc. with some of my fellow followers of Christ. I don't know them, but I read about them, hear them on TV or radio, see stories and commentary about them online. Who are these people that are causing me trouble? They are the Christians that are so critical of the Church, Christian organizations, Christian political activists, and fellow believers that it makes you wonder if their whole goal in life is to bring Christ down from the inside.

Don't get me wrong, the Church needs to be criticized from time to time. I've been critical on other blogs about the health and wealth gospels. I'm obviously being critical right now. It is far from perfect. The Bible has many stories about churches that were not representing God. Christian organizations too can miss the point, but that does not mean that we should go looking for their faults just so we can tell everyone about them. I differ on the means of many Christian political groups, but not the ends, but that doesn't mean I want to see their whole group fall off the face of the earth. And just because the guys sitting next to you has a more literal interpretation of the Bible doesn't mean he is anachronistic or ignorant, or that you should wait for him to fail, so you can rejoice.

Personally, I think the Bible answers every question of importance in my life. I also think that the message of the Bible trumps scientific studies because God and his power and principles are by definition immeasurable. I disagree with some Christian groups like Focus on the Family from time to time. However, I do not feel as though I should rag them for failing as the world measures success or failure. My job as a believer should be to point out their failure as it relates to the message of God. It is correct for Christians to point out false prophets like the Phelps and other preachers or groups that speak of things that contrast the Bible, but when did it become our job to attack people who we wouldn't dare call false prophets just because we don't like their agenda or the way they "do" church.

Today, Christians seem to look for reasons to attack other believers or groups of believers. My personal opinion is that they do this to appear either spiritually or intellectually superior. I think they are missing the point. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Bible isn't about intellectualism. It also isn't about appearing to be a more spiritual being than everyone around you.

Many Christians seem to have taken on the personality of the media. They look for juicy stories to tear people down rather than looking at the good in people. Yes, you may not agree with a given Christian political group on 100% of their issues, but does the 70% that you do agree on benefit the Kingdom of God? If so, is it worth your time to tear them down on the other 30%. Maybe the guy sitting next to you thinks abstinence only is the best sex education policy. Sure, there isn't a lot of scientific evidence to support it, but should we throw away God's principles for human science just because it makes us look more intellectual to our peers?

Perhaps I am way off in my little rant here. I am just getting tired of Christians who spend their time criticizing other Christians (I realize that is what I am doing) and never mention to good of the Church, Christian organization, Christian activists, or Godly people. I know "religion" is suppose to be bad and that saying you are a Christian really doesn't mean anything today because most people claim to follow Christ, but at some point, don't we need to stop arguing amongst ourselves and get to work? Criticism is important if its goal is to keep us inline with God. But does criticism help us if it is done not for the purpose of aiding the faulty, or spreading the gospel, but for propping ourselves up above other Christians?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Career Suggestions

I want a career where I can go workout in the morning, read my Bible afterward, then spend the rest of the day reading books about politics, history, culture, etc. I could write some if I needed to. I don't want deadlines, meetings, or to be bound by an office.

What jobs fit this description?

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Little Note To Myself

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct you paths." Proverbs 3:5,6