Who Should and Should Not Vote?
This question is one of the most asked questions of our time. It is also a question upon which a large part of our populace bases their position solely upon emotional issues and questions of personal gain rather than the intent of our Founding Fathers, the realities of today or the needs of our Republic. But, emotion has no place in a question upon which lies the very survival of our country. If decisions are not properly researched, discussed, questioned and, finally, made, then The Untied States of America may well fade into obscurity. It may even die.
What is the indelible question here? Why is it important for us to know who should vote? And, why should some people not vote? If we decide that some of our people should not vote, for whatever reason, how do their rights stay protected? It would be oh so simple to say that those who do not contribute to society should not have a say in how society is governed. After all, we can see right now in the current Obama administration the result of the non productive citizens voting themselves largess.
But, is it so simple?
The American economy has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of those living just a century ago. Free enterprise, where any man or woman can take risks, invest and produce, has led to a cultural mobility not present in any other country in the world.
Today, however, forces exist within our Republic which actually want these basic tenants of our nation to fail. Free enterprise not only means everyone has the opportunity to succeed. It also means that some will fail. In fact, most of those who do succeed have failed many times before they succeed. What does that have to do with Who should Vote and Who Should Not? Everything.
Because some people fail, often because of their own decisions, there is a large group within our economy who believe the government should protect them from failure. This fact has allowed a strong group of opportunists to gain power with our government. This group, comprised of people from both political parties, are self identified as Progressives. In fact, they are anything but.
Progressives seek to make the electorate subservient to the government through handouts, bailouts, Earned Income Tax Credits and other ways of creating a large group of voters, currently a near majority, so dependent upon government that they will vote as directed simply from personal greed.But, let’s go back to the eighteenth century when our Founding Fathers were forming our Republic. There was no suggestion of “one man, one vote.” In fact, Jefferson, and others, warned against this ridiculous idea. Only men of property were enfranchised with the vote. No women, no workers, no idle hands. Only free, adult males who owned property. Women were not even allowed to own property and a widow’s inheritance passed to the “appropriate” male relative in most cases. It is not hard to understand the ideals behind this approach.
But, we will have to put aside questions and opinions about male versus female and even slave versus free. For the time being we just have to accept yesterday as it was and not as we believe it should have been.
Today, we do not accept the condition in which women depend upon their men and fall into the background. No one, I believe, has any lingering doubts that slavery was wrong and that it has no place in our society today. I think all of us, or at least almost all of us, agree that these two issues have been settled by history and we are the better for it. Again, let’s just accept that for the purposes of this article.
In the times in which our Republic was formed, it was the property owner who controlled the direction of our economy and workers had little education and, usually, less say about social and economic issues of the day. Therefore, limiting the vote to property owners had social validity. Today that approach would simply be ridiculous.
We have today what we refer to as universal education in this country. We all know that this education is imperfect and the quality of education varies with the social and economic realities of communities. Further, a case can be made that the quality of education up to and including the 16th grade has fallen drastically over the past half century. This, even while the quality of higher education seems to have, in some cases, grown to the highest levels in the entire world. But, we limit ourselves here to consideration of the vote.
We have moved far from the precepts of our Founding Fathers in deciding who should vote. Rather than “qualified” voters, we have the “universal vote.” Most of this movement has resulted from racial hatreds and government directives which are, frankly, in direct violation of the tenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That amendment reads:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Many Americans believe the Constitution guarantees us the right to vote. This is not so.Let us first establish the fact that there is no “right to vote” in the U. S. Constitution. Any right to vote falls under the administration of the several States. Therefore, Federal Directives pertaining to voting rights have no standing. This is not to say that the States were not wrong in many cases, they were. All we want to look at in this article is how we came to “the universal vote” and what is wrong with this approach. Or, how could we better gauge who should and who should not vote?
If we accept the States Rights position that the several States should control the qualifications of its’ citizens right to vote, we have to accept that there will be variances from State to State. The citizens have a responsibility to monitor this and to make sure the rights of citizens are protected. This is not a subject for Federal involvement.
Each State will have to consider specific qualifications for its’ citizens to have the voting franchise.
Each State will have to consider specific disqualifying criteria which may prevent a citizen from having the right to vote.
Each State will have to look into its’ own heart (or the soul of its’ citizens) and to provide for the protection of the rights of those citizens judged not to qualify to have the voting franchise.
The author will present here a few ideas for your consideration. Very few will agree with every idea suggested. And, it is not the intention of the author to convince the reader. Rather it is my intention that what is presented here will begin a process in which you, the reader, think about these questions and come to your own conclusions.
Just as the Founding Fathers believed, a citizen, in order to vote, must be a productive member of society. Let’s think about what that means in today’s society.
To be a productive member of society the citizen should have a job or contribute in some manner to society. The specifics of contributing in some manner to society I leave to the legislators of each State. However, student activities shall be considered to be a job for the purposes of this qualification.In order to be a productive member of our society the citizen should be able to speak and write the English language. To what specific level of proficiency I leave to the legislators of each State.
Beyond this, any man or woman who has served this country through military service in a combat situation should have the right to vote without regard to either of the first two qualifications. It is expected, however, that the State will endeavor to assist the citizen in both of the first two qualifications.
Any citizen dishonorably discharged from the military services shall not be eligible to vote unless the dishonorable condition is later removed. Those discharged in a manner other than honorable would not be so limited.
Any citizen found to be mentally incompetent shall not be eligible to vote unless and until found to be competent by an authorized entity of the State.
Any citizen convicted of a felony where violence or the threat of violence is not present shall not be eligible to vote for a period of five years. At the end of that five year period the citizen’s voting franchise may be restored if judged by a competent State authority to have become a contributing member of society.
Any citizen convicted of a felony where violence or the threat of violence is present shall not be eligible to vote for the rest of his or her life.
Any citizen convicted of specific felonies where violence or the threat of violence is not present including, but not limited to, sexual child abuse, rape, kidnap of a minor by other than an immediate family member or other felonies as established by competent authorities of the State shall not be eligible to vote for the rest of his or her life.
Any citizen receiving aid from the State or from the Federal government which provides the majority (in excess of 50%) of that citizen’s material support shall lose the right to vote. Exceptions to this condition shall be according to the legislators of each State.
All organizations including, but not limited to, churches, unions and social or business organizations, shall be prohibited from directing or placing pressure upon any citizen regarding how that citizen exercises his or her franchise of voting.
In order to understand just how important the question of who should vote is, we must understand the consequences of continuing to allow those citizens who do not contribute to the general welfare to make decisions about where our resources are directed. The United States has competitors in the international arena. For example, today both China and India are working hard to replace us as the leader of the economic world. They may succeed. If we continue to generate huge amounts of debt while not instilling in our younger generations the understanding that they will be faced with determined adversaries around the world, they will succeed. And the United States will fade from the world stage in much the same way as have France and the Untied Kingdom.
Of course we do not know how different decisions made by “qualified” voters, or those “productive” citizens who are contributors to the general welfare will be. However, because these individuals are directly involved in the creation of national resources, they will be more cognizant of the issues and the need to place our national resources where they will most benefit our people and our country. Because they create the wealth, they will have a direct stake in how it is used.
The author will appreciate any and all comments and criticisms of this article at http://brucemaynes.wordpress.com
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