To the Point With Michael Hogan

Michael Hogan

There was a time when it you were required to pass a test in order to cast a vote. While those tests were judged unconstitutional (with good reason) maybe we could install a new kind of test: a test that gauges the level of ignorance a potential voter has before allowing them into the voting booth.American novelist and essayist Gore Vidal once said, “Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” The man is right. I know that I live in a democracy where all citizens over the age of 18 are allowed to vote, but I am starting to think that maybe we should have a law that keeps oblivious, ignorant voters away from the polls.I read a Myspace bulletin the other day that warned me of the impending “dangers” of a possible Barack Obama presidency. Now, I have read some dumb bulletins from time to time- hell, I’ve written some dumb bulletins from time to time- but this may have been the pinnacle of stupidity.The bulletin informed the reader that Obama is a “radical Muslim” and that he is part of some secret plan aimed at “destroying the US from the inside out.” Throughout the text certain words appear in all caps: MUSLIM! ISLAM! RADICAL! TERRORIST! A pretty obvious sign that maybe the author is trying to steer the reader in a certain direction, right?At one point the bulletin claims that Obama took his oath of office on the Koran and not on the Bible. It also claims that when asked to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” he refuses and turns his back on the flag.I’ve a couple of points to be made here. First of all, what does it matter what someone takes their oath of office on? Who cares if it is the Holy Bible, the Torah, the Koran, Fun with Dick and Jane, or the latest issue of Playboy, as long as it is something that he/she reveres. But these claims are false.If the reader were to follow the advice of the bulletin, they would learn that what they have just read is all lies. Right there in the text of said bulletin it says to go to, a popular website aimed at proving or debunking urban myths, to see for themselves. Evidently, this offer was made with the assumption that the stupid reader is too lazy to actually, you know, visit the page. If they should take the time to do so, they would see that all the bulletin’s claims are false.I am not shocked that things like this are out there. There are ignorant people in the world. And, being a free society, it is perfectly alright for people to send out this kind of stuff. What kills me is that fact that the same people who will read this bulletin and believe its untruths are allowed to walk into a voting booth on Election Day and cast a vote.I am not trying to endorse anyone in the upcoming presidential election. I haven’t even made my own decision yet. I am only saying perhaps we should initiate some kind of stupidity test before people are allowed into the polling place.