Needed: A Competency Test for Elected Officials

christine odonnellWhere do they find these people?  I’m talking about those crazy-talking Tea Party types, ultra-conservative Republicans posing as legitimate lawmakers and politicians, some of them even passing themselves off as senators, members of Congress and governors.

Now, before you say anything, I am not naïve about politics.  I know that politics has always attracted some of the best, but all too frequently it has attracted some of the worst that society has to offer.  But this past election season, it seems as if the bottom fell out on how bad it can get—how truly pathetic and hopelessly unqualified candidates for political office are allowed to be.  Tea party candidates demonstrated their extremist and racist views, their ignorance of basic constitutional principles, and their lack of preparation for primetime.

And most of all, they showed that they are wholly-owned pawns of wealthy interests.

Rand Paul, Rick Scott and Jan Brewer won.  Christine O’Donnell, Ken Buck and Sharron Angle lost, but they were still legitimate nominees of a major political party, so victory was at least within the realm of the possible for them.  Dumb as bricks, with no practical experience or knowledge of which to speak, is suddenly a virtue.  Some of them said they would criminalize abortion in the case of rape and incest, or protect the rights of private businesses to discriminate against black people.  Some have urged the use of Second Amendment remedies.  At least one candidate led a program to openly intimidate black voters.  And yet, a number of them found enough votes to take them to victory.  They told the constituents they would protect the interests of the rich, and yet they were able to garner enough votes from the poor dumb citizenry to win the election.  That’s something, isn’t it?

The bar of stupidity and intolerance is lowered every day, and yet someone will vote for these people.  In Oklahoma, a state senator authored a measure to amend the state constitution, prohibiting state courts from considering international law or Islamic Sharia law when reviewing cases.  The measure passed with 70 percent of the vote, and a federal judge overturned it, which shows that the federal government is necessary to protect us from the states.

The reelected governor of Texas, Rick Perry, longs for the old days, a hundred years ago—before the progressive movement and the New Deal, when there were no child labor laws, unemployment insurance, national income tax, consumer regulations or worker protections.  He even wanted Texas To secede from the Union, and likely put an innocent man to death, and still the citizenry of Texas rewarded Perry with a third term in office.

Whenever you find deplorable laws, there were deplorable people behind those laws, driven by greed and fanaticism, and lacking in character, empathy, scruples, and a concern for the common good. America needs some sort of competency exam, some kind of quality control process for their elected officials.  Where are the regulations?  I know, elections are supposed to take care of that.  Under normal circumstances, in a democracy with elected representatives, you should be able to count on an informed electorate to pick the best candidates based on the issues.  But this is America, and there are several problems with that notion.  Civic engagement is lacking, voter participation is low, and many who vote are low information voters.  Public education and the news media have failed them.  While democracy depends on an educated electorate, sadly too many American voters are ignorant and ill-informed.<

It does not help matters that the nation’s politics are driven by a system of legalized bribery, blown wide open by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  In this pay-to-play land, with the best system money can buy, democracy goes to the highest bidder.  So, what is considered corruption in your run-of-the-mill, Third World banana republic is the law in America, protected by the First Amendment—because corporations are people, too.

David A. LoveGiven the dysfunction, the gridlock and the mean-spiritedness in our politics, it is no wonder that the best and brightest too often flock to other disciplines, leaving the barrel scrapers to fill the vacuum of political leadership.  And yet, someone somewhere out there will vote for them.

David A. Love

Reprinted with permission from the BlackCommentator.


  1. John Lloyd Scharf says

    So, if people disagree with you, then you want to disenfranchise them. I am sure the conservatives would be all for the tests you want to have, if they get to make up the Q&A. There is nothing progressive about attempting to muzzle the opposition. Your areguments are shameless fallacies.

  2. marshall says

    It is hard finding the right people for the job. My first big job required a HS degree, required a passing grade on several tests, required no drug use, required no court record, and then it required me to sign a blank check to my government saying I would go anywhere, anytime, and if need be, would put my life up to protect others. And what a job it was, went to Europe, Asia, lived in countries that no longer are there. You should try to qualify for that job. I could be wrong, but I do not think you could qualify for it, only a few can.

  3. Joshua says

    “Needed: A Competency Test for Elected Officials”

    HAhAHa…Maybe we should have given one to the former Freshman Senator and “community organizer” , who reads a teleprompter well! Do you ever judge your side with the same metric as you try to apply to the opposition?

    What does Sharia Law and/or international Law have to do with the Constitution? Nothing! Only US Law and legal precednce that comes with it, should be applied in US courts. Why would anyone think otherwise?

    “…which shows that the federal government is necessary to protect us from the states.”

    From what? Your Allah given right to be judged under Sharia Law , rather than US Law, might get taken away? Or is The Belgique system of Law more to your liking? If you want to be judged by another system of Law, feel free to go there.

    Your articles are trash, any raving leftist lunatic from the Daily Kos could put out this level of Garbage. AND for the Love of GOD enough with the Race Card already, ever hear of “the boy who cried wolf”? It’s right before “the Lunatic who cried Racist”, you may not have gotten that far, worth reading.

    “.. leaving the barrel scrapers to fill the vacuum of political leadership”

    Just those who have enough dignity NOT to be politcal pundits, definatley the used car salesmen of the Jowhorenilist world.

    Just knowing that you are not alone in your opinions makes me weep for the future of the Country and the world.

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