Tim Leigh and the 52 percenters 

City Sage

City Councilor Tim Leigh's "Weekly Market Report" is never dull. It's sometimes hard to tell whether he's in his Serious Thinker or Thoughtless Provocateur mode, tossing bombshells for the fun of it.

Here's a recent excerpt: At dinner last night we discussed that only those folks who voted in the last election will automatically receive a mail-in ballot for the April City Council Elections. I think this is a good policy. Voting is a privilege. As the adage says — "use it or lose it!"

The discussion deepened when we dove into national politics and recognized only 48% of us now produce against 52% who receive. Presuming that statistic is correct, America is doomed. Without substantial systemic change we will become another bankrupt tax & spend socialist nation...

My solution is a policy change where only folks who understand our system can vote.

Here is what I suggest. Everyone who wants to vote should pass the basic test for citizenship.

Tim, are you sure there were no 52 percenters at the party? No military retirees, no Social Security recipients, no one who attended a state university and took advantage of resident tuition rates, no ranchers or farmers who benefit from agricultural subsidies, no homeowners who deduct mortgage interest from their tax bill, no one who ever lost a job and collected unemployment benefits?

You can't be too careful. Don't let anyone in your door unless they can answer all those questions correctly!

I have a few questions. Who will conduct these tests? Who will pay for this vast testing bureaucracy? Didn't Southern states once use literacy tests to disenfranchise African-Americans? And what will the questions be?

Here are a few, which Tim says he took from "a practice citizenship test on my cell phone":

• What are the colors of our flag?

• How many states are there in the Union?

• What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?

• How many branches are there in our government?

• How many senators are there? How many congressmen are there?

• Why did the Pilgrims come to America?

"What's sad is," Leigh wrote, "it's likely that a majority of the citizens who vote can't answer these questions ... without context or knowledge our system is doomed."

What kind of knowledge? Tim, I suggest that the folks you want to disenfranchise may know a lot about the country that you and I don't, even if they can't answer some basic questions about the workings of government.

They probably know that our nation imprisons, or monitors on probation or parole, more black men than were enslaved when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. They may know what it's like to live in a violent, ungovernable neighborhood, where murderous violence is a daily fact of life. They know what it's like to work multiple part-time jobs with no benefits, living paycheck to paycheck.

But, whatever. More along your lines, here are some other questions specific to Colorado Springs, structured to please the right-leaning elected officials who might conduct the tests. I've provided some likely answers as well.

Are you employed? If not, why not?

I am, but I don't get paid yet. I'm an unpaid intern for the next four months. I support myself by dealing stolen prescription drugs to rich people like Rush Limbaugh.

Did you vote for Barack Obama? If so, are you aware that he was born in Kenya, and is therefore ineligible to be president of the United States?

I thought Obama was born in Hawaii; isn't that part of the United States? It's a colony like Puerto Rico, American Samoa or the Virgin Islands.

Colorado Springs is one of the few cities in America that has not been taken over by the 52 percent. Do you know why?

It's because of the signs — the ones just outside of town that say, "52 percenters: Don't let the sun set on you inside the city limits."

And by the way, here's the answer to the Pilgrim question: The pilgrims came to America because they couldn't get on with their neighbors.


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