Should Everyone Be Allowed to Vote?

Should voting be an inherent, unquestionable right for all? Should a high school student who isn’t interested in politics be allowed to vote? Should someone who never graduated from high school be allowed to vote? Should a person of old age who hates the younger generation be allowed to vote? Should someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia be allowed to vote? Should someone who thinks the Earth is flat be allowed to vote? Should a racist be allowed to vote? Should a murderer or rapist be allowed to vote?

If you were to ask any average US citizen if they thought that the average US citizen should be allowed to vote, they would probably say that they should. Voting is what helps give citizens in any nation the power they need to defend themselves against corrupt governments and policies. All throughout US history people of all groups have fought hard to obtain and keep their right to vote.

I also agree that most people (except felons) should have the right to vote, but does that mean that they should? What happens in a democracy when most of the voters happen to be uninformed or ignorant during an election? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of having a system that prevents government corruption?

Let’s look to Socrates for a reasonable argument. Socrates disliked democracy and the power it gave to voters. He compared it to a voyage on a ship and asked who you would rather have in charge: Just anyone? Or people who have been educated in running the ship? Obviously, a skilled captain and crew would be the superior option. Socrates then points out that voting is very much the same, yet maybe even more important since the direction that a government is heading needs to be more carefully monitored by experts. (If you would like to see a very good video by The School of Life that discusses Socrates’ beliefs on democracy in detail, please click here or search for “Why Socrates Hated Democracy” on Youtube)

To elaborate on this idea, let’s compare voting to driving. Everyone has the right to drive, but that doesn’t mean that they should. Driving is a skill, and before you can get your license, you must demonstrate that you are capable and understand the rules. Additionally, any deviation after receiving your license, such as accidents or law-breaking activity, can result in having your license suspended or revoked.

Similarly, voting is a skill. It requires knowledge of the candidates and policies you are voting for. In the same way that someone with no driving education is a hazard behind the wheel, someone who arbitrarily votes is a hazard to the democratic system. Thus, in the same way that those who fail the driving test are not allowed to drive, those who fail to demonstrate a basic understanding of what or who they are voting for, as well as demonstrating good judgement and moral behavior, shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Now, this doesn’t mean that someone who fails a “voting test” should be refused the right to vote forever. In the same way that you can retake the driving test later, a person should be allowed to demonstrate their ability to vote later as well. Everyone can educate and better themselves, if they are willing, so if someone really wants to be a part of the voting process, they can earn it and have an opportunity to prove themselves. In this way, those who are actually interested in politics and educated can vote, while those who aren’t interested in politics and are uninformed don’t vote, thus nurturing the potential of the democratic system.

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A “Good” Country

Youtube has come a long way since it was started in February 2005, back when it was an uncommon place for people to share random videos of themselves. I’m sure you’re aware, Youtube is now a common household name, and you may be surprised to learn that today it is worth over an estimated $70 billion to Google. Over the years, numerous entrepreneurs and corporations have acknowledged Youtube’s power as an informational and advertising medium. As such, Youtube is now the daily source of news, entertainment, and education for many around the world.

Personally, I am a big fan of “TED Talks.” If you’re not familiar, “TED Talks shares the best ideas from the TED Conference with the world, for free: trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses, all giving the talk of their lives in 18 minutes.” TED Talks remind me of ancient Greece when students and philosophers would gather to discuss ideas, no matter how big or small, in order to progress mankind’s way of thinking. TED Talks takes this same concept and records it for the world to see.

One such video that really hit a nerve with me is entitled “Which country does the most good for the world?” by Simon Anholt. In his video Simon wonders what constitutes a “good” country, and he wonders where we are as a society based on these observations. Simon goes on to say that a “good” country isn’t necessarily one that is prosperous, but rather one that is selfless, no matter if they are rich or poor. As you may imagine, during our trying times here in the U.S.A. with the newly appointed President Trump, this video only grows in its significance regarding our society.

If you haven’t had the privelidge of a TED Talk, or if you haven’t had the priviledge of hearing this particular video, I encourage you to listen to it. Simon Anholt is a very eloquent speaker, and he is sure to grab your attention as soon as he begins. Click here to watch it from Youtube. By the end, I’ll bet you’ll be asking yourself the same question I was: “Am I living in a good country?”

Diplomatic Immunity

In simple terms, diplomatic immunity means that when a representative from one country visits another, they are not subject to the laws of the country that they entered. In fact, when they abuse the rules and laws where they visit, the government is essentially powerless to detain, prosecute, or imprison them. The only thing that the government can actually do is kick them out of the country.

Does that seem unfair to you? It doesn’t take long to search online and see that there are numerous cases where diplomats smuggle, steal, bribe, kidnap, attack, rape, and murder, and they get away with it because of this diplomatic immunity concept. To make things worse, diplomats are allowed to carry what is known as a diplomatic bag, in which similar international rules apply. Contents inside the bag, no matter if illegal, like drugs, weapons, or even a kidnapped person, can’t be searched or confiscated.

Now, that doesn’t mean to say that there is never any justice for any horrible crimes committed by diplomats. In many cases, offenders are tried by their own country when they commit something serious. But when so many crimes go unchecked, one has to wonder if diplomatic immunity is worth having around.

Why Does Diplomatic Immunity Exist?

The unspoken yet obvious answer is that diplomatic immunity exists because those in power want to retain and abuse their power when traveling abroad. However, the “politically correct” reason that diplomatic immunity exists is so that other nations will actually engage in diplomacy. Without immunity, it would be easy for nations to detain ambassadors and other leaders, creating hostage situations and hostility.

So, does this mean diplomatic immunity a good thing? It can be. For example, what happens when a country has a law that an ambassador unknowingly breaks? After all, if you accidentally run over a cow in India, or if you are in possession of at least 15 grams of marijuana in Singapore, you can be executed. Would it be worth going to war if a representative was killed over an arcane rule? Is it then reasonable for them to call upon immunity for political protection?

I have to wonder about that. Is it even worth trying to enter a country where someone’s life would be in danger because they don’t have immunity? If such a country is hostile to begin with, then maybe making a presence on their territory isn’t the brightest idea. The reality is that if a country wanted to detain someone, whether or not they have diplomatic immunity, then they will, so maybe it would be better to not to risk it.

That’s not to say that diplomacy shouldn’t be attempted. Modern day technology makes online meetings easy without even leaving the room,  so why not utilize it from a safe distance, at least until any aggressive factors have been resolved?

The Hypocrisy of Diplomatic Immunity

Ultimately, is it fair to only give ambassadors protection when visiting foreign lands? Why not all tourists? Is it fair that an ambassador can be excused from an arcane crime while an ignorant tourist who commits the same crime would receive the full punishment? Shouldn’t there be some sort of tourist protection for all misdemeanors?

Here’s what it boils down to: Every citizen is required to follow the laws of the country that they live in, whether or not they agree with those laws. It shouldn’t be a surprise when a traveler is expected to follow the same laws of that land they visit, whether or not they agree with those laws. If tourists aren’t prepared to pay the penalty for breaking those laws, then they shouldn’t go. It shouldn’t be any different for diplomats, who are expected to be on their best behavior anyways as representatives.

Diplomatic Immunity Needs to Go

Although diplomatic relationships are not simple, the answer to diplomatic immunity is a simple one: Diplomats should be held accountable for their actions, just like everyone else, so the immunity thing needs to go.

The Immigration Problem

by Political Charade

May 18, 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were free to go and live anywhere in the world that you wanted to? No questions, procedures, fences, borders, etc.- if you wanted to go somewhere, you would simply just go. If you were bored with where you live, if you wanted to experience something new, or if your neighborhood was undesirable, you could simply pack your bags and leave, free to relocate to where you thought the grass was greener.

Of course, the reality is that territories need immigration rules to help keep threats out and to prevent sudden overpopulations that the economy might not be able to support. It should be fair to say that current residents should not have to suffer any criminal or terrorist threats that might sneak into the area. The same current residents, wild animals included, should also not have to suffer any food, water, economical, or space shortages because there are too many people being densely crammed into an area.

Does this mean that countries should have the right to block anyone from entering their world? Is there something inhumane about preventing people from immigrating to better lands? After all, most countries were built upon the backs of immigrants, and most immigrants are either trying to meet up with loved ones or simply fleeing areas where their survival is not guaranteed.

Here in the USA, there is an immigration revolution happening. Ever since Trump got into the presidential office, he has tried twice to implement a Muslim ban. He has indeed helped pass a budget that would fund new wall improvements along the US-Mexican border. He has also given ICE (The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) more power to deport illegal immigrants. The country that was once a symbol of hope to those in need is now closing its doors to the world.

Immigration Luck

Philosophers will tell you that life is an act of pure luck. During the complete existence of the universe, the odds of you being born now are staggering. Those odds increase when you factor in the family you were born into as well as the location of the world where you were born. Depending on your luck, you might have been born into a wealthy family, you might have been born into an average family, you might have been born into a poor family. Additionally, you might have been born into an area where resources and government are good, fair, or poor. Maybe you were even born into a country during war.

So, imagine that you were born into a poor region, like so many other people in this world. You have no money, no jobs, some days you go without food, the water is dirty, and maybe you might be sleeping in the dirt. To make matters worse, you’re surrounded by war and violence, and every day is a battle not to be attacked. How exactly would you be able to appropriate the means to move to a better place? After all, there are fees to pay, IDs to procure, and time to spend waiting. If you were homeless, with family starving to death, and a terrorist group was heading your way carrying a bullet with your name, what would you be willing to do to get away?

Thus, is it any wonder that people sneak into better countries? Sure, when they come over it is an illegal action, but maybe it’s the process that is creating the surge for such acts of desperation? Many times, I have heard the argument, “Why should I let someone into my house?” and while this is a fair argument for personal security and possession, the argument becomes moot when the rest of the world is starving and your “house” is the only place with food.

A Reasonable Immigration Solution

We need a better system. Every country does, in fact. One that can speed up the immigration process while simultaneously vetting every individual that immigrates to a new territory. First, it should have different levels of processing depending on the situation. For those who are not in danger, they can apply, pay the fees, and, once cleared, they can move in good time. For those in danger, they can immediately enter the territory, but they will be placed into a “safe” zone. While in this zone, they will be free from harm, sheltered and cared for, but they will not be able to leave until they have passed vetting. If cleared, they can enter the territory and apply for a visa. If it is discovered that they have either a criminal background or criminal intent, then they will either be jailed and/or returned to whence they came.

Second, fees should be reasonable. Who really believes it makes sense to expect a destitute immigrant to gather a ridiculously large amount of money to pay a ridiculously large amount in fees? Fees should be affordable with the poor in mind. As an alternative, an immigrant can apply for a government loan, which they can use to pay their application fees. Obviously, once the immigrant is processed and allowed entrance, they can be helped to find work and pay off the loan. In this way, they contribute to society and the government makes money from both the application fees and the loan. If the immigrant goes delinquent on the loan, then they are removed from the country.

And third, for immigrants who are in the country illegally, there needs to a be a mandatory registry, so we know who they are. Registering does not mean they will be deported; it is only for documentation purposes. However, any illegal immigrant who is caught breaking the law and is not registered will be subject to deportation. This will help ensure that those who are here obeying our laws and wish to stay will make sure to register.

Once they are in the system, they can be reviewed case by case. Special circumstances, such as DACA recipients (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), refugee, or other victims of abuse will be given the opportunity to apply for a visa. Immigrants who have overstayed their visas will have an opportunity to renew their visa. Immigrants who have entered illegally will have the opportunity to have their cases reviewed by a judge. In all cases, those who are proven to be of good character and background will receive an opportunity to apply for a visa. Those who are found to be criminal, terrorist, or abusing the visa program will be jailed and/or removed from the territory.

That being said, what defines criminal activity for illegals needs to be clarified. For example, illegal immigrants who use fake IDs to feed, cloth, and shelter themselves and their families should not be defined as criminals but can be charged with a misdemeanor. Illegals who drive without licenses because they have no access to get one can be charged with a misdemeanor. Immigrants charged with misdemeanors should pay a reasonable fee and should not be subject to deportation.

Conclusion

Humankind is a long way off from realizing that although we are all very different, we are still the same. It is terrific that everyone has their own unique personality, traits, intelligence, creativity, and story to tell. That is what makes every one of us interesting. But remember, in the end, we are all human, living on the same rock we call Earth, our one and only universal home.

The President Show

The President Show is a new television series on Comedy Central with Anthony Atamanuik playing the role of our “beloved” President Donald Trump. The show aired on April 27, 2017 and has been pervertedly making it’s way into citizens hearts. So far, Anthony has spoken with the ghost of Andrew Jackson, wandered the streets of New York in front of Trump Tower, and interrupted a Trump political protest. The President Show couldn’t have come at a better time, when severe levity is needed to relieve the majority of the USA who feel worried and helpless that a bumbling buffoon is in control of our country’s highest office.

Anthony Atamanuik catches Trump’s personality and mood swings perfectly. The real Trump is infamous for being aggressive, dark, immature, ill-informed, and spouting random tidbits of racism, sexism, and lies. Anthony is able to take all of these and blend them together to form the complete Trump clone: emotionally unstable, childish, and ignorant. I’m pretty sure by the end of the show, Anthony will be sick and tired of playing this character. Who can be this immature for so long?

Personally, I have always loved it when comedians and Tv shows openly mock those in power. I can remember SNL and Comedy Central skits going overboard with their portrayals of Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Living in America, where we take pride in all of our freedoms, I fully appreciate the fact that we have a country where we are allowed to redicule and berate our leaders without fear of persecution.

If you’re the type of anti-Trump person who gets a laugh out of the stupidity that can only be our political system, then you’ll probably get a kick out of this show. Click here to check it out.

Free Healthcare

Free Healthcare

In a perfect world healthcare would be free. Have a cold? Go see a doctor and get medicine the same day, free. In an auto accident? Get those bones set, free. Have cancer? Get whatever treatment you need, for as long as you need it, free. Need pills? Free. Therapy? Free. Having a baby? Free.

It’s not a preposterous concept. Countries such as Australia, Sweden, France, the UK, and Canada already demonstrate that it works. As a country that is famous for adopting the cultures of others, why couldn’t the USA implement the same free universal healthcare and then brainstorm to make it even better than the rest?

From what I can see, there is only one main issue: funding. You may argue that another main issue with free healthcare are the waiting periods, but with the proper funding, those waiting periods would vanish once proper numbers of buildings and staff were implemented, which circles back to funding. So where does the money come from to support such a system? Taxes, of course!

Healthcare Taxes

If we implemented a free healthcare system, our taxes would go up, and at first they would go up a lot. Remember though, life still goes on in other parts of the world that have free healthcare and high taxes. Taxes wouldn’t necessarily have to remain high for very long, either. When we get the ball rolling, we have the power to improve whatever we feel like improving.

Healthcare Prices

Why does an ambulance ride cost $1500? Why does a heart attack cost $760,000? Why do cancer treatment pills cost $10,000? Simple: you either pay the price or die.

Doctors, drug companies, and insurance providers feel free to charge whatever they want because at the moment there are no regulations for anything. I have a pretty good hunch, though, that if free healthcare was a mandatory thing, the government would find a way to regulate and lower the cost of EVERYTHING because every US citizen from coast to coast would be complaining about high taxes.

Free Healthcare for All

Which would lead to an amazing effect: Once the healthcare system is regulated in an affordable way (as it should be in the first place), then prices would drop, followed by taxes. In theory, we could have a very efficient, universal, and free healthcare system, which once regulated could be mildly funded with taxes. As a bonus, and I know every person in the country would be thrilled with this one: No more healthcare insurance!