Here’s what you need in your life: another rule, another requirement, another mandate to continue your good standing as a citizen of this nation.
President Barack Obama floated one this week. The man who brought us mandatory health care now suggested another “mandatory” — voting.
“Other countries have mandatory voting,” he said in Cleveland. “It would be transformative.”
He added an important idea. If everybody cast a ballot, that would “counteract money more than anything,” Obama said. He was referring to the billions in campaign donations that now rule politics.
The president might be right. In an era when all kinds of people are trying to come up with ways to offset the incredible influence of the almighty dollar, the simplest idea of them all — actually going to the polls and filling out a ballot — might be the one that trumps all those millions.
Just 37 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2014 midterm elections. That translates to 144 million Americans who opted not to weigh in on who represents them as governor or in Congress.
Yes, mandatory voting has its problems, beginning with the idea that such a law would require folks who couldn’t care less to vote alongside those of us who do care.
Just because this would help Democrats doesn’t mean you should dismiss it.
Not that it’s going to pass any time soon.
But another proposal appears headed toward the goal line, and it’s backed by Republicans. Missouri lawmakers are inching toward a mandate requiring high school students to pass a citizenship test before they receive diplomas.
The thinking: We require immigrants to pass these tests to become full citizens. We should do the same for natives.
“A lot of kids are getting out of school and they don’t even know how any of this works,” said Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican.
Silvey is moving a bill in the Senate. A similar House bill passed 131-23. If Republicans — typically hostile to government requirements — are willing to pass a mandate, you know things are bad.
Missouri isn’t alone. Arizona passed a first-of-its-kind law in January requiring students to pass a test. A half dozen other states are considering the same thing.
So who becomes president if both the president and vice president can no longer serve? Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
Knowing all this used to be optional. It might not be anymore.