Fox News Channel Host Promotes the Idea of Jim Crow Era Literacy Tests for Voting

How else do we classify what happened today when Elisabeth Hasselbeck pitched the idea of bringing back a literacy test for voting?
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How else do we classify what happened today when Elisabeth Hasselbeck pitched the idea of bringing back a literacy test for voting?

Someone somewhere in the Fox News hierarchy, perhaps Roger Ailes himself, decided to toss aside the shackles of decency and progress in favor of becoming the network of Southern white supremacy. And why not? There's a market segment that's been ignored for far too long out of deference to morality and racial equality, so exploit away! Seize the opportunity to appeal to the darker instincts of angry white people fed up with political correctness and racial sensitivity.

This isn't unique to the Obama era, by the way, since it began on Fox News and AM talk radio during the Bush presidency. However, it's certainly grown louder and more frequent these days, given the angst about a two-term African American president, along with the ongoing immigration issue.

Am I seeing something that's not really there? You tell me. How else do we classify what happened today when Elisabeth Hasselbeck pitched the idea of bringing back a literacy test for voting? It's torn directly from the -- we thought -- archaic pages of the Jim Crow era when white leaders enacted various restrictions to not-so-subtly disenfranchise blacks.

In the context of recent polls showing an admittedly dreadful lack of civics knowledge by average Americans, Hasselbeck hosted a segment suggesting a "citizenship test" as a prerequisite for voting. Incidentally, while introducing the segment, Hasselbeck had trouble pronouncing the word "citizenship." I'm not making that up.

What if we took it one step further, as I just mentioned, into voting. Should we have to answer, I mean, the majority of these questions if not by graduation of high school, but by the time you vote?

Good luck with that since such a thing was banned by the Voting Rights Act. But there it is anyway -- to the delight of yokels who are looking for new ways to stop the impending brown majority. Now, I absolutely believe that civics education is badly lacking in schools and ought to be emphasized on the same level as math or science, but that's where it should end. The time of literacy tests ended 50 years ago. We're better than that. Or so I thought. Evidently it's still a popular notion within the Fox News demographic, so I'd like to propose that all Fox News hosts take a basic citizenship test on the air, without notes or prior knowledge of the questions.

I'm looking at you, Hasselbeck. See if you can successfully pass the following test. After all, you're delivering the news and lecturing us about civics aptitude, so why not?

1) Here's the first challenge from a 1965 Alabama literacy test. Read the following passage from the Alabama state constitution out loud without mispronouncing or flubbing any words:

SECTION 260: The income arising from the sixteenth section trust fund, the surplus revenue fund, until it is called for by the United States government, and the funds enumerated in sections 257 and 258 of this Constitution, together with a special annual tax of thirty cents on each one hundred dollars of taxable property in this state, which the legislature shall levy, shall be applied to the support and maintenance of the public schools, and it shall be the duty of the legislature to increase the public school fund from time to time as the necessity therefor and the condition of the treasury and the resources of the state may justify; provided, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to authorize the legislature to levy in any one year a greater rate of state taxation for all purposes, including schools, than sixty-five cents on each one hundred dollars' worth of taxable property; and provided further, that nothing herein contained shall prevent the legislature from first providing for the payment of the bonded indebtedness of the state and interest thereon out of all the revenue of the state.

2) Here's the actual naturalization citizenship test. Without using Google, or asking for help, see how well you do.

If you fail, Ms. Hasselbeck, will you voluntarily relinquish your right to vote?

I didn't think so.