While working out in Freedom’s Fitness Center one day, I noticed a problem: there were no children in the gym, no one under the age of 18 to represent the non-voting age. That is when I decided, to improve the health of our democracy, I had to do something to engage the youth of our democracy, something that would help emphasize to those who have not yet voted the importance of being a citizen of reason in order to improve the health of our democracy. That is when I had the idea for a contest. After fleshing out the details of the contest, next to the Democracy Games, I posted the below advertisement for the contest.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be. -Thomas Jefferson
In our democracy, there are no written laws that mandate citizens must pass a standard test of their knowledge before they can vote. People are free to be as ignorant as they want and still participate in the democratic process. But, for a democracy to be strong, it is fundamental for an electorate to care about knowledge and be informed.
There are many threats to democracy, and there should be initiatives taken to counter each. But those threats cannot be adequately defeated unless the foundation of democracy, an informed electorate, is strong. The goal is for the FREEDOM from FreeDUMB ConTEST to become a symbol that inspires citizens to declare freedom from the freedom to be uninformed or dumb before they vote, and instead write on their heart and mind the law that they should have a basic nonpartisan knowledge of history, government, policy and current events if they are going to vote.
1. Create a nonpartisan test, similar to a civics test, that reflects the kind of basic knowledge United States citizens should know before they vote. The test should be able to be taken in under twenty minutes.
2. Only people under 18 can participate.
a. The reason is because those under 18 have not yet exercised their right to be as ignorant as they want before they vote.
b. The goal is to help establish within the next voting generation the habit of being an informed citizen.
3. Once the winner(s) are chosen, the test(s) will be made available on the contest website the month before the election for all voters to take. By taking the test, voters will show the youth, the next generation, that they believe a strong democracy requires voters to be informed.
4. During the open period for the youth to submit their test, on the contest website grownups can declare that they will take the Freedom from FreeDUMB test by filming themselves taking the following pledge:
FREEDOM from FreeDUMB Pledge
I, YOUR NAME, pledge that I will take the FREEDOM from FreeDUMB test. If I am going to participate in our democracy by voting, then I think it is important to be an informed citizen. For that reason, if I do not pass the test, I will not vote.
5. A study guide with the answers will be available before the test is given so everyone who takes the test can memorize the answers. So failing should be easy to avoid.
6. What does the winner(s) win?
b. The opportunity to personally administer their winning test to their favorite American celebrity from a list of celebrities who took the Freedom from FreeDUMB Pledge and agreed to participate.
a. Five thousand tests submitted
b. One hundred thousand voters take the pledge and winning test(s).