Originally published 9.2007
President “Childrens” is becoming test-obsessed! In the same issue of the New York Times, September 28 to be precise, I read about a new test for those who wish to become citizens and those who wish to eschew their residency in the hallowed halls–and no, childrens, these are not “deathly hallowed” halls . . . that’s completely different. On the subject of the former, I have to admit my stunning lack of suitability to contribute. My experience as a world traveler is limited to one hop from Detroit into Windsor for lunch at the age of ten. The trip did not go well. My sister created an international incident when she broke a catsup bottle at Le Cuiller Cheveux, and my father coughed up our contraband fireworks at the first icy stare from the Border Patrol. Since then, I’ve remained nestled in the loving arms of the contiguous forty eight.
On the other hand, why should that disqualify me? I got farther into Canada than The Cheney Gang had gotten into war. And hey, if the male Conservative bloc in Congress can rail against homosexuality without ever having kissed a man . . . okay, bad example. So here is my question: What is the point of giving a test to determine whether the person understands what it means to be an American? I have labored under the opinion that the reason we consider ourselves special is that we let people decide for themselves what it means to be an American. To that end I suggest scrapping the present test and replacing it with one that would serve more as an engine of day-to-day operational competency–like the written exam at the DMV. To Whit: here are a few sample questions:
The guy standing next to you in the field is:
a. Su Hermano.
b. More dangerous than all of the hundreds of uninspected cargo crates in the entire port of Los Angeles.
c. Wearing a wire.
d. Money in the Bank for Lou Dobbs.
Which of the following would make a person unfit to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America?
a. A combat veteran who won multiple Purple Hearts but did not properly appreciate them.
b. A combat veteran who came home from war with only one of his original four limbs and used the remaining one to wave a white flag of surrender in the faces of our enemies.
c. A combat veteran who came home and secretly produced then tried to hide a non-existent illegitimate non-white baby.
d. A guy whose daddy got him out of combat by getting him into the National Guard, then got him out of the National Guard because having to do all of those drills and take all of those tests was interfering with his short game, passed off a DUI that he got when he was thirty as a youthful indiscretion, and probably passed more coke at Yale than the entire New Haven Local of the Affiliated Brotherhood of Soda Jerks.
e. All of the above.
f. all of he above except d.
Who of the following is the most dangerous man in America?
a. Osama bin Laden.
b. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
c. Speedy Gonzalez.
d. Hillary Clinton.
I have some thoughts on the No-debt-burdened-college-student-left-behind exam as well, but they will have to wait until tomorrow. I need to go quiz my housekeeper on where in the federal organization chart she should put the Vice President.