America Has 99 Problems…

…But A Mexican Ain’t One Of Them

The face of modern day Mexico, actress Salma Hayek.

The face of modern day Mexico, actress Salma Hayek.

If you listen to any of the many Republican presidential hopefuls, the biggest problem America is facing today is illegal immigration from Mexico. It’s become the hot topic of both candidates and the media alike. By comparison, there’s been relatively little discussion regarding the candidates’ views on other topics such as the economy, environment, and foreign policy, let alone on issues like education, healthcare, tax reform, energy independence, and gun control.

I’m here to tell you, folks: America has 99 problems, but a Mexican ain’t one of them.

So why has the Mexican border become the primary focus of the Republican presidential candidates’ campaigns so far? Probably because it’s easy to oversimplify, meaning the candidates don’t have to put much thought into it and develop an intelligent, comprehensive policy to address what is actually a very complex and nuanced issue. They can simply say, “I’ll stop it.” And if you are a real lunatic, you can even claim – as Donald Trump does – that the money to do so will magically appear.

Plus, it plays to the fears of the base supporters of the Republican agenda. It creates an enemy, and positions the candidate as the savior. Which is a lot easier to do than addressing a real threat like ISIS or climate change, because those enemies are going to be hard to defeat. And the thought required to overcome such challenges, or to even intelligently discuss the options, is well beyond the intellectual capabilities of most candidates.

A Basic Intelligence Tests for Higher Office?
Which leads me to ask: why don’t we have an intelligence test to at least select our top presidential candidates? Would anyone have a problem with that? Seriously?

Assuming a candidate can pass a unilaterally determined level of basic knowledge, they would then be eligible to run for our nation’s highest office. I’d go for a mix of basic intelligence along with a rudimentary understanding of the issues of a the day: economics, science, political science, geography, and geopolitics. Maybe it would be wise to throw in a little history as well, since we are supposed to learn from it.

I’m not asking for in-depth expertise on the issues of the day. That’s why you hire experts (unless you are George W. Bush, and then you put a political crony, like the commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, in charge of FEMA, leading to the worst domestic clusterfuck in modern American history). I’m just asking for candidates that have above average IQs.

It’s a hard job, and an increasingly complex world. We’ve tried our richest and slickest for some time now. I think it’s a time we gave our best and brightest a shot at running this country. Is that too much to ask?