"Non-Americans of Reddit, what is your genuine reaction to what’s going on in America right now?"

Trump famously said “the world is laughing at us.”

Well. . . who’s the “shithole country” now, huh?


Historically, citizenship tests were a real thing. Problem was, the person who gave the test gets to decide the questions, and if the person taking them answered them correctly, regardless of what the actual answers were. It was used pretty much exclusively to keep certain undesirable elements of society out of office and from voting (eg, black people would always fail the test, regardless of how they answered the question (even if they were right, they were “wrong”), while white people were given much simpler questions and any answer was good enough.

Term limits I agree would be a good thing. Better yet would be to require a waiting period between terms (no consecutive terms) to cut down on the grafting for campaign donations.


As an American, I have to agree. I was born and raised in the American south, and I say the Confederacy should have been treated like the enemy nation it made itself. The South should have been burned down to the bedrock, its leaders hung as traitors, it’s social structure utterly destroyed, anyone who held any position of responsibility banned from ever again holding any kind of public office, and every big fancy plantation house burned and that ground salted. What was done with the South after the war was a halfway solution - a 50% answer. It is has been proven too many times that 50% answers produce 0% results. All they do is prolong the problem and move the final reckoning a little later on the calendar.

In 1865, the Republican party didn’t force a full-power reckoning with the South because they didn’t really care about slavery or what it did to people. They cared about preserving the Union and in preventing the rise of an antagonistic separate power on this continent. Slavery was a reason to go to war but the majority of Americans even in the north didn’t care about slaves or how badly they were treated. The Federal government back then didn’t care about justice or rights of black people. The USA has had 150 years of being poisoned by institutionalized racism because the Republican party in the 1860s was just like it is today - its members don’t give a rat about right and justice, all they really want is to cling to power.


I can’t even read all of those; it’s too sad. For a long time, no matter where I went in the world, I’d come back to the good ol’ USA and say to myself, “[fill in the blank] was nice, but I’m so glad to be back in America, even with its flaws.” Now I’m not so sure. I kinda wanted to find a way to stay in the UK last summer, Brexit or no…

On the other hand, when traveling, when someone asks where I’m from, I always answer “California” or more specifically “San Francisco” instead of “the USA”.


I agree with one thing you said. Term limits are pointless - it takes someone a long time to learn the ropes and establish the connections that are necessary to become actually effective. It’s not a good idea to throw someone out just when he finally reaches a point where he can actually accomplish something. But outlawing consecutive terms in office would be useful. Part of the problem in our legislators is that they spend decades in Washington doing nothing but playing political games, never listening to anyone but big contributors and corporate lobbyist bribe offers. They fall out of touch with the people who elected them and start thinking of themselves as Senators from Exxon and Representatives from General Dynamics. They should be forced to go back into normal life now and then and forced to relearn what real people think and care about.


I don’t see any reason to think a higher turnover rate in government would necessarily help. Bernie Sanders has been in congress for almost 30 years while Donald Trump is the first US President with no history of public service whatsoever.

As @dreamofthedarkstar notes similar tests have been historically uses to disenfranchise people from our political system. Like the “literacy tests” once used to disqualify minority voters, it would shift power from the voting public to the people in charge of writing and implementing the tests.


Fair point and I’m obviously not saying that. I mean to institute some intelligence metric, considering the same test an immigrant needs to pass to live here be a good starting point. I’m deeply sympathetic to the poor, under-represented, minority, refugee, etc.

I’m just trying to make it impossible for Mitch McConnell or Louie Gomert to even get in the door.

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How about no citizenship test, just an Asshole Meter, which would be developed by IBM to scientifically determine being a shithead with leaking oil for a brain and a dead twig for a heart. If Watson or some equivalent supercomputer identifies you as a pig headed divisive fool, you are not allowed to run for office. You’re also stripped of your vocal chords and maybe de-limbed.

Also, income and bank account numbers for any public representative should be public information, on a click. You’re a public servant, not a businessperson.

Just spitballing, as an abused American aware of the problem.

we’re number one. Rah.

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I’m tempted to say that as part of the political debates, candidates should submit to a test of their civic knowledge (take the test in public, and they all get the same questions and we all get to see their answers). Not as a disqualifying measure, just as to let the voters know how much they know. But in the end, most voters won’t care, or neigh, even downright prefer the candidate who answers blatantly wrong. The candidates would spout off answers that represent how they think voters wish things could be, rather than display any actual knowledge about the way things actually are.

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That’s basically what the Presidential debates are now.


I’m putting my own “genuine reaction” comment on hold to say…


If you put tests in place to block the path of “the unfit” to power, those tests will be designed by the people who are currently in charge to ensure that they stay in charge. Therefore, they will be determined to be “fit” by definition, and if you disagree, well, you’ll be determined to be the pig headed divisive fool who isn’t allowed to run for office (and maybe stripped of your vocal cords and de-limbed).

The solution to one bloc of people having an obscene amount of power and wealth isn’t to strip them of it and then hand that obscene power and wealth to another, previously disadvantaged group. It’s to set up structures that preserve equity and equality.


Ha, cheers. I’m being playful and a little flippant. I just am so disgusted with passes for representation. Agree with everything you’re saying, too, very respectfully.

More simply: Only allow people who want the job without financial gain to get the job. Make elections free, even funded by the state to guarantee best candidates. And make it a felony to make any money while in Washington representing a state. Easier?


That was the “promise” of mass incarceration policies. But, as usual, it built on, extended and accelerated existing inequalities.


The US always appeared like an older, stronger brother – now it feels like this brother started using meth.

paging Mitch McConnell, I think your state is being called out.

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As a Canadian… There’s always been this really awkward conflict in how I’ve felt about America.

On the one hand, it’s freaking terrifying living next to a military and economic superpower, even on its friendliest days. On the other hand, it’s been hard not to envy America for all of the great things it has been able to accomplish with its power and wealth. And on a third hand, there’s a profound disappointment because, with all of that power and wealth, and the aspirational ideals that define the nation of America, there’s the potential for so much more, and watching American politics just feels like watching this never-ending series of pratfalls.

How that is changing… the terror is still there. It doesn’t feel like it’s particularly increased lately; I guess I don’t feel like an invasion is particularly imminent (maybe an influx of refugees, but I’m more inclined to welcome those). The envy has just about turned into disgust. Even when America does achieve great things, these days, it seems like those great things are always tainted by some form of corruption or abuse. And the disappointment has pretty much morphed into pity, because at this point, it feels less like you have unrealized potential, and more like you had that potential, and it’s all but slipped away.

I really wish there was something I could do to help, but one thing America has provided a very good example of is that when an outside force tries to interfere with the internal politics of a country, it never ends well. You have to sort this out yourself, to whatever end. And I have no idea if you even can sort this out, at this point. I have some hope, because hope’s cheap, but not much confidence underlying that hope.

Good luck in your upcoming election, America. I have this bad feeling that you’re going to need it.



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My husband said his Canadian friends have said something similar: it’s like buying a condo and finding out your new downstairs neighbors are meth addicts.


Although I agree with you, just wanted to point out that this happened anyway. The U.S. did take over half of Mexico. Needless to say that the United States has had a very contentious relationship with its neighbors in Central and South America (to put it mildly). We joke down here that the U.S. government is now treating some of its citizens the way it treats invaded countries. It is a sad joke. Because it used to be that you could admire certain aspects of the so-called american experiment. It has become specially difficult to do so. Still, we tend to like the people that inhabit the U.S. So there is hope!


So another question, speaking as someone outside the US:
How will this play out?

And a further question: How is this batshit trumpian rollercoaster derailed?