Ok, anyone who caught this on the news today just absolutely knew I was going to rage. So if you’re young (or have delicate sensibilities) stop reading now.
Seriously. If you’re easily offended just stop reading right now.
To quote the “Fake Rahm Emanuel “Motherfucking shit fucking fuck shitters. What the fucking fuck motherfucking just happened?!”
That is an actual tweet btw.
I am, of course, referring to Newsweek reminding us how ignorant a large number of Americans really are today.
The weekly magazine recently asked a group of Americans to take the U.S. citizenship test, and the results were anything but encouraging. And the current anti-elitist, no-nothing mania promoted by right-wing Republicans and Fox News is only going to make our state of idiocracy much worse. Are you depressed yet?
Nearly one-third of Americans don’t even know who Joe Biden is. He’s our vice president, by-the-way you dumbasses.
I mean really? He says some of the craziest shit any V.P. has EVER uttered. He drops f’bombs routinely in front of live mics. If there was ever a V.P. you should remember, politics aside, it’s that guy.
Newsweek said it best, when assessing the state of things:
“They’re the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.”
Really? July 4th? Just makes me want to break out with a “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant.
Another question found that 73%, seventy-three-f%$#in’ percent, couldn’t identify why were fighting the Cold War. C’mon!!! That shit only ended two decades ago!!
Newsweek goes on to try to explain the startling results. Not surprisingly, our ignorance as a nation can be directly attributed to our shamefully high levels of income inequality, and a shoddy education system that depends on funding from local property taxes.
Poorer communities and those that place less of a priority on education, suffer the consequences with failing schools and poorly educated youth, ill prepared to enter today’s workforce.
The scary thing is Republican lawmakers in Congress and in state legislatures are taking an ax to education funding. The latest House GOP budget calls for the elimination of the Department of Education, because you know, the states are doing such a great job on their own.
Additionally with entitlement programs that help the poor get a leg up, are being slashed, helping to create a permanent underclass, the problem will only continue to worsen. To keep the poor quiet, right-wing lawmakers divide them with social wedge issues, playing on their fears and bigotry, so they will turn on one another, instead of demanding more from their elected officials.
It just fosters this nasty cycle of ignorance that people all around the country seem to wear as if it were some sort of a badge of honor.
What does it say about our country if, as I certainly believe might be the case, America’s newest citizens know far more about American civics and history than most native born Americans?
A couple of years ago, Newt Gingrich made a speech in which he proclaimed, “I am not a citizen of the world. I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous.” No, Mr. Gingrich says, he is an American–not a citizen of the world.
His statement encapsulates some of the ignorance of the politically far right (and brings to mind a fantastic essay by Martha Nussbaum, “For Love of Country?” which I would recommend Mr. Gingrich read).
This is a world of increasing complexity, one more interwoven than ever before. And this great country is one filled with immigrants from all different walks of life. On the 4th of July (6%???? wtf???), we celebrate the birth of this nation, and that’s a great thing. However, we should also remember to view ourselves, and our country, through the lens of today’s increasingly inter-connected world.
I am proud to be an American. But I am also proud to be a citizen of the world.
But most importantly, how the holy freakin’ hell can we lay claim to some form of American exceptionalism when we clearly don’t even know who the hell we are?