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An original editorial from Appalachian Magazine —
I never realized just how plain dumb (for lack of a better word) the average American is when it comes to all things political… or all things commonsense for that matter… until I created a Facebook profile.
Today, my friends list contains thousands of individuals from across the entire political spectrum of modern-day America – they range from Evangelicals so straight laced they remember Jerry Falwell as being a raging liberal to red flag tote’n socialists!
For whatever reason, it seems to me that the entire nation is more political than ever before and each day, I find myself deleting dozens of “friends” due to the fact that I simply can’t handle any more of their unbearable political status updates, memes, and links to websites ending in domain suffixes I’ve never even knew existed!
These posts can range from crappy Photoshops of President Obama choking a newborn infant to insane memes about some Republican that is in no way based on anything factual. Still yet, all of these posts (from both sides) have thousands of shares and tens of thousands of “likes.” I would have hoped by 2015, we would be past the point of confusing The Onion for a real and credible news site, unfortunately, this is not the case!
For a nation whose very survival is dependent upon the wisdom of its people to choose among themselves leaders capable of protecting liberty, navigating the tangled web of post-9/11 geopolitics and somehow devising a plan to save our children from unimaginable poverty once it all does actually hit the fan, the reality of where we are as a people is terrifying to me beyond all words.
Yes, ISIS shooting and decapitating everyone in their path is certainly a problem that must be dealt with appropriately. Yes, the price of a college education in this country is something we should all be ashamed of… but above every other issue, the greatest threat to America’s national security and future is the ignorance of her own people.
In 2011, NEWSEEK asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test. The results were anything but laughable: 29% couldn’t name the vice president, three out of four people had no idea why we fought the Cold War, almost half of the people were unable to define the Bill of Rights and 6% of respondents couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.
Unfortunately, the NEWSWEEK study is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2006, the Associated Press published a survey that found more than half of Americans were capable of naming two of the fictional characters on the Simpsons. In contrast, a study from that same year found that just one out of 1,000 individuals was capable of naming all five First Amendment freedoms.
If you think that these results are nothing more than a decade old study that skewed heavily toward the uneducated, think again. Just a few weeks ago, satirist Ami Horowitz arrived on the campus of Yale University with a simple petition: “Repeal the First Amendment.”
Sixty minutes later, the video blogger had collected over fifty signatures from the Yale University community, demanding that the nation ban the single document that guarantees the rights of free worship, free speech, free press, peaceably assemble, and my personal favorite, freedom to petition the Government!
Say what you will, but the video doesn’t lie! These are educated morons, who are connected to a college that has graduated five U.S. Presidents, countless heads of foreign states, U.S. Senators and Supreme Court Justices… and over fifty of them signed on the dotted line to erase your most basic rights during the span of a single hour! God help us!
Some time ago, our nation realized that when it came to giving a voice to the people, we had failed to live up to the standards we set for ourselves in our founding documents. Though they were affected just as much as anyone else by the laws of the state, millions of people were being denied a voice simply based upon their race, gender and even whether they owned land.
In an effort to right this previous wrong, we’ve accidentally driven our vehicle into the ditch on the other side of the road. As a country, we’ve made registering to vote easier than applying for a discount card at Kmart and in recent years have worked to make voting easier than calling in a pizza. “Can’t vote on the specified election day, no problem, just come in whenever you feel like it and we’ll get you in.”
“It doesn’t matter how you vote, just vote,” I’ve often heard people say. Uhmmm… considering the fact that elections have huge consequences, I would submit that it actually does matter how you vote and if you don’t have enough sense to separate fact from what you’ve seen in the latest Facebook meme, for God’s sake, please stay far away from the polls on election day!
We’ve fallen into this crazy notion that the greater number of people voting in our elections, the better. However, considering the fact that 70% of Americans can’t find Iran or Israel on a map, I simply don’t follow this logic.
The unfortunate reality is that American society has placed a great emphasis upon getting involved in the political process and many are heeding this call, unfortunately, few are actually investing the time it takes to research candidates, issues and the parties.
Here’s the reality: both parties are lying through their teeth and making merchandise of the voters, yet because so few are thinking for themselves, every problem being wrought by both parties is only compounding. There may be a left wing and a right wing active in American politics, but both are similar parts of the same old dirty bird.
No longer are we capable of engaging in deep political discourse regarding policy, philosophical theory and Constitutional law – the sad reality is that America’s next president will be decided by people who get their news from Facebook memes.
Until the people of our nation wise up and see what is at stake. Until the people of our nation recognize that the party they have sworn blind allegiance to has been taking them for fools. Until the people of our nation understand that voting is not some flippant activity that is the latest fad, but rather the most important decision we will ever make regarding our nation, there is no hope for this country.
We are a nation at war. We are a nation whose national debt is reaching the tipping point. We are a nation whose middle class is vanishing from existence. Still, we are a nation whose greatest threat is the ignorance of her own people. Until the people of this country choose to actually shut-up about their opinions and take about six months to educate themselves about the things they should already know, we are and will remain a doomed people. How can a government for the people and by the people be expected to last, when the people are as ignorant as we are?
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