Americans Really Have No Idea How Our Government Functions

Fri Sep 19, 2014 14:11:00PM

2009 Tea Party protest in Washington, D.C. By: Freedom Fan
A recent survey conducted by the Public Policy Center of Pennsylvania asked over 1,400 American adults to do a simple task that every elementary school child should know, which is to name the three branches of our federal government. The results leave me more than a little frustrated and despaired. Over one third of respondents could not name the three branches of government. More than one third!

Think that things can't possibly get worse from there? I'm sorry to inform you, but things get much, much worse from there. Nearly half of the respondents answered that they hadn't the slightest clue who was in control of the House or Senate; twenty percent of Americans think that a Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration; and last, but definitely not least, seventy-five percent of Americans have no idea how a Presidential veto is overridden.

This survey mirrors other surveys done by big and small firms alike for the past several years and is something that our leaders should look at with rising alarm. It also brings up a couple of issues that I feel need to be discussed further.

First and foremost, a misinformed and unintelligent citizenry will elect the type of legislatures we are blessed with today. Is it of any surprise why we have an entire movement in this country that blatantly panders to those who know little to nothing about the way our Federal Government functions? The Tea Party is a direct result of the willful ignorance that is rampant in this country and their pandering to the lowest common denominator may get them reelected, but it is terrible for the country at large.

The Tea Party, and to a greater extent, Republican Party, have found themselves in an untenable situation. I fully admit my bias when I suggest that most liberals and left-leaning people are not this willfully ignorant of basic facts. I may sound harsh, but there is only one party in our Government who preaches hatred of Government as a rallying cry. Is it of any surprise that so many people in this country actually take them at their word?

Another thing I feel needs to be addressed is immigration. This hot button issue is something that can not be ignored when we are discussing the willful ignorance of millions of citizens in this country. Birthright citizenship is enshrined in our Constitution, but it is something that has to be earned by someone who has immigrated from another country. The questions that so many of Americans spectacularly failed to answer correctly come directly from the citizenship test we administer.

I recall quizzing a friend of mine as she was readying to take the immigration test and she aced many of the questions many of our citizens haven't the slightest clue about. She studied day in and day out to learn about our system of governance and how it functioned. She later passed with flying colors and is now a United States citizen.

All of this shows that we get what we deserve when it comes to government. If we are apathetic and don't even know the most basic way our government functions then we can't be upset when our government fails to govern properly. And it's time for those who actually do know how our government works to step up and convince those who are apathetic that it is in their best interest to understand how their government works.

Do you think you can pass the citizenship test? If you answer yes then I encourage you to take the naturalization quiz and let us all know how you did below.
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Just took it. Got a 24/25. I missed on the Federalist Papers question; always got that backwards in school. Madison v Jefferson.. I flip flopped them in my head. Otherwise, agreed. Everyone should try their hand at the quiz. Good post.
2587 days ago
Replies (1)
I got 25/25, but I also had to take a few seconds before answering the Federalist Papers question as well.