Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Elected Officials are Ignorant and Other Things You Already Know

According to a recent survey by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, many of our elected officials here in the U.S. are sort of idiots when it comes to civil knowledge about their own country. It should be noted up front that these results probably need to be taken with a grain of salt, since the survey only included a sample group of 2,500 people, and only some of those identified themselves as “elected officials”, which could mean any variety of things. But still, of those elected officials, 31% couldn’t identify both of the U.S. enemies during World War II. Only 54% knew that Congress and only Congress has the power to declare war (unless, of course, they give that power up because the president asked them nicely). 20% believed the electoral college was set up to supervise the first televised presidential debate. Even if this survey is an accurate reflection of the civics knowledge of our elected officials, that still doesn’t excuse the fact that we’re the ones electing these people. Nearly half the electorate in this past presidential election were apparently comfortable with supporting a vice presidential candidate who didn’t know what the vice president does, and until that statement becomes absurdly realistic, I don’t think we have much room to complain. More details here.

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