The new issue of Newsweek poses an interesting question: Just how much do we know about our own country? According to the data, not much. The magazine polled 1,000 adults with questions from the United States Citizenship Test, and 38 percent failed.
Some other stats include 29 percent being unable to name our current vice president, and six percent didn’t know when Independence Day was.
As we all know, stats can say anything you want, but Andrew Romano makes a good point:
For years, Stanford communications professor James Fishkin has been conducting experiments in deliberative democracy. The premise is simple: poll citizens on a major issue, blind; then see how their opinions evolve when they’re forced to confront the facts. What Fishkin has found is that while people start out with deep value disagreements over, say, government spending, they tend to agree on rational policy responses once they learn the ins and outs of the budget.
In other words, education is the key to making all things better.
If you have a minute, go ahead and take the Newsweek quiz, and see how you do. And please, don’t alert any birthers to this story. Obama has bigger things to worry about right now.