Friday, November 21, 2008

Are you an Informed Citizen?

A couple of recent surveys have revealed that many Americans don't know as much as they think they do about civics, history and politics.

A survey by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute concludes that "Americans Earn a Failing Grade When Tested on American History and Economics." There's a link on the site to take the quiz yourself and see if you fare better than a majority of your fellow Americans.
Even more startling is the fact that over twice as many people know Paula Abdul was a judge on American Idol than know that the phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people" comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker John Ziegler and Zogby Polling collaborated on a project to survey Barack Obama voters on major campaign topics. I want to emphasize that this does not reflect on all those who voted for Obama nor exclusively on Obama voters (McCain voters and others were not included in the survey). However, it does emphasis how badly much of the major media have misinformed voters about this year's candidates and campaign.

While I believe the Media are responsible for much of the misinformation revealed in this survey, particularly the greater knowledge of more trivial issues like Sarah Palin's wardrobe, I don't believe the Media hid the fact that Democrats took control of Congress two years ago. Even with all the Media distortion and omission, someone who was unaware of the Democrats controlling Congress after two years just wasn't paying very much attention to any source of information.

There is an individual responsibility for a citizen to be informed about how they are governed. If you are like me or most Americans, you already don't get enough sleep time, so it may be necessary to take some time away from something else you consider urgent or desirable to become more informed from various information sources about how you are governed.

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