Avedon Carol links to a Pew Research current events quiz that is mind-blowing. You can take it here (I expect everyone who reads Witness and/or Trenches to get 100%) and be amazed yourself before you read the rest of this.
Get them all, did you? Of course you did. Or most, I’m sure. There’s only one tricky question in the quiz. The rest are pretty much 6th-grade level. You would have to be living in a cave in Iceland not to know this stuff. Or that’s what you’d think after taking it. I mean, come on: “Is Hillary a candidate?” Give moi une break.
But look at the results. Only 3/4 of the respondents knew that. A full quarter of the people who took that quiz do NOT know that Hillary is running for president.
I mean, I’ve long since given up on thinking that the citizens of this country will ever know who their Reps and Sens are, even on a national level, forget locally. Thanks to FoxNews, I’ve just about given up on the idea that more than 10% of the people who watch the news on tv will actually have a clue what’s really happening in their govt. It doesn’t surprise me when more people know who Sanjaya is than know who al-Maliki is, and I don’t shake my head in despair any more when somebody says something like, “Democrats want to take away my hunting rifle and keep Christians from going to church.”
But when a quarter of us don’t know that the highest-profile candidate in either field is running, that’s cause for some concern. Isn’t it? I mean, even if you don’t read newspapers or watch tv news, you’d get that much through social osmosis, wouldn’t you?
Not surprising were the results of the two questions on the minimum wage. Only a third knew the answers. A third. That’s about what I would have expected.
But the real surprise for me came at the upper level. I graduated high school and took some college courses, though not long enough to actually pass them, and I got all 9. College graduates averaged only 6, and people in my age group even less: 5.
So much for the uses of education and the wisdom of age.
It’s stuff like this that answers the question troubling many today: how could enough of us have ever voted for George Bush to make the election close enough to steal? Not once but twice?!
We could do it because the vast majority of us are as ignorant as road tar. We don’t know anything, even the basics. At this level all the excuses about our busy lives, the plethora of demands on us, the stress we’re subjected to, etc etc etc is what my mother would call “hogwash”. We don’t have half an hour free to read a paper?
Oh, yes, we do but I’ve seen it and so have you: straight to the sports page, do not pass go, do not glance at that depressing front page, or else straight to the local news (what the high school is serving for lunch this week, who’s announcing a marriage or divorce, what day is that baked bean supper, when does hunting/fishing/trapping/football/baseball/basketball/soccer/hacky-sack season start, who had a baby and what gender and how tall and how fat and did s/he have hair), screw that crap about FBI spying and torture in Cuba and some stoopid election.
Not even a war can make us wonder what our so-called leaders are doing? Our kids are dying and we still can’t be bothered? Only half of us knew how many soldiers have been killed in Iraq so far. Half.
Jesus. I quit. It’s hopeless. It’s fucking hopeless. We are fucking hopeless.