Are We Becoming A Nation of Know-Nothings?

A headline in today’s Huffington Post reads “ Palin Supporters Struggle To Explain Why They Support Palin”. Two interviewers from “New Left Media” recently camped out at a Borders in Ohio as people arrived for a Sarah Palin book signing. They asked basic questions about some of the important issues of the day. The responses were, in most cases, startling. Here’s a small sampling:

Q--What issues would she bring to office? Woman --“Oh gee.” Other Woman -- “Fairness, realness.” Woman -- “She’s gonna make a difference”

Q -- What difference? Woman -- “I don’t know, I never really thought about it”

Q -- What policy would she bring to office? Woman -- “Good Judgment”

Q -- Any specifics? Woman -- “I think she would get control of some of the spending”.

Q -- What’s some of the spending you’d like to see cut? Other Woman -- “All of it. All of it.”

Q -- What would you like to have her do on foreign policy? Man -- “I don’t know, I don’t have an answer.”

On its website, “New Left Media” describes itself as two guys and a camera. “We’re just getting started,” they say. Their questions seemed respectful enough but were they going for “gotcha” moments? -- watch the video and you decide. The answers they elicited were disheartening to say the least, but this is in no way an indictment of Sarah Palin or her supporters. If anything, it’s one more indication of the dumbing-down of America.

The US literacy rate is tied for 19th in the world. Most of Europe and the former Soviet Bloc are more literate than we are. Newspaper circulation in the US is down nearly 5% in the last 5 years.

Recently I served on a jury. The jury pool consisted of about 30 seemingly “average” suburbanites. The judge grilled us on general current events and about our reading and viewing habits. The results were woeful. Most sounded completely uninformed. About 70% admitted they read no newspapers nor watched any news on TV. Both of these are isolated incidents but, I suspect, symptomatic of a much broader problem; one we had better deal with. That’s my rant for today.

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