I felt stupid after reading an excerpt from "Ignorant America: Just How Stupid Are We?" by Rick Shenkman over at Alternet.org. After further thought, however, I decided that just because I have a sieve for a brain and don't retain facts and figures for more than a nanosecond, I've gotten pretty good at remembering the essence of a topic and can use a search engine to research details when needed. Not bad. I know my rights too. Apparently compared to most of the rest of the country, that's pretty darn good and you don't need a college degree to be able to do that. You just need the desire to be an informed citizen of the "greatest country in the whole world" and some reading skills.
What political scientists have researched shows that while we have access to more and more information these days than ever before in history, an alarmingly small percentage of the population actually use it. Couple that with what the corporate media deems newsworthy and you've got some pretty ill informed citizenry out there making our country ripe for a corporate takeover or fascism, if you will.
After reading that article, I read this one at Truthout.org, High Gas Prices Threaten to Drain Small Towns' Populations and figured that if so many Americans who live in rural areas have to drive so far to work every day, it's no wonder that people don't have the time to stay informed. They are simply exhausted and trying to make ends meet. And it is not like everyone remembers everything they ever learned in school about the US Constitution, especially not when you're making shit money 50 miles from where you live and wondering what bills you will skip paying this month in order to pay at the gas pump. When I commuted by railroad to my job in NYC every day for 10 years (Ford, Carter and Reagan), I had the luxury of reading the WSJ or the NYT every morning cover to cover with time to synthesize it. If I were driving, I'd be listening to music which is not a bad thing at all, but I'd probably not notice that the country was being taken over by bad guys and not really care.
If you read the first article, what do you think?