Political IQ: We Are In Deep Poo
“Are Republicans Better Informed Than Democrats?”
This is the heading from The Week.com that caught my attention because it implies that they are, and there’s no way in [our country's current political] hell that I will accept that.
But, regardless of my personal feelings, according to a survey carried out by the Pew Research Center, “Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey,” and “Republicans answered 12.6 of 17 questions correctly, versus 11.4 for Democrats…Democrats only outperformed the GOP respondents on one policy question.”
Are you frigging kidding me? How can members of a party that gave us I-can-see-Russia-from-my-house-Palin, carbon-dioxide-is-harmless-Bachmann, Obama-is-a-racist-Beck, George W. Bush, Rick Santorum, and the Tea Party be better informed than the Democrats? There are a couple of explanations for this. But in the interest of keeping this post short, I won’t go into them. You can check them out by clicking here.
I’m a Democrat and I got a perfect score
Instead, I’ll tell you what happened when I took the survey myself. I got a perfect score, 13 correct answers out of 13 questions. According to the results, I performed better than 92% of those who took the survey. Although at this point it might seem that I’m bragging, I am not. These were the questions:
1. Thinking about where the political parties stand on important issues, which party is generally more supportive of restricting access to abortion?
2. Which party is generally more supportive of increasing taxes on higher income people to reduce the federal budget deficit?
3. Which party is generally more supportive of reducing the size of the defense budget?
4. Which party is generally more supportive of reducing the size and scope of the federal government?
5. Which party is generally more supportive of creating a way for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to eventually become citizens?
6. Which party is generally more supportive of allowing drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?
7. Which party is generally more supportive of expanding the rights of gays and lesbians?
8. The initials “G-O-P” are usually associated with which political party?
9. Thinking about a few current and past political leaders, was Franklin Roosevelt a Republican or a Democrat?
10. Was Abraham Lincoln a Republican or a Democrat?
11. Is John Boehner a Republican or a Democrat?
12. Is Nancy Pelosi a Republican or a Democrat?
13. Which political party is considered to be the more conservative party on most political issues?
With the exception of question 1 whose formulation is a bit convoluted (especially if you’re multitasking while answering the survey), the questions are very straightforward.
What Does This Say About Our Democracy?
Anyone that lives anywhere in the U.S. (except in a cave), has taken a civics or U.S. history class in high school, watches CNN or Fox News, and/or reads newspapers should be able to answer all 13 questions correctly. That only 8% of respondents got a perfect score on such a basic survey is mind-boggling.
As Wayne Ezell of The Florida Times Union explains, “We’re talking about major issues here and only a few months before a presidential election. Many registered voters can’t say which party is more conservative or liberal or which is more likely to raise your taxes.”
Shit Poo! What does this low political IQ say about our society, our educational system, our political involvement, and our level of understanding concerning political positions that affect our lives and those of generations to come? What kind of a democracy can be sustained when the voters are so ignorant of basic political facts?
No wonder it’s been so easy for the Republicans to malign President Obama’s health care plan even though it was modeled on Romney’s. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is the surest way to allow manipulation and collective brainwashing.
Where is my country heading? How do we stop this? What can I do besides ranting and raving on this blog? I don’t know. The task seems huge. But I do know this, it’s the first time in my life that getting a perfect score has made me, both, happy and terribly, terribly sad.