For all the effort spent getting people to the polls in this country, some people should really just stay home. I’m for liberty and the democratic process as much as the next guy, so this is just a suggestion. But seriously, when people become so politically apathetic that they don’t care to understand the foundation of their own civil liberties, we no longer have a mere low-information voters. We have no-information voters. Their votes are a danger to their own liberty and others, and although they have every right, no one should push them to vote for the sake of voting.
Heartland’s Logan Pike wrote about civics, or lack thereof, in modern public education. One interesting statistic is that less than half of eighth-graders know the purpose of the Bill of Rights. We can hope that they would pick up on the significance of the foundation of American liberty by the time they can vote. Unfortunately, this ignorance continues to plague some individuals for the rest of their lives.
You won’t believe the video below of American adults willfully signing a petition to kill the Bill of Rights. All the faux-petitioner asks is that they “support Obama” by signing a petition to “repeal the Bill of Rights.” It’s incredible. No matter how many times he repeats that they are signing to “repeal the Bill of Rights,” these men and women dutifully apply their signatures and go on their way. Watch it if you can bear it:
The video is quite painful to watch, but finally, at the end, one army veteran gives the idiotic petition a heartwarming, flat-out “no.” But the point still stands that America is producing no-information voters, and that number is rising. History scores are falling, and 42 states don’t even test their students in American government or civics. This ridiculous oversight leaves many young Americans politically blind and ripe for the indoctrination of the rhetoric of one politician or another.
Maybe it’s true that our education system is not exactly helping Americans remember why the Bill of Rights exists, but an even worse problem is widespread political apathy. Basic politics is not privileged information. Ali Ahmed, an amazing young student from Egypt, tells us in the video below that it’s freely available in the news, on the web, and from the people around us. “I use my brain,” he says.
In this case of “is an American adult smarter than an Egyptian first-grader,” the victor is clear. Twelve-year-old Ali stands in protest of the hijacking of his constitution, eloquently describes the problems of a fascist theocracy, and hopes that one day economic empowerment, freedom and social justice will be achieved.
I think Ali would be shocked to learn that within America—a country with a constitution and bill of rights he longs for in Egypt—exist people who care so little about knowing their most basic rights that they’d just gullibly sign them away. It seems unjust that someone like Ali who longs and fights for real freedom at so young an age is living in a country full of injustice and violence, while many Americans who enjoy freedom and stability every day don’t even bother know why.
To be fair, there are plenty of Americans who remain vigilant in defending freedom. Some of them are even in Washington. But in these days of government wiretapping scandals and IRS abuses, America does not need blind disciples of political parties. This country needs responsible citizens who take the initiative to know the foundations of freedom, spread the word, and vote for leaders who uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.