When asked to identify the three branches of American civil government, only thirty-six percent of Americans were able to. Which means that sixty-four percent of Americans, a very large majority, are entirely ignorant of the most basic facts of American government:
Annenberg released the survey in partnership with the Civics Renewal Network, a group of 25 nonpartisan organizations including the Library of Congress, the Newseum and the National Archives that offers free civics education resources.
Other groups, like the Civics Education Initiative, are pushing to include more civics education in high schools by requiring students to pass the same citizenship test that immigrants do when they come to the U.S. That group will introduce legislation in seven states that would require passage of the citizenship test before graduating.
So let’s set aside immigration reform for just a minute. The fact is that the vast majority of Americans could not pass the US immigration test that we require foreigners to pass before they can become citizens. I don’t think that’s fair exactly. And it certainly isn’t good for the country.
It’s likely that most of the Americans who don’t know jack about American civics still vote. And it’s likely they have no idea that there are boundaries between the branches of government. For instance, neither the executive or judicial branch can write laws or appropriate money.
This might come as a surprise to voters who want the Supreme Court and the President to basically make laws concerning homosexuality or minimum wage. If citizens don’t hold the branches of government accountable to abide by their constitutional restrictions, is it any wonder that the branches of government are entirely out of control?
Perhaps some version of the immigration test should be used for potential voters. I’m sure Democrats would argue that such a test is racist or whatever. But if you can’t become a citizen without knowing this stuff, doesn’t it follow that you shouldn’t be able to exercise the rights of citizenship if you don’t know it?