Every Fourth of July, Americans gather to celebrate the country’s declaration of independence from … um, what country was that again?
If you answered the above question with the word “England” or “Britain,” you would be obviously correct. But a new Marist poll finds that more than a quarter — 26 percent — of Americans polled couldn’t bring to mind the name of the country from whom the original 13 colonies gained independence.
Results were especially poor among the young: Of respondents aged 18 to 29, only 60 percent correctly identified Great Britain. A full one-third were unsure.
Maybe history class was too long ago. Or maybe, as the New York Daily News would have it, Americans are “pretty dumb.”
Overall, 20 percent of the population answered “not sure” to the question, while six percent declared it to be a country other than Great Britain. “Among the countries mentioned are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain,” Marist reports.
China? Maybe all this poll tells us is that six percent of people who answer surveys like to screw around with them.
That’s a possibility that Jack Stuef at the Wonkette blog is ready to consider.
Consider that a good 10% of Americans probably have Alzheimer’s. Then another 5% are just regular crazy people. And probably 11% of Americans got offended that some annoying academic called them up during dinner to ask them this single, inane question and answered “the United States won its independence from the country of My Ass.”
Let’s hope Stuef is right. Or this country is in big trouble.
Tag: July 4
Jul 04 2010
Jul 04 2008
Samuel Johnson famously wrote in 1775 that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” In The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce made the appropriate correction: “With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.”
The past eight years proves Bierce’s thesis once and for all.
The remorseless gangsters currently in charge of the executive branch aren’t the first American leaders to falsely define patriotism to include torturing, racketeering, warmongering, privatizing, fraud, fecklessness, betrayal, incompetence, injustice, absolutism, corporatism, cronyism and horses’ assism. They aren’t the first to wave the red-white-and-blue while committing sedition against the nation’s citizens by lying them into a war. Nor the first to spy on dissidents of that war. Nor to treat the veterans of that war with public accolades simultaneous to budgetary disdain.
Nor, it must never be forgotten, the first to commit war crimes under a patriotic banner.
But these particular scoundrels have managed one new audacity: cramming the full roster of such behavior into two presidential terms. For this Herculean effort, the cabal of grifters who took over seven-and-a-half years ago surely deserve medals.
Jul 04 2008
cross-posted from The Dream Antilles
Lost in the July 3 rush to start July 4th partying is the
Commander Athlete in Chief’s announcement that he will support the athletes by attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. This direct, single digit salute to people who care about human rights in China and who are concerned about the continuing genocide in Darfur, was delivered to avoid outcry. Put another way, it reeks of cowardice.
The New York Times reports:
The White House said Thursday that President Bush would attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics next month, a decision fraught with international political symbolism that quickly drew criticism from advocates for human rights.
The advocates have been pressing world leaders to boycott the Olympics or at least skip the opening ceremonies to protest China’s violent crackdown after riots in Tibet and its support for the government of Sudan, whose Darfur region remains enmeshed in violence.
The leaders of Britain and Germany have said they will skip the opening ceremonies. For some time, the White House has said that Mr. Bush will attend the Games, but has refused to provide further details.
That changed late on Thursday afternoon. With most of official Washington already gone for the Fourth of July holiday, the White House press secretary, Dana Perino, issued a simple statement outlining Mr. Bush’s August travel schedule, including the notation that he would go to the opening ceremonies.
press secretary mouthpiece, who gives frequent evidence of being both utterly tone deaf and unable to distinguish facts from opinions, explained in an interview:
“This is a decision by the president that he really wanted to go in support of our athletes,” Ms. Perino said in an interview. Asked if Mr. Bush was making a political statement, she said, “He does not look at it that way, but we recognize that others may.”