America the Ignorant

Megan Smith, Sports Editor

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The United States, since its origin, has inserted itself into almost every major world conflict and discussion about international affairs; its citizens, however, know incredibly little about the realities of these conflicts and discourses. According to National Geographic, the average score on a test about geography, current events, and economics and trade was 55 percent, when given to Americans aged 18 to 26.

Asked to name the United States’ largest trading partner, most got it wrong, saying it was China. Only 10 percent correctly answered Canada. Most respondents also overestimated the extent of Mexican immigration to the U.S.—another key issue in [the 2016] election cycle. Two-thirds did not know that the number of Mexicans exiting the U.S. actually exceeds the number that enter.”

— National Geographic, 2016

How are Americans supposed to elected educated leaders when they know next to nothing about the facts that back issues like climate change, trade and immigration? Even some candidates have a very thin grasp on some of these concepts; in the 2016 Presidential Election, Libertarian Gary Johnson failed to recognize Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, when talking about the war in Syria. This type of ignorance is a threat to American democracy and independence, because if our electorate doesn’t know anything about the rest of the world, how are we supposed to understand the stances of the politicians we elect to local, state and federal office?

We, as a country, need to become more aware of the world outside our borders.

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