The real national emergency is we’re surrounded by fellow citizens who don’t know shit about the United States or its history. And Donald Trump is the predictable denouement of our dumbfuckery.
If you don’t really understand the Constitution, separation of powers, the respective roles of the executive and legislative branches, the history of tyranny, or our historical struggles against racism, fascism, and other odious -isms, chances are you’re a big Trump supporter.
That said, lots of people in lots of states — not just red ones — would fail a U.S. citizenship test. And they’re not all named Trump, either.
A majority of Americans in every state except Vermont would fail a test based on the questions in the U.S. citizenship test, according to a survey by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
By the numbers: A few highlights from the survey, conducted for the foundation by Lincoln Park Strategies:
- People did relatively well on the most basic questions. Seven out of 10 knew that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and that Franklin Roosevelt was president during World War II.
- But only 43% knew that Woodrow Wilson was president during World War I (nearly one out of four thought it was Roosevelt), and only 56% knew which countries we fought in World War II.
- Fewer than a third could correctly name three of the original states.
- More than six out of 10 incorrectly thought the Constitution was written in 1776. (It wasn't written until 1787.)
- Nearly four out of 10 thought Benjamin Franklin invented the light bulb.
These aren’t terribly difficult questions, and knowing how hardworking most immigrants are, I have no doubt most of them could quickly study up on our history and easily pass a citizenship test. And, I’ll wager, they have a much greater understanding of what America is really about than the Trumpian hordes who want to make America great “again.”
But if you’ve lived here your whole life, you should know the basics. And you should be able to spot a gormless traitor to our values and Constitution when you see one.
(If you want to try your hand at a sample test, click here.)
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