Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: Why many Americans know very little about their own country

Talking Points 2/17


By Bill O'Reilly

You may remember on Election Day last November I said that America is a changing nation, which is why President Obama had a fairly easy time winning re-election. The dishonest liberal media took that as a lament that I was whining about the election results that was a lie. I was simply reporting, giving you the facts about a dramatically changing America.

A recent study by "Newsweek" asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take the same test that is given to foreigners who want to become American citizens. By the way, about 92 percent of citizenship applicants passed that test so immigrants do well. But we, the people, do not.

Among U.S. citizens, 29 percent could not name the Vice President Joseph Biden; 43 percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights; 40 percent do not know America fought Japan and Germany in World War II -- 40 percent; 73 percent do not know communism was the main concern of the Cold War; and 67 percent of American citizens do not know that our economic system is capitalism. That's a disaster.

So what's going on? It's quite clear that the public school system is a main culprit. It's no longer teaching history, geography or civics in an effective way. I'm generalizing I know there are some good schools but most public schools could not care less about instructing young Americans how their country works.

Number two, the Internet has created a generation of self-absorbed, addicted, distracted and ignorant people. The powerful machines, hand-held many of them, are diverting a lot of Americans away from real life. You can now create your own world on the net devoid of reality and millions of Americans are doing that. The result is that a very few shrewd people are now wielding enormous power.

Many Americans are voting for what they can get, not for what is best for this nation. And both the Republican and Democratic parties know it. Therefore we are a country in decline primarily because 320 million American Americans citizens aren't paying attention. They do not seem to be interested in the welfare of their country. They are primarily interested in their own welfare.

Once again, I'm generalizing and a I have a caveat. I'm not pandering here. Those of you watching this broadcast right now are most likely not in the ignorant category. You are taking the time to watch a news program to get information and analysis. But if you add up all the Americans who watch TV news and read the newspaper, it is a minority not a majority. Finally with the Internet now dominating American life the situation will most likely get worst.

One last stat according to a poll by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, just 25 percent of Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms the First Amendment guarantees. They are: speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for the redress of grievances.

Again, just 25 percent ok, could name more than one of those. But more than half of Americans can name at least two members of the Simpsons cartoon family.

And that's "The Memo."