July 27, 2008 The Ignorant American Voter Q & A: Rick Shenkman By Bret Schulte June 23 / June 30, 2008 Rick Shenkman recently spoke to U.S. News about” The ignorant American voter.”According to my conclusion, this is something that needs to be addressed. His statement, “This is an American manifesto about something that is really wrong with the country. It leads me to doubt the wisdom of America’s leaders, and he cites some damning facts to make his case. Only 2 out of 5 voters can name the three branches of the federal government. I like the fact that he tries to compare Americans today with Americans of the past. We have the world’s most powerful democracy, but do we really know who we are voting into office? Do we ask enough questions about the candidate running for the Presidency, senate and house? When 49 percent of Americans think the President has the authority to suspend the constitution, something is wrong. I think Mr., Shenkman is probably right. I know I don’t know enough about the issues as I should. I will admit I have a problem, but I hope I’m just not plain stupid. I did understand the invasion of Iraq and was very disturbed by it, and I do agree it is hard to have confidence in our democracy. I disagreed with his statement about Americans getting most of their information on 30-second commercials. I think programs like CNN let us know the issues, and I know lots of people who use these programs for their sources of information. We do have a lot of things wrong in our country, and I realize we have to take responsibility as voters. I think Mr. Shenkman is right about the suggestion of [freshman] taking a current events quiz weekly. I know since I’ve been in this class I’ve learned a great deal more about our government and the responsibility of voting. So , you are playing a part to “un-dumb” the American voter.