It’s up to us to learn more about government
Published 9:43 am Thursday, October 9, 2014
People nationwide say they’re sick and tired of the government, yet a recent survey shows few know exactly how it works.
According to a poll released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, more than a third of Americans can’t name a single branch of the government.
That about matches the proportion — 36 percent — for those who could name all three: the legislative, executive and judicial.
The poll, conducted in July, surveyed 1,414 adults and had a margin of error of 3.06.
The numbers were not much better when the question of how the three branches works was asked.
According to the center, only 27 percent of those polled correctly answered that it takes a vote of two-thirds of the House and Senate to override a veto.
What these numbers really show is a lack of interest by Americans in just how their government works.
There could be many reasons for this, but one thing is for sure: We really can’t complain about the type of government we get when we’re not participating in the process.
Truth is, we often get what we deserve.
This seems especially important during this political season. There is an awful lot on the line, and it’s up to us to expect — even demand — more from those we vote into office. They work for us, not the other way around. But if we’re uninterested, that sends the wrong signal to Washington.
We should have the ultimate say in the government’s check-and-balance system, but we can only do that by doing our homework and taking part in the process.
This fall, Democrats and Republicans are staging a state-by-state battle for control of Congress. Each race up for grabs has the potential to be the swing vote for the next two years.
At stake is the future direction of our nation from education to health care and all parts in between.
Yet according to the poll, only 38 percent of those surveyed answered correctly that the Republican Party was the House majority.
Seventeen percent said it was the Democratic Party, and a whopping 44 percent didn’t know or didn’t have an answer.
The numbers were about the same for the Senate, where the Democrats are now in control.
The fact that so few of us seem to have any knowledge or interest in our government is stunning. We have taken for granted the privilege and responsibility it is to have the right to vote.
Yes, we get what we deserve when it comes to our elected officials, but we deserve more.
It’s up to us to not only demand it, but become part of it.
While we many never lose the right to vote in this country, until we take more interest in the process we should lose the right to complain about the outcome.
It’s up to all of us to learn more about our government.