And now this, on the eve of our 238th celebration of the Fourth of July:
A survey was fielded in 2011 by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at tiny Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Granted, the survey results are four years old, but how much does something like this change in four years?
Apparently, not much.
The results of the survey were buttressed just last week by another undertaking. Paul Joseph Watson, writing for the website infowars.com, tells of a fellow identified as Mark Dice, who shot video while he asked beach-goers in San Diego, Calif., to identify the year that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress, and to define in a few words what the Fourth of July represents.
Dice got way too many wayward answers.
One respondent said Independence Day is celebrated to recognize “the day that we overtook the South. … It’s our independence … from the South.” That was a cockeyed reference to the U.S. Civil War, which took place almost 100 years AFTER the Revolutionary War.
Another respondent guessed that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1964. Yep, she trumped her own ignorance — that’s what she said.
Survey question: “What country famously broke away from England to start their own country in the late 1700s?” One guy reportedly responded, “I have no idea, man. I don’t know.”
Asked the same question, another guy’s wife blurted out: “California!” Then the husband said, “I don’t know,” but he insisted that he’ll be celebrating the occasion anyway. And probably voting in the 2016 presidential election.
Now, back to the Marist folks. Their survey found that about 58 percent of the U.S. citizens who responded to the survey knew that the United States declared independence from England in 1776. That means 42 percent of us didn’t know. A full 25 percent of the respondents had no idea that the original 13 Colonies revolted against England.
The pivotal enemy of our republic is not chest-pounding Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It’s not omni-oppressive Communist China. It’s not the slashing and burning narcissists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It’s not Iran and its jack-booted pursuit of nuclear capability. It’s not North Korea’s saber-rattling idiocy.
The real enemy of the republic comes from within. The enemy is our own collective ignorance. And from that comes our willingness to be sheep, to accept whatever handout is given to us or, for far too many among us, to pocket whatever bling we can steal by scamming the system.
You cannot possibly know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. You cannot possibly improve upon success until you study and fully understand failure. You cannot possibly hope for a new tomorrow until you overhaul the dropout mentality of today.
Now, let’s celebrate our independence and what personal freedoms we still can enjoy.