"In December 1994, 57% of Americans had not heard of Newt Gingrich. In 1964, 62% of Americans believed the USSR was a member of NATO. Most Americans can't name any of their congressmen. Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans believe simultaneously that the federal government is too large and powerful, and that spending in almost all federal programs should be increased - that's a logical contradiction. Today, 70% do not know that a Medicare prescription drug benefit has been legislated, and 58% have heard 'very little' or 'nothing' about the USA Patriot Act. In 2000 only 57% of Americans knew that Gore was more liberal than Bush."
-Jason Sorens, PH.D.,Speech to SUNY-Fredonia Students & Faculty, October 21, 2005.
Statistics like these ones tend to make me shiver like the winds that blow on the coldest days of our fierce Canadian winters. I'm not saying that all Americans are as 'out of the loop' as the ones mentioned in these statistics, but that is precisely why things are going bad south of the 49th parallel lately--Katrina & Rita excluded, which were probably due to the oft-denied Global Warming that is causing weather patterns to become more chaotic--no, America is treading calmly towards becoming a corporation state, where the richest make the decisions and the poor hold up the ceiling of the house.
Democracy, or at least the strange hybrid we have turned it into, depends squarely upon the political involvement and ability to reason by most (if not all) of the citizens. When only the elite have the reins of power, they are bound to lead the rest of us astray.
What can be done to remind America that it is responsible for its own future? The populace must be reached somehow, not with attack ads or partisan pandering, but a genuine movement that will reach out to Americans of all walks of life and educate them about the political landscape.
If not, don't be surprised when China et al. begin to buy up your businesses, your land, and God-forbid, foreclose on the billions of dollars of debt owed to them for the past 5 years of excessive American spending. Also, you should definately learn how to speak Chinese, or even Japanese. The bosses will expect to be spoken to in their native language. The easy way out is teaching Americans how to vote (instead of staying home on voting day and letting extremists win)and teaching people about the laws that exist to protect their freedom and prosperity.