( – promoted by buhdydharma )
In “Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society”, Education Portal reports that 50 percent of adults in America cannot read a book written at an 8th grade level. 20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level. 42 million American adults can’t read at all. The number of American adults classified as functionally illiterate increases by about 2.25 million each year.
Many of those people are Teabaggers . . .
Yeah. That’ll help.
Finding America on a map is also a problem. According to National Geographic News, 11 percent of young Americans can’t locate the United States on a map. The location of the Pacific Ocean is a mystery to 29 percent, 58 percent don’t know where Japan is, 65 percent don’t know where France is, 69 percent don’t know where the United Kingdom is.
Knowledge of current issues and historical events is just as abysmal. Saul Friedman notes that 34 percent of Americans still think Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, nearly one-third of Republicans don’t believe Obama was born in the United States, more than two-thirds don’t know what’s in Roe v. Wade, 24 percent could not name the country we fought in the Revolutionary War.
Many of these people vote, with predictably appalling results. According to Freedom Daily . . .
Political scientist Michael Carpini analyzed thousands of voter surveys and found that there was “virtually no relationship” between the political issues that low-knowledge voters said “matter most to them and the positions of the candidates they voted for on those issues. It was as if their vote was random.
Low knowledge voters comprise 36 percent of the electorate and provide the deciding margins in almost all contested congressional and presidential elections. Here in the 21st century, with multiple crises facing us, with the worst crisis of all–global warming–steadily intensifying, we have little if any chance of dealing with any of these crises through the political system, because our elections are not decided by the well-informed voters who make rational decisions in the voting booth, they’re decided by the voters who have no fucking idea what’s going on.
That problem is compounded by the ultimate problem–entrenched corruption throughout America’s economic and political systems. The same criminals who control those systems control the government and use it to expand their power. The 9/11 cover-up, the war on terror, the Patriot Act, the occupation of Iraq, the gutting of regulations, shock doctrine capitalism, the economic meltdown, the big bank bailouts, the rise of Hopey McChange to incite the rightwing base while ultimately demoralizing the Left, the epidemic of filibusters, the complicity of Democrats in the healthcare reform failure, the escalation in Afghanistan, the tidal wave of corporate money that’s going to drown us all while the politicians do nothing about it are all proof that the orchestrated destruction of American democracy is in its final phase.
FDR said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
None of those democracy killing events happened by accident. It was all planned that way. What else can we conclude? Overwhelming evidence of it is staring us in the face.
Progressives are demoralized. We have reason to be. This looks like a hopeless fight. But we have something the corporate killers of American democracy don’t have. We have the truth. It might not be enough, we may not be heard as the storm of corporate propaganda intensifies, but if the corporate masters if this country take us down, if that is our fate, we are going to go down telling the truth.
In Artists of Resistance Howard Zinn wrote . . .
Whenever I become discouraged, I lift my spirits by remembering: the artists are on our side, those poets and painters, singers and musicians, novelists and playwrights who speak to the world in a way that is impervious to assault because they wage the battle for justice in a sphere which is unreachable by the dullness of ordinary political discourse.
The great writers of the world have always been on the side of the oppressed, from Dickens to Tolstoy to Balzac to Steinbeck. Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote five powerful lines that epitomize revolution, five powerful lines that just might resonate across America when its corporate masters indulge their insatiable greed one too many times . . .
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew,
Which in sleep had fallen on you.
You are many–they are few.
Too many Americans can’t read, too many of them are uneducated, too many of them don’t understand politics or economics. But they know massive corruption when they see it, they know the system is broken, they know the politicians don’t give a damn about them. Everything has been corrupted, language itself has been corrupted by the corporate masters of this country, doublespeak is so pervasive in American politics that nothing any politician says has any meaning anymore.
But for the many, having no job has meaning. Having no future has meaning. Having nothing left to lose has meaning. This war for America’s soul isn’t over yet. If progressives keep telling the truth, there’s still a chance the American people will hear us and rise like Lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number, to take back their government.
Together, we can write a shining new chapter in this book . . .
A chapter of redemption, filled with words that will have meaning again, words like social justice, words like the rule of law, words like We the People, words that will live on and guide a new America through the years to come, words the fallen corporate masters of the old America could not kill because we would not let them die.