“I’m the bad guy for saying it’s a stupid country,” Bill Maher said during last Friday’s New Rules rant, “yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don’t know what’s in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don’t know what the Food and Drug Administration does.
“Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.
“Not here. Nearly half of Americans don’t know that states have two senators and more than half can’t name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only 30% got their wife’s name right on the first try.
“Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll says 18% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they’re not stupid. They’re interplanetary mavericks. A third of Republicans believe Barack Obama is not a citizen, and a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence because it contains the words ‘Bush’ and ‘knowledge.'”
“They have always been with us, the people who believed in manifest destiny, who delighted in the slaughter of this land’s original inhabitants, who cheered a nation into a civil war to support an economic system of slavery that didn’t even benefit them. They are the people who bashed the unions and cheered on the anti-sedition laws, who joined the Pinkertons and the No Nothing Party, who beat up Catholic immigrants and occasionally torched the black part of town. They rode through the Southern pine forests at night, they banned non-European immigration, they burned John Rockefeller Jr. in effigy for proposing the Grand Tetons National Park.
“These are the folks who drove Teddy Roosevelt out of the Republican Party and called his cousin Franklin a communist, shut their town’s borders to the Okies and played the protectionist card right up until Pearl Harbor, when they suddenly had a new foreign enemy to hate. They are with us, the John Birchers, the anti-flouride and black helicopter nuts, the squirrly commie-hating hysterics who always loved the loyalty oath, the forced confession, the auto-de-fe. Those who await with baited breath the race war, the nuclear holocaust, the cultural jihad, the second coming. They make up much more of America then you would care to think.”