Not every person is going to be smart enough to be a Jeopardy! champion or even get on the show as a contestant.
That said, everyone should have some basic understanding of United States history and be cognizant of current events. People are always talking about making it easier for people to vote, yet we should be more concerned about the voters who walk into a booth and don’t have any idea why they’re voting a particular candidate or ballot measure.
It’s not a good thing when people from other countries, preparing to take citizenship tests, know more about American history than the people who’ve lived in the USA their entire lives.
We should not have to stop and search our minds for answers to why we celebrate Independence Day or observe Memorial Day. We should know who the last vice-president was and whether or not Barack Obama is a Republican or a Democrat.
Americans should especially know that Washington D.C. was named after the first president of the United States, George Washington.
If there are American citizens who don’t know these rudimentary factoids, how is anyone expected to think they’ll understand more complex issues such as healthcare reform, tax policy, immigration, and cases before various courts? What makes it scarier is knowing so many of these people vote.
They can’t tell you Joe Biden was Obama’s vice president, but they’re casting votes.
Think of how scary it would be to question people as they left a polling station about who they voted for and why. We’d likely be astounded at the number of people who couldn’t articulate why they voted the way they did.
It doesn’t mean we should implement literacy or basic knowledge tests for potential voters but it does mean those running for office have to understand what they’re up against and adjust accordingly. At the same time, people should be ashamed if they can’t answer basic questions about history and current events. Do better, America.