American Political History 101 – QUIZ

Did You Know?

How many of the following FACTS (not opinions) were you aware of? Political history is not quite what we thought it was.

Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans have no real clue as to how well off they are or just how the United States ranks compared to other countries; they just BELIEVE they are the best.

How do you rank? No matter who you support for President, it is important to know the facts.

Some are positive, some negative, and which is which may depend on your opinion.

As Dr. Phil is so fond of saying, “You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge” (which is very Freudian and I find rather silly for a behavioral psychologist to say).

One Horrendous Fact

If there is one horrendous fact that should make you read further, it should be this because it matters to you and your children as much as life itself – literally.

Life expectancy is 78.73 years – the U.S. ranks 53rd in the world, five months longer than Cuba (we used to rank below Cuba). With their much-maligned free medical care, Canada ranks 13th and the U.K. ranks 30th. “Socialist” Sweden ranks 6th. I guess there really is a price of freedom.

On the other hand, the U.S. ranks first in horse (the animal) exports, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (we don’t eat much horse meat here).

Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans also believe in literal angels; according to a 2011 Associated Press-GfK poll (88 percent of Christians, 95 percent of evangelical Christians, and 94 percent of those who attend weekly religious services of any sort}.

70 percent now believe in global climate change.

36 percent believe in alien UFOs.

One Gallup survey shows about 75 percent believe most politicians take bribes. U.S. News and World Report says increasing numbers of Americans feel corruption is getting worse.

CNET (I used to work for them as The Locksmith columnist, Tech Republic) says two percent of people believe everything they see on the Internet. Time Inc. says 98 percent don’t trust the Internet.

Unfortunately, most voters appear to value ALL those facts about equally – that is, they are unaware of any of them.

flag painted on large barn
A typical Pennsylvania farm

Thomas Jefferson stated, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.”

More Facts; How Many Did You Know?

Wars of aggression (where the U.S. isn’t threatened in any way) are almost always started by Republicans although usually blamed on the Democrats who inherit them.

Vietnam’s civil war (Eisenhower sent the first “advisors”)

Marines who fought in Lebanon’s civil war (Reagan) suffered an attack on the Marine Barracks in which 240 U.S. service members died.

Grenada – the only ONE we really won (10×30-mile island, population 96,000 – U.N. member since 1974 and invaded in 1983 by Reagan).

Iraq I (Bush I)

Iraq II (Bush II)

Afghanistan (Bush II)

The “war on drugs” (that we are losing badly) was mostly begun and fueled to a frenzy by Nixon and the Reagans. Cost to 2014, approximately $1 trillion.

Debt and the size of government ALWAYS grow under Republicans.

Bush II added $4,900,000,000,000 to the debt

When Democrats increased the public debt a lot (Roosevelt and Obama), the country was in a Depression and had to borrow to feed our citizens.

The size of the national debt increased 190 percent during the Reagan administration.

The U.S. leads in:
Military spending (larger than the next top five countries combined)

The President of the U.S. is the world’s largest gun dealer/runner. (The world’s leading weapons dealers are U.S., China, Russia, France, and the U.K., the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council).

The number of people in prison (more than the next top ten combined).

Civilian gun deaths

First in women’s Olympic figure skating gold medals.

First in prisoners with 2.2 million out of 320 M citizens. China has 1.7 M incarcerated out of 1.36 billion citizens.

The U.S. Falls Behind the World In (U.S. Ranking)

Linguistic diversity (how many people speak or read two languages) – 115th

There are approximately 60,000 people held in slavery in the U.S., which puts us 67th.

Of the top 14 ranked countries, the U.S. ranks second In ignorance about things such as number of teen pregnancies, unemployment rates, and voting patterns, second only to Italy – in IGNORANCE.

66th in religious diversity, tied with Nauru.

The number of people who have confidence in President Obama is higher in 16 other countries.

23rd in gender equality between Burundi and Australia.

33rd in Internet service speed

46th in freedom of the press, next to Romania.

26th in child well-being, according to UNICEF


If you have any doubt as to why the middle class is failing in the U.S., consider education:

The U.S. ranks.
27th in science knowledge

34th in mathematics, behind Slovakia but above Lithuania (50 points if you can find an 18-year-old who can locate either country on a map of the world).

How Did You Do?

So, how did you do on the quiz? Think any of your friends or relatives (or favorite politician!) could do better?

Didn’t do well? Don’t feel too bad; most schools still teach that Marconi invented the radio.

First radio-related patent filed by Tesla in 1897; Tesla’s radio patent number 645,576 filed February 19, 1900; Marconi’s U.S. patent 1,148,521 filed March 9, 1918. Who you gonna believe, a high school teacher who majored in grading curve theory or the Patent Office and the Supreme Court?

Some Interesting Quotes

Here are a few quotes to think about if you think all this is silly (which it may be).

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835, “Democracy in America.”

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” – Thomas A. Edison

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” – Isaac Asimov

Some of the sources for data cited above (where not specified) include:

Wikipedia (ranked above Britannica for accuracy)

All data cited were verified by several sources.

BTW, if there is enough interest we’ll move on to tough but critical questions, such as what’s the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims and which country supports which in the current religious war?