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Fifty percent of Americans can name four characters from The Simpsons,” but only two out of five can name all three branches of the federal government. No more than one in seven can find Iraq on a map. Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid.
In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling author Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety: the wisdom of the American people. American democracy is as direct as it's ever beenbut voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power. At once a powerful indictment of voter apathy and political indifference, Just How Stupid Are We? also provides concrete proposals for reforming our institutionsthe government, the media, civic organizations, political partiesto make them work better for the American people. But first, Shenkman argues, we must reform ourselves.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Author's Note xi
1 The Problem 1
2 Gross Ignorance 13
3 Are the Voters Irrational? 37
4 The Importance of Myths 53
5 Giving Control to the People 67
6 The Power of Television 81
7 Our Dumb Politics: The Big Picture 117
8 Our Mindless Debate About 9/11 129
9 We Can't Even Talk About How Stupid We Are 141
Coda: Hope 171