Debunking False Perceptions of American Intelligence



Jimmy Connor

A common misconception of American politics is that the citizens are uninformed and clueless when it comes to anything that is related to the business of Washington D.C. While this may be the case in some instances, it does not mean that Americans are incapable of holding credible opinions on political topics. 

I take great issue with the occurrence in which political scientists read off statistics of how many people fail to name their state’s senators or the current Secretary of Defense. Honestly, does knowing these names really matter? They are just statistics that are cited to attempt to feed into the conception that Americans are stupid and cannot be trusted with their voting rights.

First, if Americans are truly stupid and clueless like many falsely think, America would not be the country that it is today. The fact is that we still have a country with a functional and effective government without its people rioting in the streets every single day. While America has problems that should seriously be addressed, such as the economy and national security, it is evident that Americans can be trusted with electing our representatives. 

If Americans are stupid, why do we have the most creative innovators within our borders? Why are we the leader of the global economy? Why do people from foreign countries seek entrance to America and not the other way around? Why are we the best example of democracy around the world? If anyone tells you that Americans are completely and utterly stupid, then they are the ones that are lacking the intelligence.

There are going to be ignorant people in every society. America has a population of more than 300 million people. It is completely normal for our country to have a faction of people whose opinions are based on falsehoods and unethical morals. The media is an influential player in perpetuating the story line that Americans are stupid. I have seen countless segments of TV shows in which people are interviewed, and they don’t recognize influential figures on Capitol Hill or in the White House. However, these same TV programs fail to show their audiences all of the people who correctly did recognize those faces. The reason the media does this is so it can assert that it knows better because Americans are stupid, and as a result, push their agendas more easily. 

Every presidential election cycle, many complain that Americans have nominated two terrible choices. That complaint is even more evident in this year’s presidential election with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But, guess what? All of our presidents have done a decent job. I know that is a debatable statement. But, America is still here. We are alive and well. We haven’t had frequent massive attacks from foreign entities on our soil. I feel safe in my home. I feel the power of my rights. We have free speech. We have freedom. Political scientists say we are so dumb that our country is going to crumble right beneath our own feet and that democracy won’t be able to survive. They have been saying this for decades. They are still wrong and continue to be wrong. Why? Because Americans aren’t stupid.

I have heard the argument that the American government should only let people that pass a knowledge test of American politics to vote. This is idiotic. Everyone who is a citizen has the right to vote. If a government is allowed to choose who is and isn’t allowed to vote, then that creates the perfect recipe for an elitist society in which the same officials in government can hold on to power for an indefinite period of time. 

 In the grand scheme of things, America is a working country whose citizens are proud to be Americans. We are the leaders of the free world in this constant global struggle for power. Our people are free. If Americans were stupid, trust me, we’d have much bigger problems on our hands.