If you ask an American to find Brazil on a map, there's a good chance that he cannot do it. Not only Brazil, Texas also is a tough one. Do you wonder how many Americans own a passport or speak a second language? The numbers are astoundingly low. Especially when compared to the rest of the world. The need for better instruction in geography, history, and political science goes without saying. For a nation that considers itself to be number one, this is both unacceptable and terribly embarrassing.
Perhaps our schools are to blame here, has our education system failed us and forgotten to fill in some of the blanks? After all, until recently we all believed Christopher Columbus to be a hero. I know that I did until I came to realize that Columbus and his posse were nothing more than lucky plunderers, murderers, and cultural imperialists. We must demand fairness and accuracy from our school system and higher standards in our educators.
Perhaps our lack of understanding is further diluted when mixed with the pervasiveness of popular culture. The drive to empty the public's pockets by filling their leisure time with entertainment aimed at the lowest common denominator keeps us so inundated with trivial information that there simply isn't appetite left for sophisticated analysis.
I am sure more Americans can tell you about which celebrities are getting divorced, having affairs, etc. than they can tell you about the conflict in Venezuela or can name the leaders of Canada, Mexico, or France.
While we have been content to rest with only half the knowledge, it is in our best interest to do so no longer. While Americans are individuals, American foreign policy has rightly or wrongly, come to be interpreted as synonymous with its people. Since...