The latest “Divide and Conquer” trend in the United States is centered around the debate over which side is more patriotic—but a new study suggests that while many Americans claim to love the United States, only 25 percent of Americans could list the three branches of the government they so adamantly support.
According to the results from the annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey, only a quarter of Americans, or around 26 percent, can name all three branches of government, and more than one-third of Americans surveyed, or 37 percent, cannot name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.
Knowledge of the three branches of government—legislative, judicial and executive—is something many grade-school children are quizzed on, but the idea that adults in the U.S. aren’t aware of who makes up the government they are paying to create rules for them is unsettling. Even when money is being taken out of each of their paychecks, they still are not paying attention to who is spending it, and how its destination impacts the future of the nation.
Then there is the result from the survey that claims more than one-third of Americans cannot name the rights guaranteed to them under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Those rights—which include freedoms of speech, religion, the press and peaceful protest of the government—are now at the center of the great NFL debate.
When President Trump took to Twitter to call for NFL team owners to fire any players who took a knee during the National Anthem, he was violating the First Amendment. While a player’s decision to kneel may lead to him being fired based on the fact that his team is losing sponsors who do not support his actions, and the team’s owner now sees the player as a deterrent, his decision is acceptable because it is happening in the private sector.
… trump taking a veiled shot at colin kaepernick, says owner should say: "get that sonofabitch off the field right now… he's fired!!" pic.twitter.com/ttbOd0VrPG
— fake nick ramsey (@nick_ramsey) September 23, 2017
The National Football League is a private organization. Donald Trump is a government official. Ultimately, football players are hired based on their ability to bring in revenue for their team. If a player’s actions are impacting how much revenue his team is generating, then his contract will end as a result, and it is simply business. But when a government official interferes and demands his firing, in this case, it crossed a line between government and its citizens that is guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Whether Americans are aware of what the branches of government are, or what rights they have under the Constitution, they are still American citizens by birth. However, the survey found that more than half of Americans are also uninformed about the rights of noncitizens. According to the results, 53 percent of respondents “incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution.”
The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey is conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. It obtained results from 1,013 adults in the United States from Aug. 9-13.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, it was not until 2009 when the Department of Defense began “paying for patriotism” that NFL teams were present on the field during the National Anthem. Judging an individual’s love for his country by his demeanor during a song before a football game also begs the question: What’s Worse, a Kneeling Millionaire or 300,000 Vets Neglected to Death?
At the end of the day, true change is not going to come from the amount of controversy that is generated over a football player kneeling before a game. It will come when Americans stop getting distracted by “Divide and Conquer” propaganda, when they start becoming educated on how their government is spending the money it steals from their paychecks, and when they truly take ownership of their rights.