September 3, 2007
Miss Teen USA and
the Ignorance of U.S. Americans
For those of you who
missed the greatest words spoken in beauty pageant history, here is the
response given by Miss Teen South Carolina in the recently held Miss
Teen USA pageant to the question, “Recent polls have shown a fifth of
Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this
believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people
out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, uh,
education like such as in South Africa, and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere
like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over
here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa, it
should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build
up our future . . . for our children.”
And this young woman
serves as a role model for little girls in South Carolina and much of
America. Maybe more disturbingly, she gets to vote for the people who
run our country. She will probably even reproduce some day.
Now, perhaps it is
not fair or very nice to pick on her. She is, after all, young and was
facing a big audience that reasonably made her nervous. And she has
since redeemed herself, somewhat at least, by explaining how tense she
was at that moment.
But nervousness is
still not an excuse to speak of “the” Iraq and bundle it with South
Africa, the Asian countries and everywhere like such as. And sadly, Miss
Teen South Carolina is certainly not alone in ignorance. She is one of
the countless victims of our now-prevalent bigotry of low expectations.
Miss Teen Colorado
was asked, verbatim: “This is an important one: So who do you prefer,
Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie or Lindsey Lohan, and why?”
Another judge posed
a “difficult” question: “At what point in life do you think you
officially become a grown up?”
“That’s a tough
one,” the contestant answered, “I would say, hmm, when you can realize
what is right and what is wrong without your parents’ help.”
Miss Teen North
Carolina eloquently articulated that the greatest risk she took in her
life was snowboarding in Canada because it’s a lot harder than in North
Carolina. Miss Teen New Jersey explained that the skill most lacking in
teens today was public speaking. Luckily, that answer was quite
appropriate in the context of that particular evening. But on any other
night, one might have questioned the urgency of public speaking
deficiencies when teens in the ghetto can barely speak English.
So why can’t so many
Americans locate the U.S. on a world map? First of all, for the record,
no reliable poll has demonstrated that as many as a fifth of Americans
can’t locate the U.S., and Miss Teen USA has yet to make a convincing
case backing up that question. But it is unfortunately true that many
people are ignorant about geography, among many other subjects.
It could be because
they don’t have maps. Or, it could be because we have a dreadful
education system where students are held hostage by self-interested,
unionized teachers. It could be because the low expectations we set for
students allow them time to watch “The Real World” on MTV and follow the
adventures of Paris Hilton. It could be because America has given
Americans so much comfort and has so shielded them from foreign threat
that the rest of the world has become irrelevant to many.
According to a
recent poll by the Harris Poll group, two-thirds of American adults
admit to being ignorant about world political issues, while only one
third is well-informed about political issues in the U.S. According to a
Rasmussen poll, more than a quarter of Americans don’t know that the
Iraq War has cost fewer lives than the Vietnam War. And these are “U.S.
Americans!” They’re not even EU Americans or USSR Americans.
Before all of these
ignorant Americans make fun of an 18-year-old girl for botching an
answer to the toughest question posed in the Miss Teen USA pageant, I
would like to see them point out the U.S. on a map.
Before they sound
off their opinions on the Iraq War, I would like to hear them explain
the intricacies of the situation in the Middle East, or at least
ballpark the number of U.S. soldiers who have given their lives to it in
comparison to previous wars.
Before they go out
and vote, I would like them to understand how our government works, and
more importantly, take an economics class. I would like them to
understand what the Laffer Curve is, what Al Qaeda leaders are saying
and what socialized medicine has done to places like Canada and others.
Of course, we can
help them achieve this by ignoring the teachers’ unions and embracing
school vouchers, thus greatly improving the quality of our education so
we will be able to build up our future . . . for our children.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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