Column Date 2009-08-05

And these people actually vote

The more I read newspapers, the more I believe that we need a new, improved kind of democracy in America.

Here are some random news items I have collected over the last few years for your perusal, immediate amusement and inevitable dismay:

a. 55% of Americans claim to be protected by angels.

b. 6% of Americans think that the United States never landed a man on the moon -- they believe it was all a NASA hoax. (Another 5% are not sure.)

c. Less than half of Republicans believe that President Obama was born in the U.S.A.

d. One in five Americans personally knows someone who has seen a UFO.

e. 45% of Americans believe God created man in his current form and evolution had nothing to do with it.

f. 10% of adults think that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.

g. 22% of Americans correctly named all five Simpson family members, compared with just 1 in 1,000 people who could name all five freedoms guaranteed to us by the First Amendment.

h. And last, but not least, only 49% of Americans know it was their own country that dropped the atomic bomb.

Had enough? Me, too.

Which is why I have started collecting ideas for our New, Improved Democracy.

Let's start with the basics: Who should be allowed to vote? How should congress be elected? What should our federal government do or not do? Has the idea of states outlived its usefulness? Etc. Etc. Etc.

In other words, I'm trying to figure out what our democracy will turn into when it grows up.

Any and all thoughts from readers are gratefully accepted, and will be published to share with other readers in a subsequent issue of the Tannen Weekly.

If we all sit around watching "American Idol," I'm afraid the guy walking around with the sign might be right after all:

The End Is Near.

(c) 2009 Peter Tannen