January 5, 2015
Are You Worthy To Be A Citizen?
Why not? Don't you think it would bode well for our country if the next generation understood, not only the basics of how our government is to function, but the history of what we've done right and what we've done wrong to get to our present state?
I have been shocked at the lack of knowledge of the American citizenry when it comes to our government and our history. In fact, over the holidays, I engaged with several college students who all say that History is their least favorite subject. Since it was my favorite, and I loved studying about the Middle Ages, the various world explorers, and our own American Revolution, I struggled to figure out what makes them uninterested in our historical events or the past.
I think I have discovered the culprit --- it's our modern technology. The advent of the cell phone and social media has captivated their interest in the "here and now". They are only curious about discovering what is happening at this moment; or over the last 24-hour period at the longest. Just look at the various apps they subscribe to .... InstaChat, Snap Chat .... they aren't called instant messaging applications for nothing.
Technology has convinced people that the only important thing in their lives is what is happening now. Anything that happened in the past has no relevance to them; it doesn't affect their self-absorbed lives, and they aren't interested in anything that breaks their preoccupation with their own emotions, interests, or situations.
So, if I have correctly identified the reason why today's student isn't interested in History or Civics courses, would making them take this test before advancing towards their life goals make any difference? I don't know, but I think it's worth a shot. Because if a nation's native citizens cannot identify why they are governed the way they are; or they are unable to relate to the historical events that have shaped their present state, then they don't really know who they are. And once a nation loses its identity, they are subject to becoming divided and disengaged; open to deception, exploitation, and subjugation.
That's why newly naturalized citizens often make the best Americans. They know how our government is to perform, and they understand (through our history) what has made this nation so appealing to immigrants for the past two and half centuries. They are here because they know what this country stands for, what our history is, and they want to be a part of conserving the principles, ideals and dreams of what it means to be an American.
So maybe it's time that the rest of us who claim the title of American (by the grace of God), be required to prove that we are worthy of the benefits of living in this great nation. And maybe ... just maybe ... it would make us see where, and how far, off course we've come.
Ready to answer some sample questions? I've picked some random questions from among the 100 that are included in the Naturalization Test for U.S. Citizenship. See how much you, your children and your grandchildren truly know about the United States of America.
1. What is the Supreme Law of the Land?
2. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
3. What is an amendment?
4. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
5. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
6. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
7. What is the “rule of law”?
• Everyone must follow the law.
• Leaders must obey the law.
• Government must obey the law.
• No one is above the law.
8. What is the economic system in the United States?
• Capitalist economy
• Market economy
9. How many U.S. Senators are there?
10. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
11. Name your U.S. Representative.
12. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
13. What is the highest court in the United States?
14. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
15. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
16. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
17. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
18. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
19. What is one reason colonists came to America?
20. Why did the colonists fight the British?
21. There were 13 original states. Name three.
22. When was the Constitution written?
23. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
24. Who is "the Father of our Country"?
25. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
26. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.
27. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
28. Who was President during World War I?
29. Who did the United States fight in World War II?
30. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?
31. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?
32. Name one American Indian tribe.
33. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
34. Name one U.S. territory.
35. Name one state that borders Canada.
36. Name one state that borders Mexico.
37. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
38. What is the capital of the United States?
39. When do we celebrate Independence Day?
40. Name one branch of the government.
So, how did you do? Try taking this sample test and then comparing your answers with those of your children or grandchildren. Is there a discrepancy in knowledge? If so, are they interested in knowing more about their country? And, if not, does this concern you?
I just can't help feeling that we have been so blessed to have been born in this nation; a country that hundreds of thousands have yearned to get to because they sensed that it was special and separate from any other land that has existed in history. God had a purpose in establishing this nation, it is incumbent upon us to understand its exceptionalism, and to teach it to all our generations. However, I'm afraid that we are losing that sense of extraordinary purpose and blessed opportunity that was our identifiable attribute.
Like the old saying goes ... "Those who don't know history, are doomed to repeat it." Even the Bible warns us that "As it was in the days of Noah...", and to "Remember Lot's wife." We cannot afford to become indifferent or unmotivated in these times that carry great risk. We must be knowledgable about who we are; because when we no longer aware of our past, or why we exist in God's eternal plan, then we are in danger of making destructive and devastating mistakes that could see us fade from history altogether. And with no knowledge of our unique history, or how we are to govern ourselves, we'll never see it coming.
If you would like to see the full list of questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services test for citizenship, click here.
Job 8:8-10 "For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?"