In the above clip, Mark Dice* tests ordinary California beachgoers’ knowledge about the Fourth of July, asking them when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and which country we broke away from in the American Revolution. (One apparently popular answer to the second question was China.) A few times Dice fed the interviewees the answers in the question itself and they still couldn’t get it. We should take some small comfort in the fact that at least one person on the video knows that the US broke away from Britain: a German tourist.
The interviews are both humorous and deeply saddening. At the very least, they suggest that California’s history teachers may have a bit more work to do before they earn their lifetime tenure.
In all seriousness, this video reminds us as we come down from our 4th of July high that we have to continually work to secure the promise of our founding ideals. The Founding Fathers all thought democracy couldn’t function properly without an educated and alert populace. History is a crucial part of the civic education all Americans should receive. To be ignorant of our past is to be ignorant of our future.
*Dice himself seems to be confused on a few points, judging by his biography. But that doesn’t make this video any less tragi-comic.