HIGHTOWER: The Official American Test

Could you be an American Citizen?Well, you say, I am a citizen!Yes, but could you pass the test immigrants take to become naturalized Americans? It's a test of 20 questions, and you have to answer 12 correctly to pass. Some are simple like -- "What are the colors of our flag?" and "What is the date of Independence Day?". But some are not so easy. Quick, "name the original 13 colonies." "Which countries were our allies during World War II?"Then there are the ones that I consider trick questions -- like this one: "Who makes Federal laws?" Well, our civics classes teach that congress makes the laws. But our experience teaches that corporate lobbyists actually make them. Take the new Telecommunications Act, which is raising consumer prices, while reducing our information choices. It literally was the product of lobbyists for AT&T, Disney, Time-Warner and the other special interests that gave money to politicians who then allowed them to draft the law.Try this one: "What special group advises the President?" Hmmmmm ... I'd have to say the Lippo Group, though there's also that insider group of Wall Street brokers headed by Goldman Sachs, whose main man, Robert Rubin, is with the President cheek to jowl on every economic decision the White House makes. But, even though I'm right, I would have been scored wrong -- the official answer is: The Cabinet.And here's one that begs for nuanced interpretation: "What is Congress?" Would it be wrong to say that it's a zoological collection of over-pampered, money-grubbing, blow-dried twits? Not wrong, but technically incorrect -- the answer they want is: The Senate and the House. How boring ... and I say it's also misleading to immigrants.This is Jim Hightower saying ... They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ... but too much knowledge is dangerous, too because it'll cause you to flunk all the official tests!Source:"Pssst-- Wanna Be an American? Cheat Sheet Below" by Tom kuntz. New York Times: July 6, 1997.

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