It's sad to learn how much Americans still have to learn

Do you remember when you had to recite the capitals of all 50

states in elementary school? Weren't those the good old days?

Am I alone in this state of nostalgia?

A very crucial concept for those of you beginning your adulthood here at UH is that of choice. Adults make choices. Children are bullied.

Why did we (for those of us who actually did) learn all those

state capitals eons ago? Was it fun? Did it bring us anything but

horrendous nightmares of standing before the class in your underwear pairing the wrong cities with the wrong states?

(Was I the only one?)

It's simple. We learned it because we had to. That's just the way it was.

So how is it at all possible for life to be so different now?

The answer to that is simple too: adults choose to be ignorant.

Go on, rant and rave. Tell me that I am wrong and pretentious.

After you have finished rambling, tell me where the Suez Canal is.

Yeah, you heard me. I want to know where the Suez Canal is.

Actually, I already know where it is. I just want to hear it from you.

In the state of Texas, it is required that every student in high school takes one year of either World Geography or World History. It would

therefore, in my opinion, be logical to simply take for granted that all high school graduates would know where the Suez Canal is, considering its

important role in history, geography, and politics.

Uh-oh! Did I say a scary word? Yes, it looks that way.

When I discuss politics and history with some people, I have to really force myself to remain calm. I have to constantly remind myself that it is impossible to beat knowledge into someone.

The other day, someone in one of my classes said that Hitler was a Communist!

Unbelievable!

This person not only completely rewrote history; this person turned my world upside-down!

Although inexcusable, this occurs often. Why? Could it be because it is socially acceptable? Why else would someone deliberately choose to live this way? It is beyond me.

With that, I do not mean to brag that I am the quintessential world history and politics buff. I do not presume to know everything, for there is entirely too much to know without devoting the rest of one's life to studying.

Nevertheless, when I turn on the television and see that Sudan has been bombed, I know exactly where that is. When I encounter foreigners who say they are from Czech Republic or Madagascar, I know exactly where those places are, too.

I suppose this could stem from having been a foreigner. Not being an American generally ensures that one will know of at least two countries: the United States and the country of one's origin.

It's sad. The United States of America has a worldwide

reputation of being the "land of opportunity." Should I really have to think twice about how many people who live in this opportunistic country can actually point it out on a map?

There are certain events, facts and places that people should just know.

That's all there is to it.

For instance, that "little" country some of us still refer to as the Soviet Union actually takes up 11 time zones, making it more than three times larger than the United States from coast to coast.

So why is this important, you may ask?

A part of living is knowing what is out there, even if you don't necessarily choose to go out there. How could a person possibly perceive this country to be the world's best without knowing a thing about the world itself?

This really depresses me. There is only one thing that might alleviate my pain: prove me wrong.

Answer the following questions as carefully and correctly as you possibly can.

1.) What did the Berlin Wall signify, and in which year did it fall?

2.) Who is the prime minister of Great Britain?

3.) What is NATO?

4.) Which country has the oldest democracy in the world?

5.) Where is Tripoli?

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