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In today’s polarized political world, the question, “Are We Too Dumb for Democracy?”, is on point.

The votes from our three experts on this subject are mixed.

Left to Right:  Joseph E. Kobylka, PhD., Jeffrey A. Engel, PhD., and Robert Howell, PhD

Joining host Dennis McCuistion to discuss the concerns with civic intelligence and the
“right “to vote are:

  • Jeffrey A. Engel. PhD: Director, Center for Presidential History, Southern Methodist University,
  • Joseph E. Kobylka, PhD: Southern Methodist University, Associate Professor of Political Studies and
  • Robert Howell, PhD: Dedman Family Distinguished Professor, Southern Methodist University.

Their comments provoke some thought. Our experts remind us that the framers of our Constitution did not form a democracy and they put in place a vigorous system of checks and balances.

Today it is a civic responsibility to vote; however, voting for a candidate based on whom you’d like to share a beer with is not a basis for an intelligent vote for a governing position. And too often, too many do not have the civic intelligence and awareness to make good decisions.

Concern was expressed over our civic ignorance. For instance, some Americans do not know there are three branches of government, and only one third of our citizens can name even one of them.

Many invest almost total power for decision making in our President. Two thirds of our citizens believe if Roe vs Wade is overturned abortion is automatically illegal, 40% of citizens believe English is our official language and Christianity our U.S. religion. Our economic beliefs are predominately inaccurate, and the list goes on.

Our experts ask: On what basis can one make a qualified voting decision if you don’t have the right information to accurately evaluate a candidate’s ability to govern? Public schools are not teaching civics. Social media offers lots of choice yet may also reinforce existing biases. You can Google down any rabbit hole and find sources to back up your preconceptions.

The evolution of how we come to decisions has changed. We no longer have a common narrative, because there are so many sources of information. Fake news hurts. Political correctness hurts. And we may have made civic engagement into entertainment.

Our guests agree, “democracy” may not always be a good thing, but it is the only game in town. We need good information to make good decisions. Educating ourselves on our choices is critical. Civic ignorance can be dangerous to our continued freedom as citizens.

Tune in as we talk about things that matter… with people who care. And please don’t forget that for the last 27 years it is you, our viewer, who keeps us on the air.

The McCuistion Program, a 501 ( C ) ( 3 ) tax exempt organization does not receive any KERA pledge dollars, PBS funds or government grants, so thank you for your continued support.

Thanks for joining us,

Niki McCuistion
Co-Founder, Executive Producer, Producer
Business Consultant / Executive Coach, specializing in Organizational Culture Change, Governance and Strategic Planning
(214) 394-6794


2325 – 04.09.17

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Do We Need Fewer Regulations?
U.S. and World Poverty: Incurable Problems?