The textbook’s authors presented three different characterizations of the U.S. citizenry. One is that U.S. citizens are apolitical, apathetic, self-interested, uninformed, lazy beings. The second is that most Americans are politically aware, at least enough to get by and promote their own best interests; your text called these folks “the rational electorate” and compared them to those who watch a football game and know enough to tell who is winning, even though they don’t understand all the rules.

A third point of view insists that a significant number of individuals are even “ideal citizens” who are extremely knowledgeable about both current events and the workings of our political system.

Which point of view do you agree with (if any)? Why? (If you agree with none, how would you characterize the U.S. citizenry, and why?)  Do you think we have enough ideal citizens for a functioning democracy? Why or why not? What do you think can be done to make more people into “ideal citizens?”


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