Friday, May 16, 2014

Transportation Tips: Check out the U.S. Civics Test as a citizen

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
riversidetransit@gmail.com

You may have felt a surprise when you read the Alpern at Large piece about distraction from our own Chair Ken Alpern. We are certainly living in a time where many people are simply distracted from real issues that affect all of us. I'm pretty positive that you readers are not in that category since you are taking the time to read this blog to be better informed about transit policy and to engage in constructive debate. Perhaps a solution for all of us here is to strengthen our own knowledge.

You people who are engaged in transportation and growth policy seriously are the Coalition's strong support arm because you want to improve mass transportation and quality of life in Southern California, even if you may disagree personally on the Coalition's written solution of which we try to ensure that such answers are fair and fact-based. In fact, disagreement is good; that gets the debate more robust and productive which better exposes the very obstructions toward our universal goal. Simply put: We all come from different backgrounds, have different talents, and learn different skills. The fact is there will be multiple solutions drawn from different people to solve our transit problems and there will be conflict and disagreement with the conclusions drawn. With that, regardless of what your personal or political views are, you are always welcome to participate in the debate and contribute toward making A Better Inland Empire. The rule for all participants is simply to respect the viewpoints of other posters and to refrain from trolling and personal attacks toward anybody who has opposing views or a different solution.

The more we all become informed, the stronger the debate will be to bring about a first-rate transportation system, a clean environment and robust marketplace job opportunities to the Inland Empire that everybody can enjoy.

Here is a simple way we can exercise and build up our knowledge: Knowing the content of the U.S. Civics Test as United States citizens.

It should be the norm for all of us as concerned patriotic citizens and transit advocates to be able to pass this test given to adult immigrants desiring to be citizens. Passing this test, having a basic understanding of U.S. history and government, being a person of good moral character, and demonstrating an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution are just a few of the requirements necessary for an immigrant to be naturalized as a citizen. During the naturalization interview, applicants are asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. Passing score is six or better according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

I've went through the test and pulled out some of the more difficult ones in my opinion. See if you know the answers:
  • What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
  • What are the five freedoms of the First Amendment? The test asks for one, but can you name them all?
  • What did the Declaration of Independence do?
  • What is the economic system in the United States?
  • What is the "rule of law"?
  • What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
  • What are two responsibilities that are only for United States citizens?
  • There are 10 ways that Americans can participate in their democracy. Try to identify them all.
  • What is one reason colonists came to America?
  • Why did the colonists fight the British?
  • What three countries did the United States fight in World War II?
  • During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?
Challenge: Go through the set of questions multiple times until you are able to answer them all correctly without looking at the answers. Visit USCIS to see all of questions plus the answers. By the way, please refrain from posting the answers in the comments. :)

If we all build up our knowledge and understanding, our universal campaign to make the Inland Empire a better place where all have an equal opportunity to embrace our unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness more fully will become a reality.

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