I used to have a joke game called the “who’s Denny Hastert” game. Essentially none of my college educated friends in San Francisco and Silicon Valley knew who he was despite the fact that he was Speaker of the House of Representatives, and third in line to the Presidency. I played the game one Christmas (I think it was 2001) at a friend’s house where there were a dozen people, including VCs, managers of big companies, etc, etc. None of them knew (although one guy thought that a San Francisco woman was speaker of the House, and he might be right in a few weeks!). I thought then the country was screwed in terms of basic civic literacy (don’t forget I’m a damn immigrant!)
But this is a little more serious. Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite? Apparently not if you’re a senior member of Congress with an intelligence responsibility or the guy in the FBI responsible for counter-terrorism. My mind absolutely boggles.