The Pew Research Center has a "News IQ Quiz" on their website to gauge the level of the public's awareness of current events. It is horrifying to see the percentage of the people in this country that are ignorant of what is going on in America.
Our corrupt and incompetent politicians from both sides of the political aisle seem to take greatest advantage of consolidating their power, inevitably at the expense of our liberties or money, when citizens are unaware of the major events going on in the nation and world around them. When such politicians are left to their un-restrained devices in dealing with current events, we the people are the ones that typically end up suffering the consequences of our ignorance of events and the politically devised "solutions" our leaders form accordingly.
Anyway, this short 11 question quiz is quite interesting. Again, notice the number of people that got less than 80% of the questions right. (I managed to get 11 out of 11.) If we as a nation do not know what is going on, we are not able to adequately hold our elected representatives around us accountable for how they choose to handle such situations.
Take the quiz here.