DISCLAIMER: This post contains uncensored, foul language – something I generally try to avoid on this blog.
...and I may have downed nearly a whole carafe of coffee while I was drafting this.
And please realize that there's a part one to this.
And please realize that there's a part one to this.
Jake’s dead battery had him stranded in the Humanities parking lot. The door of his VW Bug was ajar, and he stood between it and the car’s body while he waited for a tow truck. Or somebody with jumper cables (whichever came first).
He spotted me storming, propelled by my personal feelings of betrayal and general pissery, down the sidewalk that borders the lot. “Hey, Kathryn,” Jake said.
“Hey, Jake.” I stopped. “Have I asked you about the Constitution yet?”
“Do you remember signing something saying that you’d support and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic?”
“Yeah. I remember all four times I signed it.” (Air Force + public middle school + some other thing + tutoring lab = 4) “What about it?”
SOMEONE REMEMBERS! “Can I quote you?” (I’ve since learned that you don’t initiate an interview with this question, but, ya know… live and learn.)
“Sure. Do you have jumper cables?”
Without acknowledging the inquiry, I plopped down on the concrete, whipping out my pink notebook with Strain Zero and Free Bradley Manning stickers on the front, because, you have to remember, for some people, after hella NOT sleeping for a while, common courtesy dissolves between two and three AM and never comes back.
Jake thinks the Oath is “vague” and “weird”, and surmises that it’s designed for anti-discrimination purposes. Given the McCarthy revelation, the forefathers of this FUCKING document intended the absolute, polar opposite, but at this point, I wanted to drop the facts and go with Jake’s theory. I really did. Because I liked believing in Santa Claus and ignoring the fact that puppies die. I thought this Oath would mean something good, too. But it’s hard to listen to the anti-discrimination lullaby over the thundering collapse of my almost-patriotism – FUCKING MCCARTHY! The truth sets no one free. What the truth does is RUIN CHRISTMAS FOR EVERYONE.
Jake also thinks some senators pose more of a threat to the Constitution than terrorists. “And Sarah Palin,” Jake said.I paused my furious scribbling. “Sarah Palin?”
“Yeah, sometimes I think she’s anti-Constitution…” Before Jake could expound on this, someone with jumper cables came to the rescue. That’s okay. It’s like the conversation I had with the army recruiter outside the campus bookstore that ended before I could ask him exactly what he meant when he said supporting and defending the Constitution means fighting for my right to purchase a vanilla latte. I take sound bytes. I put them out of context. To amuse myself. Fishy and advantageous? Yes. Even a little morally corrupt? That, too.
Of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t keep in mind others who remember singing the Oath – like Anita. Anita not only remembers signing the Oath, but remembers stopping to think about whether or not she was willing to sign it before she put the pen to paper – I LOVE YOU ANITA. Ultimately, she decided that, since she would be fulfilling this obligation in the setting of the tutoring lab, it would be a matter of, if anything, defending Freedom of Speech. This was something Anita could get behind, although there may be other circumstances where she wouldn’t be willing to sign it.
I loved these beautiful optimists. I really did, and still do. But, at the time, despite the few, remaining embers of desire to find real meaning in this thing, disenchantment was winning. I was ready to go home, throw together a eulogy of sorts (in this vein) for my dead Constitution-blog project, post that sucker the way it was, and get on with my life. But with a whole bucket of NO SLEEP comes a weakened immune system, and I was promptly knocked out for about a week with a wretched cold that left me helpless to do, like, anything save for falling asleep on piles of clean, unfolded laundry, and watch hella Breaking Bad and illegally uploaded Rob Bell shit on YouTube.
That eventually abated enough for me to muster the energy to take the dog for a walk. I was still in the process of accepting the Oath’s, and therefore the almost-blog-project’s, perceived meaninglessness. I lamented my ideas and how they would never be realized in blogposts. Like, I had hoped to write about the Black Panthers being prime examples of what it means to support and defend the Constitution.
This is because the Panthers were responding to a very REAL violation of Constitutional rights in their neighborhood, where cops – who are made to swear their own version of the Oath, mind you – were all kinds of corrupt. Instead of lying down and taking it, the Black Panthers organized, and exercised their Second Amendment rights to police the police. They were a volunteer militia.
That’s when it dawned on me. Right there on the street, as I stood waiting while the dog shat in the bushes, shit started adding up.
Volunteer militia. Keyword: VOLUNTEER.
Everything – all the more preferable explanations I’d gotten – like Jake’s anti-discrimination fairy tale, and Anita, at one point, musing that defending the Constitution is more about protecting the people than protecting the government…
It all coalesced. Santa may be dead, but it gets better than overweight North Pole residents in red suits, because I realized my duty to support and defend the Constitution has ZERO to do with my status as a government employee (employees = hired = money = technically not a volunteer). It has NOTHING to do with the government or any kind of institution or third party, and everything to do with my preexisting status of being an American citizen. The choice of whether or not to participate, of how politically active or aware I will be is a choice I make independently.
|Make no mistake, America: your|
government is STILL on Team Edward.
Well, in that regard, to the Man, I lovingly say, FUCK YOU.
If you didn’t WANT or EXPECT it, you shouldn’t have ASKED FOR IT.
This dog walk realization, actually, is more in sync with the original hypothesis: the one I formulated before I went on an Easter Egg Hunt for subjectively novel sound bytes to add to my collection of things to laugh about later, which does little-to-nothing to cultivate comprehensive understanding. Revisiting the notion after the thundering collapse of my almost-patriotism only grounded it, revealed more dimension of meaning for an individual citizen like me to have REAL conversations with people, and knowing my history, and watching Democracy Now!, and actually reading the REAL LIVE Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California for myself, and writing letters and participating in political demonstrations where I discern that’s due, and having conversations with people and knowing my history and conversing with people conversing with people conversing with people. Doing it for real. Asking real questions. Exchanging real ideas. Getting real answers.
Furthermore, if I were to really start a blog that explores what it means to support and defend the Constitution in the context of being an English tutor, it couldn’t be kathrynsupportsanddefends.blogspot.com. Kathryn cannot do this alone. For such a project to really work, and really be awesome, it would have to be more than ONE English tutor observing and analyzing what all this means, and how the Constitution is and is applied around in the country, in education, in other places, whatever.
There you go. That’s what I've got say. Hopefully at least Sophia will appreciate the scattered outbursts of frenetic nonsense.
Ball’s in your park, Citizens of the World. Hit me up with comment love. It’s tax deductible in select states, and I like hearing what y’all have to say.