I’m now 10 days away from ‘C’ day (citizenship) and am swotting up on civics and US history like a 4th grader with a project due. Growing up learning about long dead English kings and queens, US history is bawdy by comparison. Talk about a movie script – land grabs, internal wars, presidential murders and ‘laws of the land’ which change 27 times in less than 200 years.
However for purposes of citizenship, I’m required to know less about the history and more about the facts as defined by the government. Which is remarkable and redefines the term ‘vanilla’
‘Slavery existed in many countries long before America was founded’ (phew! we weren’t the first!)
‘ ..after much violence, the settlers defeated those American Indian tribes and look much of their land’ (much? much??? much like all?)
‘ In the Civil War, the people of the United States fought against each other. Many lives were lost.’ (yes, a fair summary of 4 years and 620,000 deaths – more than WW1, WW2 or Vietnam)
Still its a requirement for me to be an American, so I’ll try not to start an argument with the Department of Homeland Security guy during my interview. I’ll save that for after I’m sworn in.
One thing which has been particularly fascinating for someone who grew up with a monarchy, is the Constitution. Sorry Nic Cage, but the reality there is way more interesting and exciting than you dripping lemon juice onto parchment (though I learned that trick in Girl Guides and I’m still waiting to find a use for it). For those outside the US (and who can’t stand Nic Cage), the Constitution was a document written to document the new system of government for America. Its actually very short and only has several main points (27 amendments were added later as people realized that it might be too liberal and wishy washy to not specify that citizens can carry guns and start a militia ).
This ability to continue to modify the ‘rules’ is pretty cool – especially coming from a country where nothing much changes in a 100 years, and since the last amendment was 21 years ago, I think its time for a new amendment (I mean, they didn’t even have Facebook back then). Since Amendments contain often several issues, I’ve decided to draft something for your review. You know.. as a new citizen and all, I figure I’ll get a head start on my right to free speech and save the militia for later…
The 28th Amendment (as drafted by citizen #365,253,274)
Article 1: Everyone is equal.
I know, I know.. Janice in accounting can be totally annoying but while she might cancel your print queue, she is entitled to her opinion if you’re going to print out 120 pages first thing on a Tuesday morning. And yes, Bob and Joe can get married and no, you don’t have to come to the wedding unless you want to help them celebrate (nobody needs a sourpuss face when declaring love to each). And everyone gets paid the same for the same job, regardless of your gender, race, marital status, age or accent. Just because I don’t have a family, doesn’t mean I should get paid less (or my priorities really need to change). And if you don’t want to have a kid or you want to adopt a kid, you can. Because kids needs homes with people who want them (unless we’re planing on reintroducing child labor – which we’re not in this Amendment).
Article 2: Stop harking back to the historical values of America
I’m sure that wearing multi colored shoes and calling your kids ‘Billy-Bob’ without any irony was awesome, but the 50’s was also segregation, Jim Crow, poverty, women chained to the house, fear of communism, McArthur witch hunts and the Korean war. Was it really that ‘better’ if you weren’t a white middle class male or living in a Rock Hudson movie? No.. anyone harking back to ‘a better time’ or ‘old fashioned American values’ should be forced to eat Spam, chain smoke Winstons and living in a bomb shelter. Things are pretty good now, especially if you ignore this Beiber blip.
Article 3: The President shall pass an IQ test and psychiatric evaluation
Evidenced by the 2008 and 2012 elections, all potential candidates for president must pass a basic geography, English and civics test. Qualifications for president shall not include previous experience as an actor, ability to see Russia from your house or ownership of a penis. All candidates must understand that global warming is not a Democratic scam aimed at taking away our guns and aborting children, and that the world is in fact, not black and white. Rorschach test results which include multiple references to God, homosexuals, ‘them Negros’, ‘damn Frenchie socialists’ or Ronald Reagan will exclude candidates from consideration.
Article 4: Citizens shall be required to stop working all the goddamn time
Guys, c’mon. It doesn’t make you a Eye-talian socialist who hates America to turn off your PC at 7pm or not check your email over the weekend. This is actually normal behavior for most of the world and doesn’t mean that you have a small penis, lack intelligence or are sponging off the government. Reading a book isn’t a sign of laziness or lack of drive. Vacations should not involve work. If they did, it would be called ‘working in a warmer location’. Please America, take a break. It will still be there when you get back.
So there you have it America. My 28th Amendment to the constitution. Let me know if you have any suggestions (I know, I couldn’t include everything). Meanwhile I think I’m going to print this out for my citizenship interview. I think they might like the fact that I’m so eager to get started on being an American… after all, expressing my opinion pretty much makes me American.