September 28, 2009
We The People~
My son is studying the constitution.
I recall vividly being in 8th grade.
SO excited about taking our trip to Springfield,IL.
Studying for the constitution was an honor and I recall being in awe of its words.
Fast forward 30 years, and well, I now have such a cynical take!
I remain a firm patriot. I love my country and all that it has done in way of progress.
There are some issues that maturity and education have brought forth as well, however.
Disturbing, airing laundry things, that I had no idea about as an 8th grader, and certainly nothing that my parents, especially my veteran father, had ever spoken on until I was 30.
My son does have idea about the truth though, as I have educated him on the positives and the negatives. He remains fresh, and approaches it with a calm and a matter-of-factness that I just do not have.
Last night he interviewed me about what I valued in the Constitution. I also was told to discuss 3 of the founding fathers I most admired and why. Lastly, I was to inform him on the most valuable portions of the Constitution, in my opinon.
I asked him if he wanted me to answer honestly. He sighed. "'MOM' don't make this some militant rant."
I really did not want to make it a militant rant, but do we sacrifice our true feelings for our kids simply to make it all rosy? He knows I get pissed that they are off for Columbus Day!
Then there is the question I have: after 42 years, why is my father just now sharing the horrors of racial divide in the U.S Army?
WHY? Why have minorities fought for freedom they have not enjoyed? I know, just for freedom's sake. The thought of freedom. The mere smell of it, makes men and women give their lives.
Well~I still ponder how one can take credit and celebrate the discovery of a land when A) you're discovering something already there B) killing and maiming the natural inhabitants and destroying/conquering their lifestyles...okay, I digress.
So, back to the assignment, I relented and did what I was instructed to do, BUT not without commentary on the sidelines.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the most influential, outstanding authors of the Constitution. His belief in retaining rights for the people to govern themselves was supreme thought at that time. His contributions in religious freedoms, his inventions and varied education make him one of my most favorites.
Notwithstanding that one must contemplate the children he fathered with his wife's half-sister, his slave, Sally Hemings.
I also chose Ben Franklin and James Madison.
I spoke of the incredible courage they used when standing up to Great Britain.
They were pioneers, scholars, inventors-great men...no doubt-we would be remiss denying the vision and the glory of their achievements...but this was at the cost of my ancestors: The Native American, and The African...and the history of those I know nothing about due to my being a product of people with no rights. Our history being that of words passed down, a paper trail that we were not allowed to read.
Why aren't the children being taught the truth, now that we know it? Isn't it safe to assume that if they knew the truth of what really happened, and were actually taught it, they might encourage tolerance and equality for their futures? Once these minds march into high school, they might challenge the status quo and seek alternatives to occupation and genocide?
They might want all to be really equal, be they women, lesbian, gay, transgender? They might desire all colors be judged by action not by their bank accounts?
I do not think that is too much to ask of today's youth, do you?
My son simply responded as I whined, was a ninny and became all worked up-"If it didn't happen that way, would we be where we are today? I like our country", he proudly replied.
I alarmingly looked at him, and then I simply smiled- I am so lucky to be learning with him, together in truth, pride,peace and for the joy of what is.