Be An American or Be IN America?

I’ve awakened to a lot of bad news since 2008.  Shocking, even.  About a half- dozen times I’ve felt sucker-punched.  Physically sick and slack-jawed at what I have read.

Add this to the list.

Drudge Splash JPG

When you click on the link it takes you to a piece by Katie Pavlich who makes me ashamed of how stupid I was at her age!  I admire her clarity and courage very much!  I don’t think she’s yet 30, and when I think about how mush-brained I was just drinkin’ and spinning records back then I cringe.  Honest-to-God!  There are a lot of very impressive young people (listen to this 50 year old!) who are very well read and grounded on our Founding Principles and it’s very exciting to see.  Ms. Pavlich is one of those young thinkers and I can’t think of a time when I’ve encountered her work when I haven’t learned something or come away better for the experience.

Obama Administration Strips Requirement to Defend The United States From Citizenship Oath
7/22/2015 1:45:00 PM – Katie Pavlich

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has “clarified” requirements for individuals becoming naturalized citizens by stripping out the requirement of defending the United States through military service.

“Effective July 21, 2015, new guidance (PA-2015-001) in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance. Reciting the Oath is part of the naturalization process. Candidates for citizenship normally declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law. A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection,” an email from USCIS clarifying the requirements states (bolding is mine).

The new guidance:

-May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.
-Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.
-May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

Although the U.S. has a voluntary military without a draft, meaning citizens are not currently required by law to serve, these new exemptions are highly alarming should the country need to call on its citizens for defense in the future. The United States has always allowed for exceptions to combat based on religious convictions, the Quakers are one example. However, Quakers have found different roles, i.e. as medics, inside the military to aid in the country’s defense. This rule change allows naturalized citizens to refuse service altogether.

It should be noted the Islamic terrorist Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who killed four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga last week, was a naturalized citizen.

Meanwhile, The Little Sisters of the Poor’s rights of conscience are being bullied.

I don’t even recognize my country anymore.

How did we get to a point where an American President removes the oath of allegiance to America?  Freedom doesn’t come free.  It must be defended.  With arms, if necessary.  This is insane.

Analog Liberty

Something about my mother’s passing has left a yearning in me to time-travel.

Not really.  Not literally.  Not even to “go back” to see her, though I miss her everyday.


Green Flavoradio

I had a green Flavoradio just like this one.

It’s something more ephemeral.  More sensory.  A kind of wish; a wish I could will into being.  It’s wanting the ability to conjure up the feeling you get when a song transports you; that feeling you get when, upon hearing a song, you are instantly transported to a moment in time, to where you associate it with, to when you remember hearing it on your transistor AM radio from Radio Shack, in a time and place when people you know, or knew, were of a certain age, and to experience again how things smelled, how the sun felt on your skin, looked as it passed through the trees and glistened on the grass beneath your bare feet.

It’s not even about some romanticized version of anyone, my mother or my childhood.  It’s not a yearning to return to “simpler times,” or “carefree days,” or a sanitized, sainted hologram of my dead mother and the 1970’s.

But it is analog.  And it is about that decade.  Not the ’80’s, when I was in college and flailing about.  Not the ’90’s when I’d found some equilibrium, launched my career, and (thank God!) met my husband.  It’s certainly not about the ’00’s, when our children were little, the towers fell, and the world changed forever.

No.  It’s this recurring mental image I have of something I remember actually, literally thinking when I was a teenager, in the 1970’s.

You could disappear.

You could wander America absolutely untracked, unknown, and therefore, with absolutely unlimited possibilities.  Unlimited in that you could travel unencumbered by any “baggage.”  If you’d completely f*cked-up your life, you could move to a distant town or state, and start-the-hell-over.  And I fully understand this kind of liberty can be used nefariously; to avoid child-support payments or back-taxes or a life of crime.  I get that.  But that necessarily means a very few people because a very few people do those things (in the grand scheme of things.)  No.  I’m talking about the non-nefarious 90+% of us who used to have the ability to wander undetected by satellites, Google-maps, or the Federal f*cking Government, perhaps to the upper altitudes of interior Maine, spying the distant blue of the Atlantic from a sap-soaked mountain clearing… because… we could!  Just because we could.  That’s the picture, the locale, the postcard I have in my head and it keeps calling to me!  I don’t know why! (Remember postcards?  What we used to send instead of a text with an iPhone snap? Seems quaint, huh? How very analog we were…)

This old Maine postcard is kinda what I have pictured in my head.  I had more pine-needles underfoot in mind, but, this will do.

This old Maine postcard is kinda what I have pictured in my head. I had more pine-needles underfoot in mind, but, this will do.

Now, let me pause for a moment to reassure my gentle reader that I don’t have any plans to go all Unabomber and live in a shack writing manifestos on the evils of modern life.  I love modern life.  I’m typing this, my 600-somethingth  blog-post right here, right now, on this very machine, because I believe in the positive power and reach of this magnificent platform we now have.  And as someone with crippling social issues, it’s my lifeline.  I honestly think the internet has saved lives;  lives like mine (I have Asperger’s if you’re new here.)

But I digress.  This wish, this longing for analog America is much, much bigger than me and my goofy brain and life.  It’s something else, again.  It’s about my kids, and losing Liberty; capital “L” Liberty.

Alex Keaton

Alex Keaton. I might have had a crush on him if he weren’t short 😉

I literally – literally – remember thinking, when I was a teenager, that in America you really could disappear.  I don’t remember what sparked the thought but my sense is it had something to do with my late brother Daniel (7 years older than me) having another battle with my Dad.  Something tells me he threatened to do it.  Just blow that clambake at Hatherly Road.  The way I remember my two brothers during that time, my brother Mike (8 years older than me) was (what we later came to know as the 1980’s television character) Alex Keaton, the smart, resourceful capitalist, and my brother Dan, the free-spirited hippie wanting to spend his days seeing America, man, in his souped-up Chevy Van, man.  This was a cause of much discordance at the ol’ homestead.

I remember thinking my brother Dan could disappear…  And right after that I remember thinking how big America is, and that made this thought bigger, vastly bigger, at least as big as sea to shining sea…

…which, as was my next thought, meant I could disappear.  And I remember feeling unsafe at the thought.  That there could be all kinds of people wandering the quiet countryside who were not who they said they were.  And then I remember thinking that our whole system, our whole country then, relies on the fact that people will act honorably!  Which, of course, it does!  The Founders spoke and wrote often that this experiment in human liberty would fail if not for a “Godly” population.  Until a few decades ago, there was very little the federal government could do to “track” the “un-Godly.”  Now of course, there’s ankle-bracelets and GPS and all kinds of technology I’ve previously mentioned, and now these technologies track all of us, “Godly” or not.

We are all now digitally shackled.

So now, I look at my girls, not much older than I was when I had this realization about the depth, breadth, and magnitude of my capital “L” Liberty, and I feel sorry for them.

And that’s where the yearning for the time-travel comes in.

I wish I could capture for them that feeling!  That feeling that you could wander…