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Chelo Wednesday

I came to America on a student visa, but the other day in my civics class, (after I quit being distracted by our teacher—he es muy guapo!), I realized we were discussing immigration and he listed some benefits of being a citizen, such as the right to vote, protection by the law, and American passports (I took notes). I don’t plan on going anywhere soon or doing anything illegal like shop-lifting (though I know a guy with a large car jack in the back of his pickup that could probably do it), but I do like the idea of voting. I thought I’d look into what was required to be a citizen so it would help me decide.

I found a list of questions to study and I nearly choked on my Pringles! There were 100—it would take 14 pages if I printed them! I would need months to study this, especially while I’m in school. But since I know you’re interested, I’m going to mention just a few. The first question asked,

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

I thought this meant like the President, or that Poloski woman who is always on TV, and has a boring wardrobe, and though I know the TV doesn’t like the lady who lives in Alaska, at least she’s fun to watch! I bet she’d make laws like, “If you fish in my lake, you better be able to run really fast because it’s okay if I use my home-protector to stop you from doing it ever again.” But the real answer is: The Constitution

I thought that was really cool. The law of America is written down and not made up by someone whenever they want to or changed because they want to. That is big. (I did wonder why they needed so many lawyers then. But my civics professor, when I asked him yesterday, said that was another issue. Something about tort law. I couldn’t imagine what pies had to do with it though.)

Anyway, I like question #3,

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

I had to think about this. Self-government. So the people of America are supposed to govern themselves? That was a new idea, but it made sense. If Americans kept themselves good, there would be fewer policemen and alphabet suits. I was starting to respect this Constitution. The answer is just as cool:

A: We the People

Here’s another one I liked:

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

Correct answers are:

A: speech
B: religion
C: assembly
D: press
E: petition the government

Again my good-looking civics teacher (I love having a reason to ask him questions after class!) said freedom of speech was not intended to allow anything like lies, or foul language or anything about sex. It was meant to protect the person who stood up in a city hall and said how they disagreed with something the government was doing. That people in America can disagree with their leaders and not get thrown in jail or arrested. Freedom of the press is alot like this.

The petition part means that in America, if the government does something you don’t like, like make an agreement with a shopping mall to build where your house is, you can “petition” the government. That’s like complaining on paper, and they have to listen and make every thing fair.

There are so many more, but I’m thinking I’d like to study this better. Did you know that September 17 is Constitution Day? (1787–Question 66.)  Did you know it’s not even an American Holiday even though it is the foundation of their government?  

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

A: New Year’s Day
A: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
A: Presidents’ Day
A: Memorial Day
A: Independence Day
A: Labor Day
A: Columbus Day
A: Veterans Day
A: Thanksgiving
A: Christmas

I think that I’d make it a holiday to have students study the Constitution better and encourage adults to read it. Maybe when I run for congress I’ll suggest it. But I guess I better become a citizen first.

How many questions do you think you could answer? Here’s all 100.

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