the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

17
September

Constitution Day

Posted by Brittany

I’m sure Chris and I both read the Constition when we were in school — in fact, I’m positive I had to memorize and recite parts of it — but it had been a long time since I’d read the document. Tonight I found the digital archive online and re-read the Consitituion in it’s entirety. It’s really amazing — it’s so easy to understand, and the content is even shocking in some ways (like my earlier reference to the long-continued practice of slavery, and the absurd way minorities were counted for census purposes). But mostly I was struck by something I hadn’t really realized as a child: much of the Constitution is pretty vague. It’s obvious that the original framers put a lot of thought and debate into it, but it would have been impossible for them to anticipate how many of our modern issues might lead to questions of interpretation.

Chris and I also took a U.S. citizenship practice test this evening. I’ve often wondered how I would fare on one of these tests. I truly believe that the average American, myself included, takes our country and its civic system for granted. The number of us that can’t name the President or Vice President, or pick out a Washington, D.C. on a map is shocking. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the people seeking US citizenship score better on these tests than some natural-born citizens. Individuals applying for citizenship are required to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly from a pool of 100 possible questions. I customized my quiz for twenty questions and missed two, for an average score of 9 out of 10. Chris answered 17 out of twenty correctly, for an average of 8.5 out of 10. So I guess, for now, we are both deserving of our citizenship — especially if we continue to learn more about how our country works.

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate with a great American food in honor of National Cheeseburger Day!

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