Friday, February 29, 2008

All I Ever Had...Redemption Songs

Today was a shitty day. And the worst part is I knew it was going to be from the moment I woke up. I'm longing to sing songs of freedom after another day in the prison that is the Aquinas Institute.

I attempted to break the firewall in order to look at "innapropriate" websites (Facebook and MySpace, not to mention scoping out concert tickets for The Police and Third Eye Blind). So I get a detention for breaking a rule. That's fair, I brought it upon myself.

The thing that pisses me off and sets every dissident molecule in my body aflame is when I'm coerced into doing something even though I broke no rule.

Now I believe in rules and guidelines and all that shit because without them comes chaos and anarchy. Law and order is good and right.

Since my school is a private one, I automatically hand over my personal liberties at the door, and this, too, is ok. I've learned to live with it.

What's not ok is being told I need to "trim my bangs" despite their legal length. The rules stipulate that hair must not be covering the eyes. Ok cool, but mine isn't. My bangs are long, yes, hence the swoop motion. I push them to the side, fully revealing my eyes but just covering my eyebrows.

So tell me, almighty holy administration, what fucking rule have I broken?

Now since our principal is more of a puppet and a mascot for the Board of Trustees (money is God at AQ!), he is more concerned about the appearance of students out of fear that any non-conforming student may offend an alumnus or visiting parent or prospective student.

In other words: all students must be in full dress code at all times. God forbid any alumni should see you walking around with your top button unfastened or shaggy hair. Though if they did, their response would probably sound like this:
"When I was a student here I had respect for the rules and the tradition! You kids nowadays have no respect for anything!"

Guess what Mr. Random Alumnus, class of '67, we're the ones that will be running this world when you're pissing all over yourself in a retirement home. We know damn well what we're doing, and we don't need anyone to hassle us. We're going places, far further than anywhere you could have ever dreamed of.

So I'll serve my jug, get my haircut, button my top button when asked to, but the one thing I will never do is be silent about injustice. This is a free country, and because of that, I can legally be saying this without consequence. This is not China where I'd be killed after the first sentence of this blog. This is America.

Oh shit, who's in that unmarked black van rolling into my driveway now?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dissent, Not Disloyalty

My homepage on Internet Explorer is My Way News, an offshoot of the default Dell Portal (fitting, as my computer is a Dell). Every day I check the news headlines and nine out of ten times, there is a story about the 2008 Presidential campaign race, especially on the Democratic side. Today I clicked on the headline "Obama May Face Grilling on Patriotism" and realized that even after his eleven straight primary and caucas wins, Barack Obama will probably be fucked over by the fact that, yes, he is black, and many people will mold his blackness into a poison arrow and shoot it through the hearts of voters who are actually supporting a step forward for this country.

Now, obviously he is black, and obviously this is a main part of the race in general. However, when rivals challenge his patriotism for not placing his hand over his heart during the singing of the National Anthem last summer, many Americans are left with a bad taste in their mouths. Now honestly, I don't remember the last time I actually held my hand over my heart during the Star-Spangled Banner, because when it is played at sporting events, like Obama, I usually assume the proper contrite position of folding my hands and remaining silent and serious. What's wrong with this? Does it mean that I don't love America and its wonderful, if increasingly sparse, freedoms? No, absolutely not.

I visited St. Bonaventure University recently and met with the Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communiciations, Lee Coppola. Among several honors and achievements placed around his office, there was a sticker that caught my eye. It read: "We must never confuse dissent with disloyalty." Dissent is what led true patriots to break the oppressive and injust hold of King George. Disloyalty is what the oppressors use as a charge against those who wish to set things right.

From My Way News: In October, Obama told Iowa television station KCRG that he decided to stop wearing a U.S. flag lapel pin during the run-up to the Iraq war because it had become "a substitute for, I think, true patriotism."

I couldn't agree more. Those who are dissentors against the current administration have been accused of disloyalty, because it is a tactic to gain support out of fear. My Junior Research Paper topic last year comparing the McCarthy Red Hunt of the 1950's to the Salem Witch Hunt, and fear was a large factor in both of those.

All I can say now is that I wish all the luck in the world to Barack Obama in the coming months, and when the time comes in November to vote, I hope I can be pulling the lever for the first African-American President of the United States of America.

Or, anyone but John McCain.