Monday, March 22, 2010

Represent A. Tive, Esq.

Down 20th street to Constitution, I pass security guards at various checkpoints, though I've never taken the time to identify the specific buildings they guard. Eventually, after the stop-and-go rhythms of walk signals and traffic lights, I reach the footpaths. They are paved in concrete, in asphalt, in cobblestones, in sand. They twist and wind around each other, ordered in their disorder. Most days I choose a light concrete path and let it lead me to the white stone temple where Lincoln sits, enthroned and mildly menacing to us, poor tiny mortals gazing up at him. I've wondered, many times, what it is we worship in that temple; for we worship something, some vague American thing.

Rarely, in fact only once have a taken that first right turn onto another footpath sloping gently into disaster. On that path thick black stones rise slowly higher as I pass, first to my knees, then my shoulder until finally they tower over me, reflecting my image back to me through a haze of dead men's names. I feel strange there, guilty. It is not my war. I cannot reconcile with it, claim it, comprehend it. The other war memorials here are kinder to me. They splay out easily, telling me their tales of honor won and wrong defeated. They do not mix tragedy with victory. They do not bury me in dead men's names.

Washington's is as unambiguous as they come. I do not go too close to that memorial, of course. I am not welcome there, not really. I am American, yes, and a patriot too. But there is something uniquely unwelcoming to me, as a woman, about the towering phallic symbol.

On the way back, walking north again toward Pennsylvania Avenue, I pass Isabella Reina. She is surprisingly short, and almost crudely shaped in iron turned all shades of blue and green. Perhaps because her placard is in Spanish, perhaps because she stands just off the beaten path, or perhaps because she is a woman among so many men, I find I like her best of all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Honor Code Rebellion....or not.

So I went to BYU. If you don't know what that it. Anyway, I had this relationship of tension with the Honor code. On the one hand, I was desperate not to fit in. As a friend of mine likes to say, I needed to be different just like everybody else. On the other hand, I honestly liked the code and would have lived by it, or wanted to live by it, anyway. No boys in the bedroom? 'Kay, my bedroom is kinda messy anyway and it's nice to know I can walk into my room in nothing but a bathrobe and not find my roommate's boy-toy sitting next to my underwear drawer. (Yes, I just referenced partial nudity AND underwear in the same post. Are you freaking out? because I know I am.) No smoking? Awesome, I choose a cancer-free life whenever I can. No male visitors past midnight? Whatev' yo. I can handle a dude-free home after hours (see the above references to nudity and undies) and when I really did need some testosterone in my life past midnight no dorm-wide curfew could have stopped us. (Word to the wise for all you Zoobies out there, Rock Canyon park is not too far from DT and makes for excellent make out turf. Yes, Mom, it so happened. More than once...) Modest clothing? Great! The last thing we need is more uninhibited muffin-tops and cleavage rolling around in this country, and I've always been a fan of layers anyway. The day I discovered the cardigan, well, that my friends was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Even some of the "weirder" rules suited me just fine. Take the "clean shaven" rule for example: Have you ever tried to make out with an unshaven male? Trust me, clean shaven is the way to go.

Anyway, the point is I couldn't rebel against the Honor Code or even really be upset about it because it didn't ask me to do or not do anything I would have done or not done anyway. And the "we shouldn't have to be compelled" argument just doesn't hold water for me because when it comes bathrobes and panties I like to know my roommate is on board with the no-boys-in-the-bedroom rule. So how does one rebel against a system that neither represses nor even really annoys one?

Easy. Vote democrat.