In this morning’s e-mail there was a message reminding me that Constitution Week will soon be upon us, informing me that the University will honor this week with “a list of activities,” and encouraging me to include in my classes “a brief discussion of the United States Constitution, especially as it relates to [my] discipline.” It was added that a survey conducted by the scrupulously impartial National Constitution Center has made the public’s “lack of knowledge about the Constitution . . . quite apparent.”
Now it should be noted that all of this fuss is in response to a federal mandate in 2005, which required all “educational institutions receiving federal funding to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 each year.” In other words, this has nothing to do with love of a venerable old document, and everything to do with love of money.
There is much to ponder in the schedule of events that will celebrate Constitution Week (not to mention keep the Federal dollars flowing). Constitution week will kick off with an informative exhibit by the La Villita Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at one of our public libraries. The La Villita Chapter takes its name from “the Little Village” in San Antonio, a tiny eighteenth-century settlement with no known connection to the American Revolution. Night owls are directed to a series of programs that will be broadcasted nationally by the PBS each evening at 11:00 p.m. On Wednesday a panel (of two) will take up the theme “License to Vote: Voter I.D. Laws and the Constitution.” You hardly need me to point out the exquisite neutrality of this title.
The Big Day is, of course, Saturday, September 17, since this is when the Federal Government will be watching what we are up to. What they will see is the library staff giving “one free copy of the Constitution” to any student with whom they can establish eye contact. At other locations on campus, pedestrians will be accosted and given one of the coveted “pocket-sized Constitutions” (which are handy to consult when the internet goes down). The crown of the day is the “Aggie Agora Hackathon ‘Amending the Constitution’,” which will be held in a relatively modest room on the fourth floor of the Arts and Humanities Building. Oh, yes, the campus carillon will also ring out “patriotic music” at 3:00 p.m., for some unspecified duration, and without anyone, I suspect, much noticing.
Constitution Week is an utterly phony event. I am not denying that some eyes will scan the exhibit of the La Villita Chapter, or that some insomniacs will tune in to the PBS programs, or that auditors may outnumber panelists at the discussion of voter i.d. laws. Pocket-sized constitutions will certainly be stuffed into pockets (and later discovered as a lump after the trousers are laundered); a few oddballs will show up to eat free pizza and amend the Constitution. Some wild-eyed professors may even shoehorn some constitutional commentary into their lecture on the Krebs Cycle or fluid dynamics. But the overall effect (apart from sustaining the flow of Federal dollars) will be as close to nil as to make no difference.
Observance of Constitution Day was mandated, I see, by the “Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education.” Only in America, under the blessings of our Constitution, can any boy or girl grow up to become an Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. Don’t try to tell me that such a post is in any way foreign to the letter or spirit of the Constitution that was ratified in 1787. I don’t presently possess a pocket-sized Constitution, but if I did I would pull it out and quote from its all-important penumbra; from this you would learn that “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, do submit to be bribed into pretending to observe phony Holidays by Persons including, but not limited to, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.”
In 2005 the person wielding this constitutional power of bribery was, I suppose, some deluded cuck in the Bush administration. I apologize to sensitive readers for this descent into vulgar slang, but using the federal government to bribe people into phony compliance with something called Constitution Day more or less encapsulates what I understand by the word cuckservative. The essence of these pathetic fools is precisely this sort of pantomime defense of things that were lost decades, perhaps centuries, ago. Those who are woke know that this country no longer operates under the Constitution of 1787, whether in pocket-sized or folio edition. It operates under Talmudic or Gnostic interpretations of that document, as made by functionaries of a Leviathan State in which we find not only a Department of Education, but also an Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.
I did take a look to see who presently holds this title. It is one Nadya Chinoy Dabby, who had been Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, and was before that Director of the Broad Foundation, a philanthropic charity with an interest in urban schools. In all of these positions Ms. Dabby seems to have focused on disbursement of money in order to shape educational institutions of one sort or another. If this was on condition of these institutions firing up the campus carillon and clanging out old tunes, I find no record of it.
There are three things to see in all of this. One, of course, is that we live under a stygian bureaucracy in which there are not only Assistant Deputy Secretaries for Innovation and Improvement, but also Associate Assistant Deputy Secretaries for Innovation and Improvement. Another is that directives issued under the letterhead of these absurd and bumptious officers are no laughing matter, because virtually every educational institution in this country is hooked on Federal dollars, and lives in mortal fear of the withdrawal symptoms that would occur if suppliers like Ms. Dabby cut them off. Finally, we should note that all concerned are satisfied if there is mere appearance of compliance, if recipients of the money undertake to stage what postmodernists are wont to call a simulacrum.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, come Constitution Day.