As previously related, there is a difference between becoming a citizen and being one. So, I made up my own "Citizenship Test" of some of the things which might be involved in "being" a citizen of Brazil, Ind., United States of America.
Like the INS test, mine is in three parts:
PART I: LET GEORGE DO IT
Ever Gone To A City Council Meeting With No Agenda Of Your Own?
SORT OF -- The only one I ever attended was with our youngest son to try to get a Skateboard Park. Whatever happened to the decision to "look into in"? Maybe I should make another meeting?
Ever Attend A School Board Meeting With No Agenda Of Your Own?
NO -- Closest I ever got was standing up to the Wentzville, Mo., School Board who had determined to do something with our middle son which I did not believe was in his best interest. I told the principal I would take my son out of the school and notify the local paper as to my reasons. I feel sorry for any parent who would not make such a stand.
Ever Made A Financial Contribution To A Political Candidate In Whom You Believed?
SORT OF -- Did send $10 to Barry Goldwater in 1964; but if you know how badly he lost you'll understand why I decided to never love another candidate again.
Ever Met City Alderman (Alderperson?) at One of Those Scheduled Public Meetings?
NO -- But, Brad Deal, in my own defense I was incarcerated at the time in Union Hospital.
Ever Attended Any Of The On-Going Cracker Barrel Meetings -- For Which Our Representatives Go To Some Effort On Their Own Dime?
YES -- But only the first one when we moved to Indiana in 1996. Since then there have been a few conflicts: Christ Community Church men's ministry meets on same day, there's that hospital thing, and I just ain't citizen enough to get up so early in the morning to meet a bunch of politicians.
PART II: DON'T GET HANDS DIRTY
Ever Served On A Jury?
SORT OF -- Was called twice when we lived in St. Louis. By the time I walked from the parking lot to the receptionist, she sent me home. (You really have to know me more than 5-minutes to understand why).
Ever Taken Part in Passage of a New Law?
NO -- Our daughter was an Intern one session at the State House. After her description I decided to live by the old axiom: "Never watch laws or sausages being made."
Ever Gone to Court Just to See How It Works?
YES -- When I was much younger and braver I knew a man at our church who was a Judge. He invited me to come with him into Chambers and I spent most of the morning observing [I do a lot of observing, little real action.]
Ever Voted In An Uncontested Primary Election On A Rainy Day?
SORT OF -- On a day when it was pouring rain with some effort I went out to Northview High School determined to vote for Andy Thomas. I thought, still think, he is a good man and I wanted to be able to say I voted for him. I didn't live in his District. Since I didn't know what District I lived in, maybe I should count this as a NO.
Ever Successfully Defended Yourself In Traffic Court?
YES -- Twice! First time, after 100-plus had pleaded guilty and left, the Prosecutor admired the town didn't even have the equipment State of Missouri required for conviction. They relied on people pleading guilty. The second time the Judge conceded that just maybe the Officer issuing the summons did not recall the events exactly as they may have occurred. Actually, relishing these long-ago victories is the only reason I included the question.
PART II: A LITTLE OF BOTH
Ever Written A (Signed) Letter To The Editor Of The Brazil Times -- And It Was Worth Publishing?
SORT OF -- I've written things in the past which were published as OPINION articles. I did get a byline, though, so I'll count them.
Do You Know The Difference Between County Councilman And Commissioner?
NOPE -- After 12 years in Indiana I still don't have a clue; even had to look it up to get the titles right. What is the difference between a Councilman and Commissioner?
Oh, and I'm still open for suggestions if you have any more pertinent questions for this Citizen Test, feel free to let me know.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.