Overview of Common Core at the Primary School Level

I just returned from a COMMON CORE orientation at my son’s elementary school.

The principal stressed that Common Core was developed by the States, not the Federal Government. It was developed in response to NCLB, which teachers and administrators felt resulted in Learn-for-the-Test Thinking only.

Here’s the Overview of what we were told the CC Program focuses on:

LESS FICTION READING

Reading Fiction (such as novels) is dramatically reduced. Even at the Kindergarten level, the focus of literacy education is to be on non-fiction. The reasoning for this is that reading novels and most creative writing doesn’t translate into everyday usage and preparedness.

THREE AREAS OF WRITING

In Writing, students will focus on identifying and writing in three areas: Narrative Writing, Informational Writing, and Opinion Writing.

LESS SCAFFOLDING, MORE DIVING IN

Rather than build up a body of knowledge (scaffolding), students under CC will be expected to struggle through more advanced reading so that they “figure things out,” and learn to “persevere.”

CITING EVIDENCE

As part of the process of writing, they will need to identify evidence in the body of the text, and then cite that evidence in their writing.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS AS THINKING TOOLS

To reinforce their understanding of what they read, students are to use Speaking and Listening skills. So, they will be instructed to engage in conversations with reading partners to promote deeper-level thinking and responses than simply repeating what another student says.

LEARNING ACADEMIC LANGUAGE

Students from K-12 will be taught specific academic terminology (such as, Idiom, Synonym, Participle, etc) as part of their learning of language and literacy.

LITERACY AS COMPONENT OF ALL SUBJECTS

Whether the subject is math, science, social studies, or history, there will be a literacy (writing) component. Thus, students will be asked questions or given topics to write about , and the writing must demonstrate proficiency in higher-level thinking.

(Notice the term, Critical Thinking hasn’t been used; and never was. I wonder why, as that seems to be what’s being taught.)

ANCHOR SUBJECT FOCUS ON THE BIG IDEA

Just as in Math, where the CC goal is to get the student to explain how they arrived at an answer, all subjects are more about getting the Big Idea, than stressing getting particular facts correct. (NOTE: This conclusion is mine, based on what little the principal said about what Big Idea philosophy is all about. She glossed over it).

DISCUSSION AT THE END

We were given a poem by a Native American Chief (Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe) that started as follows:

“I am tired of fighting
Our chiefs are killed.
Looking Glass is dead.
Toolhulhulsote is dead.
The old men are all dead.”

We were told to discuss the structure of the writing, what the chief was saying, etc. Then, we were asked questions about this and asked to cite evidence to support our interpretations.

After that, the principal handed out another sheet of paper with factual information about Chief Joseph, and as she read what the chief’s father told Junior on his deathbed, the principal was practically in tears.

MY QUESTIONS / CONCERNS

There doesn’t appear to be any emphasis on CULTURAL LITERACY in this program to lay a foundation of who our children are as “Americans.” There is no importance placed on teaching a Common Core of Values and Principles.

If you restrict the reading of Fiction, specifically Folklore, you are limiting our children’s exposure to American Culture. Because stories and fables and folklore pass on cultural mores, history, myths, and identification. They may do so subtly or overtly.

If children continue to be taught things primarily (or solely) from the Native American viewpoint, or from the viewpoint of everyone but what would traditionally be viewed as an American in this culture, we will have no culture.

BIAS

Obviously, the majority of educators and administrators lean Left in their orientation. It’s part of their ideology to indoctrinate, as well as, to educate. If they wish, they can easily use CC to bias thinking, and to actually restrict how deeply children will think.

Thus, I see a huge possibility for abuse in this regard.

CONCLUSION

I don’t disagree with most of what is being focused on. It sounds like a rational approach to teaching. But, we all know that politics absolutely influences what education is, and so, we must keep an eye out for any instances of bias and indoctrination that occur.

Even the principal said that Federal Government can’t tell the States what they can do with education. That is, UNLESS, the States want to get federal funds…

The Punitive Pretzel of Progressive Logic and Hypocrisy

Progressives HATE Conservatives with a purple passion.

One of the reasons Progressives hate Conservatives is because to them, the “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

Progressives are Collectivists. And, Control Freaks. To them, Society is more important than the Individual. Progressives seek answers to societal problems through Big Government; regardless of the cost to Individual Rights and Liberty. Progressives seek to realize their Utopian dreams by controlling others, and forcing them to comply. Because, of course, Progressives know better, ARE better, and should be in charge.

Not only must Utopia be established (despite the realities of Life and Human Nature), but legislation to fix things must also PUNISH those whom the Progressives view as responsible for the societal problems (which, interestingly enough, never includes them). Ever notice how they pass laws that only screw things up, and then, years later, they blame others and demand the need for “reform?”

Theirs is a Punitive Political Doctrine. And they employ a twisted pretzel of logic in order to rationalize their views and hypocrisy.

How are they hypocrites? Consider this: Progressives view Conservatives as being “selfish and hateful” because Conservatives seek to keep as much of the money they earn to themselves; instead of gleefully agreeing to pay higher taxes. For “the Greater Good.” Yet all the Progressives are about is redistribution of wealth to THEIR political and ideological supporters. Somehow, institutionalized theft is not being selfish and hateful toward those who have earned what they possess. However, the Progressives’ use of Class Warfare, Spite and Envy is exactly that.

Progressives hate Conservatives because Conservatives believe in GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS; especially the right to Self-Defense. God and Guns are such icky things to Progressives, who fear everything, and who don’t like it when societal norms and mores tell them, “No. No, there AREN’T 51 different genders. And, no, something that 1% of the populace is or does that isn’t normal ISN’T normal.”

“No one,” Progressives argue, ” can tell US what to do or be. But, damn if we aren’t going to use the force of government to force you to do as WE see fit! Since we can’t transform ourselves, we will transform Society.”

“And, who NEEDS a gun?” they argue. “Society will protect you.” So naive, these Progressives. Even when statistical evidence regarding gun ownership vs crime rate, and longer and longer police response times prove otherwise, they bitterly cling to their FEELINGS that a fair and just world is just one more law away.

What grates Progressives the MOST, is that Conservatives revere the Constitution and Individual Rights. ACTUAL rights, not the made up blather Progressives like  FDR proposed in a Second Bill of Rights. Conservatives understand that a right is only a right as long as it doesn’t infringe on another person’s rights. Thus, the Constitution, as Obama has repeatedly said, stands in the Progressives’ way of making things rights that aren’t.

“Hey!” Progressives cry out. “Individual Rights are OUR territory! WE’RE the tolerant ones who defend the Individual!”

This, of course, is a lie. Progressives, in practice, have never been tolerant. And the only time they are “all about Individual Rights” is when “the few, or the one” in Society are members of THEIR politically-protected groups.

If there’s anything the past five years have proven, it’s that given the power, Progressives will seek to legislate away the Constitution, to economically and politically punish large swaths of the population, and to institute tyranny in order to get their way. The ends justify the means, is their mantra.

Most importantly, the reason Progressives hate Conservatives is because we hold up a mirror to their tyranny and hypocrisy. And, they don’t like that one bit.

Imagine There’s No Big Government

Imagine there’s no Big Government. It’s easy if you try.

No entrenched bureaucracy. Instead, we institute accountable employees who SERVE the People for no longer than ten years before they are “termed-out,” with limited pensions. After that, they can no longer work in government again.

No unaccountable, aristocratic, elitist congressmen. Just term-limited public servants who cannot amass more income from any sources while in office other than what they earn from salaries and legal personal investments; servants who must live according to the laws they pass, and who are criminally accountable for committing illegal acts while in office.

Imagine there are no secretive and unfettered Agencies that assume the duties of Congress to pass laws through regulation.

Imagine no use of tax monies to propagandize on behalf of political parties or an Administration. No collusion between government and mass media.

Imagine strict adherence to the Constitution, and the devoted protection of the Citizens’ civil rights.

Imagine.

These are things that must be fought for and put into place.

We the People do not exist so that self-appointed elitists can feather their own nests at the expense of those they are supposed to serve.

We do not exist to pay for others who are capable of working but who refuse to do so. We do not exist to pay reparations for things we personally are not responsible for. We must not allow certain groups to use politics to gain societal advantage over other groups. We are all equal and must be the same in the eyes of the law.

We do not exist to labor so that more than a tenth of our income is taken by bureaucrats and congressmen to buy votes, to build monuments to themselves, to give advantages to their corporate cronies, to redistribute wealth, or to financially support foreign despots and groups.

We are born free, to be free, and we must fight those who want to turn us into tax slaves. We must fight and defeat anyone, especially fellow Americans, who seek to legislate our God-given rights away.

Imagine.

And then do something.

It IS All About the Money

Just as the love of money is the root of all evil, so too, is the hate of money.

Like it or not, money is this realm’s “currency.” It is, at its essence, the means for freedom; freedom to choose whom you will serve.

A poor person, unless introduced to and accepting of God, feels he has no choices in life. His is an existence of mere existence; one fraught with constant worry and peril.

But, through God, all things are possible. The acceptance of God into one’s soul opens one’s eyes to the temporary nature of poverty. If one aspires to be better and educates himself, and works hard to attain money, that person elevates his economic status.

By disdaining wealth, and the very idea of Capitalism, one shackles himself to poverty, and the notion of “Fairness.”

Fairness is a notion that results in the desire to have “good intentions,” instead of “measurable results.”

Wealth is a measuring mechanism. Good Intentions are bricks of self-indulgence that are useless, except to line the road to Hell.

While idolization of money is evil, so, too, is the vilification of money.

God invented money for us to use as a means to have earthly worth and freedom.

The more money you have, the more options you have. The more options you have, the freer you are. The freer you are, the freer you feel to decide whom you will follow.

This may be why Progressives, who publicly eschew money (while idolizing it privately), are so invested in instilling in others the notion that they should gladly enslave themselves to Poverty, or Envy, or Covetousness, in order to be “better” people.

But, these better people end up serving The Other. Why? Because they cannot meet their basic needs. Because they value envy and sloth over independence and industry. And so, they get poorer, and more desperate, and desperate people are so much more susceptible to corruption.

There are over 2300 passages in the Holy Bible about money, and how to steward it.

If money weren’t important to God, it wouldn’t have been created. God also created Free Will: the ability to decide whether to believe in God, or not, and to follow Him, or not.

So, money is an aspect of Free Will. It’s all in how we choose to see it and use it.

So, those among us who decry Capitalism and who extol Socialism serve The Other, not God.

California Liberty March – Sacramento Press Conference – Press Release

CONTACT

Roger Cotton

Roger.libertymarch@gmail.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY

Sacramento

May 26, 2013

“The Age of Aquarius is over,” says forty-nine year old San Diego resident and fledgling activist, Roger Cotton. “It’s time for the Era of the Eagle to begin.”

According to Cotton, this would be an era of renewed patriotism and cultural reunification.

“America has such great potential. We have to reject those who have been dividing us according to our racial and economic backgrounds, as well as our politics. We are all Americans and it’s time we stop with the childish bickering and get on with the business of reaching our national and personal potentials.”

Cotton has been undertaking a six-week series of twenty-mile marches in towns and cities throughout California; from San Diego to Sacramento. As he marches, he wears shirts that say, “Protect the Constitution,” and “Defend the Bill of Rights,” and “Uphold Your Oaths of Office.” He also carries a ten-foot flag pole that flies a three by five foot American flag.

Cotton has received supportive car honks, waves and cheers. He has also been spat at, insulted, ridiculed, and threatened. Twice, he was targeted with water balloons. Despite this, he cheerfully spreads his message of political empowerment to anyone who asks him why he’s marching. “Our elected and appointed officials must uphold their oaths to protect the Constitution. Otherwise, we must get them out of office. We have to demand that politicians protect our civil rights.”

Cotton’s final twenty-mile march will be on Saturday June 1st. He will be marching from Elk Grove, into Sacramento and around the city. The itinerary for his marches can be found on his web site: http://www.liberty-march.com. He has been funding his endeavor through donations from supporters.On Monday June 3, 2013, Cotton will be marching from Meadowdale Park in Sacramento at 8 am. He will be marching just over two miles to the Sacramento State Capitol Mall, where he will hold a press conference. This event will begin at 10 am.

California Liberty March Journal – San Francisco (Day Two)

Hello, my friends. I don’t always march 500 miles for freedom. But, when I do, and I am in San Francisco, I end up getting hit on by a drunk thirty year old model at 10:45 pm on a Sunday night after I’ve been walking for over thirteen hours. Stay thirsty for freedom, my friends…

My day began like most others have during this march, with me waking up in the back of my mini-van, sleepily unlocking my car doors and setting off the car alarm. This is followed by my fumbling for the car key, and then reaching over the seat to press the automatic door opener. I then stumble out of the car and do the hot potato dance because my feet are so sore, and I quickly unlock the driver’s side door. This turns off the alarm.

This ritual is a pain in the ass, but, it gets me up and alert.

From there, I went into the gym to shower. Afterward, I put on my marching clothes and rubbed Running Goo on the soles of my feet to keep them from getting blistered. I ordered a protein shake from the gym smoothie stand, and went to move my car to another location. The parking structure I was parked in since the morning before charges $24 for each twenty-four hour period. I thought I might find another place to park that would be less expensive.

When I paid for the parking, I was surprised to only be charged $10. I giggled like a school boy.

WHERE ARE THE DAMN GAS STATIONS IN THIS CITY!?

I noticed that I was on Empty, so I went in search of a gas station.

I drove north toward Fisherman’s Wharf, and then east, along the coast. No gas stations. Anywhere. Just stop and go traffic. I was getting worried that I’d run out of gas and cause a traffic block. And, be stuck in San Francisco with no way to get gas.

I passed many college-aged people who were dressed in outlandish costumes. They ran the gamut from risque to humorous to ridiculous. These people were in a rush, trying to get somewhere.

I continued drive along, not finding a gas station, and getting ever more concerned. Finally, as I was stopped at a light, I gestured to the passenger in the car to my left to roll down her window. I asked her and the driver if they knew where there was a gas station. They said there was one ahead and to my right.

I drove that way, but didn’t see a gas station anywhere. My car started shuddering, and I cursed. Just then, I saw an overpass down the street, and then a Shell gas station sign on the right.

I coasted in, relieved. As I gassed up, I saw a small group of revelers walking by. The men wore silly luchadore outfits. I asked them what the costumes were all about, and they told me that there was an annual race going on, and that thousands of people traditionally donned costumes and walked parts of the peninsula to party.

Once my tank was full, I decided on my day’s itinerary: go to Fisherman’s Wharf, then march to Haight-Ashbury again, and then proceed to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Since there really wasn’t an affordable hotel or motel in the area, I decided to return to the gym parking structure. I parked in the same spot, got my flag and backpack, then left the gym and walked north toward the wharf.

WILLIAM, WAR, AND WHAT ARE THE BILL OF RIGHTS?

Along the way, a man with a wonky eye named, William stopped me. He was sitting at a bus stop, and wanted to know why I was carrying the flag. I gave him my standard responses, and he grew more and more animated as we spoke. He talked about how great America is compared to other cultures that abuse their citizens, and that our citizens have gotten lazy about their rights.

William said that he absolutely believed in what I was doing and asked me if I was former military. I told him no, but my step-father was a Marine who served in Viet Nam. William seemed to love Marines, even though he didn’t look at all like someone who feel that way about the military. Frankly, he looked like a Cheech and Chong character.

I told William what my doctrine on war was: Avoid it as much as possible, but, if it happens, then unleash the hounds of hell and win it as well and as quickly as possible. With no politically-directed rules of engagement that result in needless deaths.

William pointed to my shirt and asked, “What are the Bill of Rights?”

“The first ten amendments to the Constitution that list specific rights that government cannot take away or infringe upon. Like, freedom of Speech, freedom of Religion, the right to Petition for Redress of Grievances, the rights to Keep and Bear Arms-”

“What about the right to a lawyer?” he interrupts.

“That is part of your right to due process, ” I said. “And not to be disappeared as we now can be.”

William of the Wonky Eye and Salty Tongue was so enthusiastic about our conversation, that he kept using more and more profanity. A woman who was standing on the other side of the bus stop partition leaned over and said, “Excuse, I agree with your message, but could you not use profanity? There’s a child present.”

Willie and I didn’t realize that the woman and her twelve year old daughter were there. We apologized. The girl was very pretty and shyly looked at us and at my flag; unsure of what to make of us.

The bus came, and William and I shook hands. “Oh, hey,” he said, “Do you have any papers?”

“I don’t smoke.”

“That’s alright, dude. Keep up the fight. Go all Jarhead on those motherfuckers! Oh… Sorry, ma’am…” Then he rode away.

After that I walked until I reached the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf.

IS THE PARADE OVER?

I stopped walking in order to take out my tablet. I wanted to take a photo of the west-side of the Ghiradelli Building. A Hispanic man wearing a server’s uniform came out of the garage as I was about to take the photo. He was slowly pushing some kind of can on wheels, and he looked at me. He slowed down, and kept turning back. I was getting impatient because I didn’t want to use up the tablet’s battery unnecessarily. Finally, he turned and walked down the hill and around the corner. I took the photo.

I walked down the street to the corner and took another photo; this time, it was of a boat-shaped building. When I turned, there was Stalker McStalkerstein staring at me.

“Did I miss the parade?” he asked.

“I am the parade.”

“Oh, I heard on the radio about a march for civil rights.”

“I don’t know anything about that. I’m marching five hundred miles to stand up for the Bill of Rights.”

“You’re not marching for immigration?”

“Absolutely not. I am specifically marching for American civil rights and liberties.”

He smiled, tilted his head to the side for a moment, then said, “Something for everyone.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant, but I smiled back and waved.

I walked toward the beach area so I could take a better photo of the front of the Ghiradelli building. From there, I walked down an amphitheater seating area to walk along the beach to reach a dock area where several old ships were docked.

NAUTICAL HISTORY AND NICKNACKS

I walked down into the Hyde Street Pier to get a closer look at the ships. They were very old and therefore, historical. I read the placards about each of them, and took more photographs with my tablet. I looked into a building in which a small boat on angled wooden beams was being refurbished.

When I stepped back to photograph the interior of the building, a Chinese man asked me if he could borrow my flag.

“Borrow my flag?” I said, sounding incredulous. He gestured to three older Chinese woman who stood together.

“Yes. For picture.”

I gave him the flag pole and told the woman he handed it to not to let the flag itself touch the ground. She had started tilting it, so I was afraid she would carelessly let it touch the ground.

As the man took the photo, I lifted my tablet and asked if I could take a picture of them holding my flag pole. The women demurred, and scattered. The one holding my flag pole quickly handed it back to me. They smiled apologetically and hurried away.

“Well, that’s a fine how do you do,” I said aloud. “I let you use my flag and then you high tail it…”

A tourist behind me laughed, and I turned around and laughed as well.

I left the pier, and walked into a gift store next to it that had pirate figures out front.

I picked up some postcards to send to my family and to a sick boy I knew about on Facebook, as well as a bottle of Dasani.

I then walked to the beach area, looked around and wondered if anyone would ask me about my shirt. Not a peep. Despite the presence of hundreds of people swimming, tanning, strolling and riding bicycles.

So I walked westward to walk on a long dock that gave a good view of the bay and the bridge. And of Alcatraz.

An Italian couple had been taking photos along my route. I was annoyed, because they were completely oblivious to other people wanting to take photos from the same vantage points they lingered in. The young woman kept pointing her camera at the young man, ever posing with an intrepid attitude, and then panning the camera away from him to capture surrounding areas in the background. I figured it was one of those panorama-stitching cameras. So I would wait. But, the young man would never be satisfied with the results, and they’d repeat the process again. And again.

At the closest point to Alcatraz I could find, they were doing the same bit again. After ten minutes, I walked up, said excuse me, and made my way to where I could take the photo. I then asked a passing young woman and her father if she would photograph me with my flag.

I handed her my tablet and told her where to press. She nervously handed the tablet back to me, and smiled.”

“Did I take right?”

“Oh, I haven’t looked…” I checked, and the photos were fine. Because it was such a windy day, my flag was fluttering beautifully beside me. I gave her the thumbs up and she smiled, relieved.

With that area off my checklist, I set out to get to Haight-Ashbury.

GUNTAR THE AGGRIEVED

It was a beautiful day. People were riding cycles everywhere, including up an old Army base site that was on a hill. I walked up the hill and people looked at me with curiosity and bemusement. I could tell from their manner of dress, hairstyles, and speech that they were almost all foreigners. The Army buildings had been converted to a hostel area. Once I reached the top of the hill, I came to a large park where even more people were lying on the grass, soaking up the sun.

A tattooed woman on the grass asked if she could take my picture. I said yes and she did. Then, I walked on, past the park, and back onto the streets.

That is when I encountered a tall, lanky unkempt man with a backpack whom I shall call, Guntar.

Guntar had very bushy hair and a ragged beard. And piercing, angry eyes. He was walking toward me, then did the same stiffening I’ve seen before when someone’s really pissed about my marching with the flag.

Before he got to me, he suddenly turned right to cross the street. As he did, he took into my eyes and extended his middle finger at me. With absolute hatred in his voice and eyes, he said, “Fuck the United States!”

His voice had a gutteral Germanic tinge to it.

“Ya, ya, ya,” I said in shock and extreme anger. I then invited him to fuck himself. I was furious. I was tempted to confront the asshole, but he loped off like an angry urban sasquatch.

I reminded myself to let my anger go. Even though I still lose it from time to time, I still want to BE a Christian, not just claim to be one.

For the next two hours, I walked up some of the steepest streets I have ever seen in my life. I can’t imagine a Prius has the horsepower to carry anyone up such inclines. Twice, I had to take a moment to catch my breath. But, after marching for so many miles, I was able to walk at a quick pace until I reached the top. From there, I headed west until I passed Alta Plaza Park, and then, Masonic.

TERRITORY OF THE TOLERANT

Masonic leads right up to Haight. So, I followed it up. I entered an area where there were a lot of men walking hand in hand, or arm in arm, or some cases, crotch-in-hand. There were a lot of them around the area. They looked at me with great surprise. I just smiled and greeted a group of them as I passed by. At a street corner, as I was waiting to cross, a male-female couple in costumes walked across the intersection to my left. Just as the girl was directly behind me, she gave a yelp and cursed. She had been hit by a water balloon.

I looked up at the apartment complex windows where some of the gay men had walked into, a minute before. I saw no one. So, I  turned around and keep walking.

After five minutes or so, I was two blocks away from Haight-Ashbury. At a nearby park, there were hundreds of the costumed revelers on the grass. They were playing games and laughing. I walked up and reached the famed corner, and the day’s primary destination.

THE DUSKING OF AQUARIUS, OR, PROCLAIMING THE END OF PROGRESSIVISM WHILE STANDING AMONGST HUNDREDS OF PROGRESSIVES

There were hundreds of revelers, tourists, and locals on the corners, and along the streets of Haight-Ashbury.

I took out my tablet, set it on the ground, and turned on the video recorder. I then made my proclamation.

Despite speaking as loudly as I could, the wind was heavy and the chatter of the people walking by muffled me. I may be able to get the audio louder before I post it on YouTube. In any event, I declared the Age of Aquarius dead, and the Era of Progressive Rule over America soon to follow. There is a bit more to my speech, but you’ll have to watch the video.

Several people nearby didn’t look pleased. A young woman raised her eye brows. A black guy with dreadlocks sneered. And three white college fraternity types were too drunk to understand anything I was saying. And, I didn’t care. After seeing the hatred in Guntar’s eyes, not just for this country, but for me, I wasn’t in the mood to care what anyone else had to say.

HERE THERE BE INDIANS… AND HIPPIES… AND PIRATES!

As I was walking down Ashbury, I walked by an open garage. A tall, thin Native American man named, Gene, looked at me and my shirt and smiled broadly. He rushed out and shook my hand over and over. He asked me what tribe I was with. He was a bit drunk. I was taken aback and told him the only tribe I’m with is the American Tribe. When he realized I wasn’t Native American, he waved over an old bearded hippie and his friend to come meet me.

The hippie, named Bruce, was trying to sell his “Hippie’s Cookbook.” He was smoking pot as we talked. Bruce told me that he was a non-GMO type of cook, who once cooked for Ronald Reagan, and for French restaurants, and other places. An unmarked police car drove up the street, past us. Bruce cast a furtive glance and pointed them out to me.

Apparently, Bruce had a felony or two, and was on probation.

“I grow weed. You know, medicinal stuff. So,  they keep an eye on me. I have to keep a low profile,” he said, finishing the joint he was smoking.

Bruce went on to tell me about his views on how marijuana should be legalized and regulated, like any other product. He motioned to the garage and said something about a Grateful Dead album showing his house on an album cover. I think. Gene interruptted with something about something. Then, he laughed uncontrollably.

“It’s the drink.” said Bruce, sadly. “It’s no good for him.”  Gene said something else incomprehensible, and leaned on me, laughing.

“Here,” he said. “Let me have your flag. Take a picture of me.”

I took a photo of him and of Bruce. Bruce told me that he was one of the two creators of Pirate’s Booty, the snack. My children have that in the past, so I recognized the product.

“My father was a pirate. Our family line were pirates,” he said. “My middle name is Morgan, after the famous pirate.”

It was getting late in the day, and I was worried about getting to the Golden Gate Bridge before it got dark. So I excused myself, and headed north, down the steep street toward the Presidio.

Along the way, I saw a heavy-set curly-haired woman walking toward me. She was dressed all in black, with a giant Feminist symbol on the front of her shirt. At the end of the leash she was holding was a tiny, semi-hairless dog that hunched its back and walked on its toes as it walked. It looked more like an ugly cat thing than a dog. I waited to see if she would react negatively, but she just strolled by as normal.

YOU WANT A SANDWICH?

I trudged northward on Masonic until I got to a busy cross-street. I wasn’t sure what the best route would be to reach the Golden Gate Bridge, so I looked around to ask someone for directions. I saw a man sitting on a curb by a bus stop to my left. So I walked around and asked him.

Andrew was a late-Twenties, early-Thirties man with dark hair who gladly pointed out the route I should take. I thanked him and turned to leave when he stopped me.

“If you don’t mind my asking, why are you wearing that shirt?” He had an expression I couldn’t quite read.

“I am marching to demand that our elected and appointed officials, from the President on down, uphold their oaths of office to protect the Constitution, and, by extension, the Bill of Rights.”

Andrew then engaged me in a conversation about the state of the Union, and how Obama has been dismantling our civil rights. He decided not to get on the bus when it arrived.

“I’m a Moderate Conservative. More, a Libertarian,” he told me. “I like what Dr. Ron Paul has to say.”

“I have been listening to what his son, Rand has to say. I agree more with his stances than the more isolationist stances taken by his father,” I said.

“Yes, I agree. Rand is definitely more in line with my thinking than any other politician. I believe that none of the First Ten Amendments can or should be touched by politicians. Other Amendments might need tweaking, but not the first ten.”

I smiled. “Of all of the people I’ve spoken with over the past five weeks, you’re the only one who has told me that. That is exactly right. Our rights are inalienable. Therefore, they cannot be taken away, nor can they be regulated or infringed upon. They are rights. The Bill of Rights cannot be repealed, or even amended to take anything away. That is what our politicians simply do not understand.”

After further discussion, Andrew saw the bus approaching. “Are you hungry?”

“Yes,” I said. He squatted down and opened his backpack. “Do you want a sandwich?” Inside, I saw several wrapped foodstuffs.

“Do you like tuna sandwiches?” he asked. “Not really,” I said. “But, thank you.”

“Are you sure? How about a pastry?”

“Oh, no thanks. I’m Diabetic. But, thank you. I’m craving spaghetti. So I’ll wait until I find an Italian restaurant along the way.”

Andrew took my card, and told me he would send me an e-mail. He wanted to continue or conversation.

After he boarded the bus, I continued northward to the Presidio.

I eventually reached a summit called Presidio Heights, which was populated with spectacular Victorian houses with manicured hedges, groomed trees, and the same type of permit parking restrictions found throughout the city. This area “felt rich.” There was a gated children’s park. I could see the children laughing and running around while their well-to-do parents watched and mingled.

I walked down Laurel from Washington, and passed down the other side of the summit. As I did, I saw a vast forest below. It looked awesome. I had reached the south-side of the Presidio.

INTO THE WOODS…

There was a road along the edge of the Presidio forest that ran left to right. I looked into the forest and decided not to walk through them as I might get lost and take even longer to reach the bridge. I wanted to cross the bridge no later than 7 pm or so, while there was still daylight. So, I turned left and walked up the road.

Along the way, I took photos. I love forests. I love the greenness and the trees and the open glades in between stands. I love wildflowers and creeks and meadows. I am happiest when I am walking through nature. Which is why I have been so unhappy in San Diego for the past ten years.

I have yearned to move to a place that is foresty. Inland San Diego, of course, has a lot of nature trails and several lakes to walk to and around. But, the area is chaparral; dry and desert-green. I prefer the vibrant greenery of Minnesota or the Pacific North-West, or Hawaii.

When I was a boy, I lived on Oahu for three years. Those were some of the best years of my life and, at the same time, some of the worst. My family life was wrought with alcoholism and very traumatic domestic abuse. To escape the fear and pain of those night-time episodes, I would climb over fences marked, TABOO during the day and wander through the jungles.

For hours, I would explore the environment, gaze at the waterfalls and streams, try to catch catfish or crawdads, and watch insects buzz around or crawl or wriggle. In secluded areas, I would find small pools of maggots, or the dens of wild boar. It was a magical, beautiful playground.

Because I was always a spiritual person, I would climb to the highest branches of swaying trees and sit there, rocking in the balmy breezes, meditating. I pondered about life and death, about God and Heaven, and about who I could and should be. I dreamed of what it would be like to be rich so that I would never know hunger or insecurity or want.

I would also dream about finding my soulmate one day; that one person who would love me for who I was and who would understand my pain. In addition to being spiritual, I have always been a romantic. Which is why I have always been drawn to poetry and art about the Idyllic, and to fantasy and ancient time periods.

As I walked up the road alongside the Presidio, I saw a sign pointing to several trails into the forest. One of the trails led to the Golden Gate Bridge, which was 2.6 miles away. So, I went down the trail, and into the forest.

My heart soared when I saw the sights within. The sun had descended in the sky, and so, rays of sunlight streaked through the canopy of trees and illuminated patches of wildflowers or fallen trees or deep crevasses. The tall pines and leafy trees surrounded me and I loved it. Occasionally, other people walked by, but for the most part, I walked alone.

The trail led out of stands of trees and back in again. A few times, I would have to cross a street and then reenter a wooded area.

I came upon a cemetery dedicated to fallen veterans. There were two plaques on short stone walls. They contained quotes about the deaths of those who served, and that the meaning of those deaths was dependent on what meaning the living decided they would have. Hundreds of white marble crosses spread across a hillside that faced the bay. I could see the Golden Gate from where I was standing, which reminded me to move on.

From there, I walked down the trail to a road with a nearby overpass. On the side of the overpass, it said, Camp Winscott. Red brick colonial-style houses were on a hill on theother side of the overpass. I turned right down the road and then down to where another road intersected. I took the new road uphill.

WHAT ABOUT OUR RIGHTS?

I came upon three high overpasses that stretched out and curved above the road I was on. I looked up at the bottoms of them, and just imagining driving on them made me feel very queasy. I saw a sign that called them the 101 Freeway and I knew I would indeed have to drive over one of them the next day. One of the three overpasses was very old and in the process of being demolished, while another one was newly built. As I was examining the metal girders of the old overpass, two women walked down the hill toward me.

“What are you marching for?” asked the short, slim blonde.

“I’m marching to stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

The taller woman, a plain-looking brunette carrying a Tigger banner on a flag pole looked at my shirt and pursed her lips.

“The problem with the Constitution is that everyone interprets the Constitution differently.”

“There is no interpretation needed with the Constitution,” I replied. “It is based on the Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that our rights are unalienable. And, so, the Constitution, viewed through that prism, clearly protects all of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights as being rights of the Individual that cannot be taken away or infringed upon by the State.”

“Well,” said the brunette, “people interpret rights differently.”

“Yes, they do,” I agreed. “Many don’t understand that a right is only a right as long as it doesn’t infringe upon another person’s rights.”

The blonde said, “We’re a lesbian couple. What about our rights?”

“Yes,” interrupted the brunette, clearly upset. “We don’t have any rights. We don’t have the same visitation rights or property rights as everyone else.”

“And, why is that?” I asked. I was wondering if they would bring up the marriage issue, and what they had to say about it.

“The religious right won’t let us have these rights,” said the brunette.

“The majority of people keep voting against what we want. Everytime,” said the blonde.

“So, it’s not just the religious right who are the problem, then,” I said. I was treading on dangerous territory with these two, so I tried to maintain a sympathetic tone.

The brunette unleashed her frustration. “We’re tired of waiting. The hell with everyone else. We don’t care what they think. Damn Americans. They want to keep the country stuck according to laws passed by religious fanatics.”

“Do you believe in separation of church and state?” asked the blonde.

To an extent. But, that’s not-”

“We need freedom from religion,” said the brunette. “So, that even those who don’t believe in what the damned Christians believe don’t have to be forced to live how they want. They’re all warped.”

“Getting rid of the individual’s right to freely worship as they wish, or not wouldn’t be possible in America,” I said. “Not with the Constitution in place. We have freedom of religion. For a reason.”

“But, we’re atheists and we are sick of living in a country that is run by extremists. We shouldn’t have to abide by laws put into place by fundamentals. We should be able to be free to be spiritual or Buddists or Muslim, or not believe at all.”

I thought about what to say next. “You are able to do these things now. That’s what freedom of religion is. You can believe, or not. In the past, when the majority of Americans  openly expressed their beliefs, they were Christian beliefs. But, even then, we were never a theocracy. No one can say we ever were or are a majority atheist or Buddhist or Muslim nation. That’s just not the reality. The majority always were and still are Christians.”

“Makes me sick,” said the brunette.

“So, on your march, you’re marching for the Bill of Rights?” said the blonde.

“Yes. Everyone’s rights.”

“But, how can you say that? Do you support our equal rights?”

“Yes, I do. I have absolutely no problem with civil unions. You’re human beings. You’re Americans. You have the right to pursue your happiness.”

“But what about marriage?” asked the brunette.

“No,” I said, bluntly. I knew that this was the point of no return. “Marriage is a term that has a specific societal and religious meaning. It means the sanctified union between one man and one woman, which is a religious sacrament.”

“But what about people who are straight who get married through City Hall or in Las Vegas? They weren’t married in a church. Aren’t they married?”

“Technically, they have a civil union. They weren’t married in the traditional sense.”

“Well, everyone calls it marriage.” The brunette was getting very agitated. “And, they have the same rights as people who were married in church.”

“Well,” I said, “Wouldn’t you get those same rights if you had a civil union, too?”

“We want marriage,” she said, angrily.

“But, that would mean you’d get to force churches to have to marry you, despite their beliefs.”

The blonde put her hand on her partner’s shoulder. “That’s why we need freedom from religion.”

Mi”So, you would deprive others of their right to believe in what they want to believe in, as protected by the Constitution, because you want the word, marriage.”

The women sighed and restrained themselves. “We want equal rights.”

“I believe you,” I said. “But, marriage isn’t a right. At least, it currently isn’t. It’s more a societal privilege.”

“It’s a right,” argued the brunette. The blonde nodded vigorously.

“No, it’s not. At least, it’s not a right that we have collectively agreed upon as citizens as being a right. Right now, even straight people have to go to City Hall, pass some test- usually a blood test– and meet certain standards- like not be siblings– and then they are given permission, vis a vis a license, to marry. So, it’s currently not a right, per se.”

“That’s ridiculous. Government shouldn’t have anything to do with marriage.”

“Not even for the purposes of societal order?”

The blonde shook her head. “No. Not at all.”

“So, anything goes?”

“Let’s go,” said the brunette. She couldn’t restrain herself any longer.

The blonde looked down and then up into my eyes and just looked.

“Good luck on your march. Defend our rights, as well…”

Then, they turned and left. I continued up the winding road.

THE CRISSY FIELDS

I soon reached a point that overlooked the Crissy Fields below.

The fields were once populated by the Ohlone people, and was a wetland. But, the lands were covered over, and stables and warehouses were built on it. In the 1920′s, it became an army airfield.

I looked down at the equestrian buildings, which had equinine symbols above the large doorways. Since it was late on a Sunday evening, no one was down there. I wondered if there were horses in them, or if they were just relics of bygone eras.

There were large abstract scuptures near the shoreline. Beyond them, was the northern tip of the peninsula.

I walked up the road and finally reached the outskirts of the bridge area. Three people in their early-Thirties walked by me, and one of them started singing the “America, Fuck Ya” song from some South Park-related movie I can’t recall. The entire song. He didn’t stopped until they passed me, and disappeared around the bend.

I walked another quarter of a mile, and there it was, the Golden Gate Bridge.

THE WINDY BRIDGE OF FEARS, TEARS AND CHEERS

My heart started beating faster as I realized I was about to walk across the bridge. I had been told that there was a railing and fencing on the side, and that it wouldn’t be too scary. But, I was still getting very anxious.

Before I went on the bridge, I asked a young man from another country to take my photograph with my tablet. I posed, with the bridge in the background.

I put the tablet into the backpack, girded my loins, and grasped the flag pole with both hands. Then, I walked up to the pedestrian entryway to the bridge and started marching across.

My heart started pounding. The wind was so strong, that I thought I was going to be dragged off of the side of the bridge by the fluttering flag. My imagination and phobia were getting the best of me. As I slowly walked forward, gusts of wind would hit the flag and I would lurch a bit to the right, toward the railing. Slowly, terror started to flood over me.

There were people on the bridge who were walking toward me. This forced me to have to move closer to the railing; which, by the way, was not all that high. In my peripheral vision, I could see sky and parts of the bay below. I kept stopping in place, nervously peering to my left at the vista, and then continuing on.

I held the flag pole in the middle, tightly against my chest, at an angle. It was far too windy to raise the flag pole higher, and to be able to hold it by its base as I usually do.

The entire first half of the walk was nerve-wracking. Because the flag was so big, and I was holding it so low, it fluttered in the faces of others who passed by from behind me.

I came to a walk-around point where the wind was blocked by a massive bridge support. I started trembling and so I sat in a corner. After the panic attack I experienced on the mountain road in Tehachapi a week before, I was sick of feeling phobic. In fact, I started crying because I decided to confront this fear and not let it keep me from doing things I’ve always wanted to do. The more I thought about how long I have lived with the fear, the sadder I became, and the more I cried.

I stood up, took out my tablet, and waited until someone walked around to where I was.

Two young men walked by and I asked one to photograph me at the railing, looking down. I asked him what language he spoke, and he said, Espanol.

“Me voy a caminar por aya, y me voy a leer abajo,” I told him. With tears in my eyes, I said, “Tengo muy miedo.”

He understood, and solemnly took my tablet. I cautiously edged my way toward the edge with the flag. I sobbed as I did. Normally, I never would have let anyone see me that way, but I was determined to conquer my fear of looking down.

I took a breath and repeated, “Through God, all things are possible.” Then, I looked down.

For a few seconds, I felt the old familiar vertigo I experience when I am at a high place and I inadvertantly look down. I pressed myself again the heavy metal railing, holding in as tightly as I could. Slowly, my vision cleared, and I could see the waves below crashing into the side of the support pylon’s base. My breathing slowed, and I felt the terror subside.

I turned around, and the young man took another photo of me.

I walked back to the corner, thanked him, and sat down again. I cried again, but this time, it was from a sense of intense relief and accomplishment.

After that, I continued on my march. It was still scary, but the terror never returned. From time to time, I would stop short, my feet planted, and I would turn my head to look directly out at the bay beside me. Then, I’d walk on.

A Mexican family walked toward me, then the father wanted to pose with me. He motioned for his children to join us, and his wife took the picture. He looked at my shirt and smiled, giving me the thumbs up.

Cars drove by and honked from time to time. Across the busy thoroughfare, on the other side of the bridge, I saw bicycle riders headed in the opposite direction. I wondered how they could ride in such windy conditions. People casually walked across the bridge, and I realized this was nothing to them.

Marching across the Golden Gate Bridge, when I first conceived of doing it, seemed like a good symbolic act as part of my Liberty March. But, as I was walking across, all I wanted was to reach the other side. Once I reached the other side, I really didn’t want to do it again. But, by that time, it was after 8 pm, and it was getting very cold.

My car was parked at the gym parking structure miles away, and I was starving. I hadn’t eaten anything since 9 am. I started wishing I had accepted the sandwich and pastries that Andrew had offered me.

I then turned around and immediately marched across the bridge again.

This time, I walked on the side closest to the cars. On-coming vehicles honked and people inside wave or pumped their arms.

From time to time, I would stop and walk to the railing to look down. It got easier and easier to do as I walked across the second time.

Twice, though, a bus would zoom by, and the air wake would pull the flag, which in turn, would lift me up onto my toes and backward. The wind had shifted and so I was leaning into the wind, clutching the flag pole.

Finally, I got across, and went down to an area where there was information about the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. I had done what I came to do, and I felt proud.

It was dark, but I could see some of the information on the plaques and statues and small scale bridge models. Because the wind was so cold, I knew it was going to be a miserable walk back to my car. I kept thinking of a hot plate of spaghetti, and thought about finding a restaurant along the way.

I went to use the restroom, and when I was out, looking at my tablet, a man with an Israeli accent walked up and asked my why he had seen me on the bridge marching with the flag.

“Because I am a citizen, not a subject. And I demand that my elected and appointed officials uphold their oaths to protect our Constitution. I want my rights protected.”

“So, you march with the flag,” he said, impressed.

“Like Forrest Gump,” chimed in the young woman with him. She was smiling.

“Yes, except no one’s following me,” I said.

“You keep doing this,” said the man, who patted me on the shoulder. He turned around and they walked away.

My tablet battery was almost dead, so I turned it off and put it away. I put on the backpack, hefted the flag pole and walked into the dark of the Presidio.

LOST AND FOUND

I walked down the road I had followed before, loudly singing the Liberty March song I wrote (it’s on the Liberty-March.com web site, on the MARCH subpage). I was elated that I had completed the two biggest things I wanted to do on the march: the Haight-Ashbury proclamation and the bridge march. Hunger was starting to make me tired. I realized that I was getting lost as I walked. I had been heading in the general direction of the city proper, but the unlit roads and dark forest area caused me to become lost.

Luckily, I happened upon the Presidio Visitors Building and nearby was a fire station.

I walked up to the front door of the fire station and rang the door bell. A minute later, three firemen appeared. All were dressed in night clothes. I apologized for disturbing them, and told them I was lost.

One asked me in and led me to a wall map. He pointed out where I was at, and which roads to take to get back to the Civic Center area. I was still a long way away.

I thanked them and handed them my Liberty March business card. “This is in case I get lost and die, or something,” I joked.

“Don’t worry,” one of them said. “This is the good part of San Francisco.”

I left the fire station and headed up Lincoln, as directed. Then, I turned left on Lombard and headed east, toward downtown.

It wasn’t too long before I reach the end of the Presidio and was once again on surface streets where houses and commercial businesses were once more present. I found a small Italian restaurant called, Marina Pizza and Caffe, and I went into eat. I ate lasagna and garlic bread. And it was good. I sat at a table next to an electrical outlet and partially recharged my tablet.

By this time, it was 10 pm and I still had another two hours of walking to go.

HER NAME WAS RIA… SHE WAS A MODEL…

After forty-fives minutes of walking, I saw a corner bar that had a sign saying, “Karaoke Tonight.” I love doing Karaoke, though my voice is shot since I stopped practicing, and since I started having serious problems with my Diabetes over the years. I can no longer hit upper register notes. Anyway, the sides of the bar were big windows, and I could see a lot of people inside dancing while someone sang and was being projected onto a large screen television.

As I stood there, a dirty blonde ran out and started talking to me as if she knew me and we had already been talking about something.

“Oh, my god, that girl is so hot,” she told me, about someone inside. “She is the hottest one in there. I want her so bad…”

Despite my confusion, I just smiled and kept watching the action inside. Some guy with a huge blue afro wig and shades was squatting as he danced, and bouncing his ass.

“That’s a big flag pole,” the young woman said. She was about 5’9″, skinny, with no make up and her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She wore jeans and a zipped up hoodie with a light jacket over it. She was very very drunk.”What are you doing?”

I told her I had just marched all day. From that point on, things got strange. She started looking up and down at me.

“That’s tight. You live around here?”

“No. I’m from San Diego.”

“You ever been to Venice Beach?”

“I marched through there just a couple of weeks ago.”

“No shit? I have a house there. I’m a model. I’m thirty years old. I’m signed on with (unintelligible agency name) for five years. My house is the one with the (unintelligible description). You know it? You should come down sometime. Here…” She pulled out a book of matches from an establishment in Venice Beach. “My house is just six houses up from here…”

Before I could respond, she launched into another barrage of questions.

“So, what are you? Mexican? Your skin is really tan.”

“My mother is Puerto Rican, and-”

“Tight!” she said, running her eyes over me again. “I’ve never been THERE before…”

I was wondering if she was playing some kind of game. She actually seemed to be hitting on me. Through the window, a younger woman with make up, who definitely looked like a model, was trying to get her attention. She was holding a camera, aimed at us.

“Uh… excuse me,” I interrupted. “I think someone’s trying to get your attention.

The young woman in front of me turned and waved, then turned back to continue her full court press. I was amused because I knew that the other model was taking the pictures in order to use the to embarrass or maybe blackmail the girl the next morning, when she was sober. At the same time, I didn’t relish the idea of being the “creepy old guy” they would forever be joking about.

“So, my name’s Ria. What’s yours?”

“Roger.”

“Roger,” she repeated, using a deep voice. “That’s hot. What are you, like forty-five? What rap singers do you like?”

I stared at her, my mouth open. “Not a music guy? That’s cool…”

I couldn’t believe this encounter, and didn’t think anyone else would, either, so I shrugged off the backpack and took out my tablet.

“Oh, ya! Let me give you my digits…”

“Actually, would it be alright to video you while you talk?”

This sobered her up a bit. “No, no. I can’t. The agency (unintelligible)…”

“Okay, then just talk and I’ll video the Karaoke scene. As I did, she told me what links on YouTube to check out in order to listen to several rappers she liked. She liberally peppered her speech with “motherfucken-this and motherfucken-that.” On the whole, she was pretty hard to follow.

I turned off the tablet and put it away.

“My nieces are all, like, Aunty Maria… When are you going to take us to San Francisco? Well, I’m here now. Not going to bring kids to a motherfucken club. Oh, there’s my brother, waiting for me. Here…” She handed me the book of matches. “See ya… Roger (with the husky emphasis voice).”

Then, as quickly as she entered my life, Ria was gone.

I walked around the corner of the bar and walked on. As I did, a huddled group of models and the men with them watched me go. One of the young men looked baffled. I looked him in the eye, smiled, and strutted off.

I had walked almost four hundred miles by that point, had battled my fears, and after that strange encounter with Ria, I was feeling like a manly man once again…

I got to the gym parking lot without any further incident. It was Midnight. I showered, got dressed, and then got into the back of my mini-van, and quickly fell asleep.

It had been a long day.

California Liberty March Journal- San Francisco (Day One)

There is just too much left to do here. I will be marching around San Francisco tomorrow again. I wandered around the civic center, the downtown district and out to Alamo and Haight-Ashbury.

When I was in the Haight-Ashbury area, there were a lot of people visiting, shopping, hanging out, and driving through. There were also some stern-looking cops walking around, or parked nearby. Hippies and tourists were everywhere.

On one street corner, a shop called, Ben Jammin was holding an outdoor music event. People were dressed in tie-dyed clothing; some wore rainbow wigs and headbands, and others were getting facial tattoos painted on. A really old lady was dancing around doing Flower Child gestures and moves as she listened to a young woman sing and play the guitar. Small children with tie-dyed clothes and face paint were getting their groove on. A very pregnant young woman with her belly exposed and painted was dancing with the children.

I took out my tablet to take pictures. A man who looked a lot like Bill Ayers was sitting under a portable canopy near the singer. He seemed disturbed by my presense with the flag. He got up and told a fat old man with a beard and a tye-dyed outfit to photograph me. I thought the fat man was Ben of Ben an Jerry’s. I just smiled and posed and asked if they wanted the message on my shirt to be visible.

The old fat hippie told me he was Bob, and he posed with me. I asked Bill Ayers to photograph me with Bob.

Bob then offered me a free hot dog, and told me he had attended over 5000 concerts. At least 350 of those concerts were by the Grateful Dead. Bob gave me another hot dog then wandered off to dance with some other hippies who arrived in Sixties-style outfits.

I wanted to proclaim the end of the Progressive Era, but no one else talked to me while I was on the corner of Haight-Ashbury. Thus, I couldn’t find anyone trustworthy to hand my tablet to so I could do it. I decided to walk on, passed the clouds of pot smoke, and along bus stops and grassy hillsides populated by homeless people, teenagers, and hacking drug addicts who were openly free-basing and snorting.

Later in the day, as I was walking from the Civic Center area to downtown, a homeless young woman yelled at me and told me to fly my flag upside-down. This irritated me at first. She then said it’s to signify that the nation is in trouble. She and several other homeless people were lounging on a park slope, complaining that the police rousted them, and kicked them out of the City Hall park. Apparently, there were two big events going on in neighboring buildings, and well-to-do were going to be in attendence.

l had seen several rich people drive by in the area. The men looked distinguished and moneyed, and the women were dripping with jewelry.

The young woman told me that she decided to become homeless after participating in a previous Occupy event. As she told me this, a man lying behind her would periodically grab her breast and gave it a squeeze. The young woman said she would rather live on the streets and do without frequent showers than be a part of what “feeds the system.” Apparently, she can’t do without Facebook. She told me to follow her. Her name is Anonymama.

After chatting with the homeless group, I walked downtown. It was 7 pm by this time.

There would a lot of interesting buildings to look at. As I photographed some of them, I was taunted or threatened by nafarious-looking men with sagging pants who spoke street vernacular. They congregated on the corners and in front of Cash/Western Union shops. One man was behind me, offering his friend $15 to “bitchslap this niggah (me).

I turned around, gave them a look that said, Well? Are you going to do it? I’m waiting. But they turned away and talked about something else.

I wandered for an hour, taking photos and wondering if anyone would ask me about my flag. No one had the entire day. And this is the most people I’ve been around at any given time during my marches. I went into a Starbucks to recharge the tablet and to upload photos to Facebook.

From there, I walked in an arc back toward the 24 Hour Fitness club where I had started from, on Van Ness and Post.

As I was just walking up to the gym to call it a night, a slightly inebriated man named, Larry saw me, my flag, and my shirt message (Protect the Constitution), and he said, “Yes!”

He shook my hand and told me he was once very liberal. Now, he identifies as a libertarian (though he qualified that by saying he’s actually more conservative). He once had long hair, piercings, and thought like a Progressive. Now, he has sort hair, dresses like an average working-class stiff. He is a teacher now, who works with “problem” kids (aka gangbangers and kids from poor, troubled homes).

Larry says he doesn’t like how intolerant the city and its liberal citizens have become. They are tolerant only of what they believe in. He supports gay marriage and is “Pro-Choice,” but he also believes in the Constitution and in the Second Amendment. He owns a gun, in part because of what he does for a living. But he was emphatic about his belief that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. He has always thought of the Constitution as sacred.

Larry voted for Obama because he hated Bush. But, he soon saw what a disaster Obama is, and didn’t vote for him again. Now, he hates what Obama’s doing to our country and our Constitution. Larry supported the Occupy Movement but disagreed with its focus, and confrontational manner toward the police and others.

One thing Larry was amazed about was how the media has been protect Obama, and yet now have found out that the AP’s  information was secretly taken by the Administration.

Larry and I shook hands, agreed that we love American and are proud to be Americans. Then, I rolled up my flag and walked into the parking structure.

Tomorrow, I will video my proclamation and then march northward to the Presidio, and then across the Golden Gate Bridge.