You are on page 1of 54

Literal © Vicki Hudson 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval
system, without written permission of the publisher/author. This PDF copy may be shared widely.
Copyright remains with the author.

Cover Art by: Joleene Naylor

Photo Credit: Vicki Hudson

Vicki Hudson

Gutterdog Press
PO Box 387
Hayward, CA 94542

Published in the United States of America.

What others are saying about Literal: Defining Moments

“Literal: Defining Moments proudly engages with the foremost political challenges of our era,
countering the crassness of Donald Trump's 140-character appeal with all of the armor of
postmodernism. By employing extensive internal reference and external citation, she connects
the 2016 election with the history of our country, political thought, and language itself. This
poem's intelligence and earnest sense of urgency are to be celebrated.”
- Brian Felsen, Founder, bookbaby

“The poems in Vicki Hudson's Literal: Defining Moments feature words at their limit as they
work to reflect and break down our country's current political crisis. With considerable
intelligence and skill, Hudson holds a mirror to our hearts and minds. This is a truly necessary
work at a very dark age.”
- Lynn Melnik, Author of If I Should Say I Have Hope

“Sometimes it serves the reader to know the perspective of the writer. This is absolutely one of
those cases. Knowing where LTC (R) Victoria Hudson writes from-- her gut, her experience and
uniquely beautiful perspective as a lesbian war veteran and patriot; makes all the difference in
her poetry. Her words are solid and "literal" but that adherence to concrete vernacular opens the
world of her readers to interpretation. Nothing is literal, or is it? Hudson has taken her
experimental poetry a step past the literal and allowed readers to ponder the meaning of actual
words. Brilliant!”
- Angela Ricketts, author of No Man's War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife

“A child and building forts with our World Book Encyclopedia, I entertained myself by opening
a volume at random then looking up the words in the entry my eye had chosen, those inquiries
giving way to others as I tunneled ever deeper into meaning. This book follows that method but
its starting point, far from random, is the author’s belief system in “honor, integrity, and duty.”
Not much heard in contemporary culture, the words seem almost quaint. But never more
important than now, Hudson believes, when our republic stands on the edge of the abyss of the
2016 Presidential election. The poetry in Literal is unapologetically political and refreshingly
candid; its exploration of language charges old phrases with fresh and deeply-felt meaning.”

- Rebecca Foust, author of Paradise Drive and All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song.

For K. S. – An honorable man between a rock and a hard place.

I vibrate with the dishonor of silence.
I cannot be still in the face of a clear threat to our Republic.1
- Vicki Hudson

A thought recorded in my notebook, July 2016, during the Napa Valley Writers Conference.

Dedicated to my children, that their
future may be safe, and assured.

Table of Contents


Preface ........................................................................................................................................................ 11
Literal .......................................................................................................................................................... 13

The Constitution of the United States ......................................................................................................... 28

Notes and Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................... 44
About the Author ........................................................................................................................................ 46
About the Soldier: ....................................................................................................................................... 47
The 11 Principles of Leadership ................................................................................................................. 49


Defining Moments

Lieutenant Colonel Victoria A. Hudson

United States Army, Retired


This poem is a trail of language, each key word defined, and another key word found within that
definition. Words have meaning, and once known, are difficult to ignore.
Literal: Defining Moments, is a call to action during the chaotic 2016 election cycle. Using an
experimental form, the language itself creates a trail for the reader, challenging one to consider
the full meaning of the words used in reference to self as well as that outside and beyond the
Following the trail of definition, where words of identity, purpose, and meaning are integral to
and part of each other; the reader is asked to make a choice based upon what those very words
mean when taken in context with one's own self-belief and sense of purpose.
This is a very personal poem, as the language reflects an internal belief in honor, integrity, and
duty; this poem also is universal in that language is a collective representation of ideals and

Vicki Hudson
Hayward, California
August 2016

But most current officeholders, even those who declared Mr. Trump to be an unthinkable choice
only months ago, have lost the courage to speak out.

The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of
voters. Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the
presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when
warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for
that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.

- Editorial Board, Washington Post, July 22, 2016

To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is
watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue
statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is
becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate.

- Dan Rather, Facebook, August 9, 2016



being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else3

existing or occurring now4
the possibility of suffering harm or injury
a person or being that is likely to cause harm or injury
the possibility of something unwelcome or unpleasant5

2 Footnotes are integral elements of this poem.

3 Unique – Definitions are drawn from search. Other defining sources are noted.
4 Present as defined.
5 Danger as defined.


Duty Honor Country6

a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility

a task or action that someone is required to perform7
the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over
the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something
the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization8

high respect; esteem

a privilege9
regard with great respect
fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement)10
a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or
group of people11

6 Moral code of the American Army Officer, see (Follow the link,
worth the read. Gain insight on the American professional military officer’s moral core and culture.)
7 Duty as defined.
8 Responsibility – follow on definition from Duty.
9 Honor as defined.
10 Honor as verb, defined.
11 Privilege - follow on definition from Honor.

bring to completion or reality; achieve or realize (something desired, promised, or
carry out (a task, duty, or role) as required, pledged, or expected12
a solemn promise or undertaking
a thing that is given as security for the fulfillment of a contract or the
payment of a debt and is liable to forfeiture in the event of failure13
commit (a person or organization) by a solemn promise
give as security on a loan14

an indefinite usually extended expanse of land : region

the land of a person’s birth, residence, or citizenship
(the fact or status of being a citizen of a particular place
the qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community)15

12 Fulfill – follow on definition from Privilege.

13 Pledge – follow on definition from Fulfill.
14 Pledge as verb, defined.
15 Citizenship defined.

a political state or nation or its territory
the people of a state or district ; populace16

the people living in a particular country or area

the common people17
a person who legally belongs to a country and has the rights and protection of that

16 Country defined per Merriam-Webster (online). [Change of source – more comprehensive. A change-up can be good. Works in baseball!]
17 Populace – follow on definition from Country.
18 Citizen – follow on definition from Citizenship, as defined per Merriam-Webster (online)


A moral, and legal obligation to carry out my solemn promise19, I am security20 for and on

behalf of, the people of this country, and this I’ll defend - the Constitution21 of the United States

against all enemies22, foreign and domestic23. 24

19“I do solemnly swear (or affirm)… that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and
domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I
am about to enter, SO HELP ME GOD.” Excerpt from the oath of office spoken by all military, appointed, or elected persons to a position of honor
or trust under the government of the United States, prior to taking office. The Poet raised her right hand and spoke these words initially
October 2, 1979. (And continued to do so at each enlistment and subsequently on October 4th 1984, as a member of the Profession of Arms, when as
a newly minted Second Lieutenant, she affirmed this commission from the President of the United States, entering the United States Army
Military Police Corps Regiment. Of the Troops and For the Troops!
20 “A Veteran is someone that at some point, wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life.”
21 The foundation, governing document of the government of the United States.
22 Enemy defined: a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something / a thing that harms or weakens something else.
23 Domestic defined: existing or occurring inside a particular country; not foreign or international.
24 Summary of Duty, Honor, Country by this poem’s author (Citizen Soldier, retired December 15, 2012 after 33 years of military service which

included two wars (Desert Shield/Storm, Iraqi Freedom), NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina (IFOR / Operation Joint Endeavor),
and two domestic security tours (Noble Eagle); entered service during the Post Viet-Nam Era and served through post 9/11 into the Era of Persistent
Conflict (AKA Global War on Terrorism – [no one calls it that any more].


Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of the Republic. His authoritarian tendencies and
flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy. He hopes to divide us
by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the
White House. He is looking to to pit neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, American
against American. We will not stand for this vitriolic rhetoric that is poisoning our country and
our children.

- Harvard Republican Club, August 4, 2016

a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in
retribution for something done or not done
a person or thing likely to cause damage or danger25

the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult

an object or practice that has continued to exist from an earlier time26

25 Threat defined.
26 Survival defined.

a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which
has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

a group with a certain equality between its member27

an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

(in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice28

favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at

the expense of personal freedom29

not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own30

(of a plant of animal) unable to survive exposure to (physical influence)31

27 Republic defined.
28 Fascism defined.
29 Authoritarian defined, follow on from fascism.
30 Intolerant defined, follow on from fascism.
31 An additional perspective on Intolerant. Think about it – unable to survive exposure to…..


The Pledge of Allegiance32


the obligation of a feudal vassal to his liege lord

the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government
devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause34
love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause35
Faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and

32That driblet of text we learned as children, absently say at civic events and most are never called to fulfill the promise made.
33Review Footnote for Pledge. (a solemn promise or undertaking a thing that is given as security for the fulfillment of a contract or the payment of a
debt and is liable to forfeiture in the event of failure).
34 Allegiance defined per Merriam-Webster (online).
35 Devotion – Follow on from Allegiance, back to Google.
36 Fidelity, follow on definition from Allegiance.

the sense of consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own obligation to
do right or be good
A faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts
Conformity to what one considers to be correct, right, or morally good
Sensitive regard for fairness or justice37

holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct

a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for
them to do.38

an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or

the condition of being morally or legally bound to do something

a debt of gratitude for a service or favor39

37 Conscience as defined by Merriam-Webster (online).

38 Moral, follow on definition from conscience.
39 Obligation defined, follow on from conscience.



Un (not) duty = surrender, disregard, faithlessness, treachery40

violation of allegiance or of faith and confidence
an act of perfidy or treason

Non (not) responsibility = distrust, irresponsibility, immaturity41

the feeling that someone or something cannot be relied on
doubt the honesty or reliability of; regard with suspicion

Nil (none at all) honor = disregard, neglect, derision, denunciation, disgrace

contemptuous ridicule or mockery
Un (reverse or undo, deprive) privilege = refusal, detriment, hindrance, loss42
the state of being harmed or damaged
Non (not doing; not involved with) fulfill = abandon, destroy, halt, neglect, refuse, ignore43
give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking)
cease to support or look after (someone); desert
complete lack of inhibition or restraint

40 Antonyms of this text’s key words, using Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from website
41 Same as above.
42 Same as above.
43 Same as above.

De (removal or reversal) pledge = breach, break44
an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct
Anti (opposed to; against) country = against45
in opposition to
Anti (opposed to; against) populace = against46
Antagonistic towards
De (removal or reversal) allegiance = apathy, dishonor, treachery, treason, sedition, disloyalty,
the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something
Ir (without) devotion = animosity, disrespect, hatred, enmity, disrespect, disregard, treachery48
the action or state of disregarding or ignoring something
Anti (against) conscience = immorality49
the state or quality of being immoral; wickedness

44 Same as previous footnote regarding Antonyms - but that’s the page before so here you go: Antonyms of this text’s key words, using Roget's 21st
Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from website
45 There was no antonym for the key word, in context with this text. Anti, however, means against.
46 See footnote for Antonyms..
47 Same as above.
48 Same as above.
49 Same as above.


“On January 20, 2017, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to the 45th
president: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United
States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the
United States.”
Donald Trump is utterly unqualified to keep this solemn pledge to our most fundamental law. We
know this because in winning the nomination, Trump has already promised that he will
knowingly break the law and violate the Constitution.”
Josh Blackman, National Review, May 12, 2016.

possession of the means or skill to do something; talent, skill, or proficiency in a particular area50

maintain in its original or existing state51

keep safe from harm or injury52
resist an attack made on (someone or something); protect from harm or danger
"we shall defend our country, whatever the cost"
speak or write in favor of (an action or person); attempt to justify53

50 Ability defined.
51 Preserve defined.
52 Protect defined.
Defend defined.

forming a necessary base or core; of central importance
a central or primary rule or principle on which something is based54

required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential55

the central or most important part of something56
of, at, or forming the center
of the greatest importance; principal or essential57

break or fail to comply with (a rule or formal agreement)

fail to respect (someone's peace, privacy, or rights)
treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect58

54 Fundamental defined.
55 Necessary defined, follow on from fundamental. (As a noun, necessary is defined as “the basic requirements of life….)
56 Core defined, follow on from fundamental.
57 Central defined, follow on from fundamental.
58 Violate defined.


I will not contribute my name, my work, or my character to an utterly indefensible cause. No

sensible adult demands moral purity from a political party, but conscience is meaningless
without constraints. A party willing to lend its collective capital to Donald Trump has entered a
compromise beyond any credible threshold of legitimacy. There is no redemption in being one of
the “good Nazis.”
I hereby resign my position as a York Township Republican committeeman. My thirty-year
tenure as a Republican is over.
- Chris Ladd59

completely and without qualification; absolutely60

not justifiable by argument
not able to be protected against attack61
the state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid or perform some action62

59 Ladd, C. (2016, August 17). Resignation letter. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from
60 Utterly defined.
61 Indefensible defined.
62 Constraint defined, Merriam-Webster online.


Hobson’s choice63 or carry water.64


63 “Hobson’s choice” An apparently free choice when there is no real alternative. A situation in which you are supposed to make a choice but do not
have a real choice because there is only one you can have or do.
64 “Carry water” To serve, assist, or perform menial or difficult tasks for some person, group, or organization. To support a person, organization, or

cause that one would not in reality endorse, as due to pressure, force, or pragmatic reasons.
65 This poem uses the defined text for the noted words. Each word is related to the words that follow it in some way, creating a trail for the informed

consent of the governed [you and I] in the Republic: a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers
and representatives responsible to them {THE PEOPLE} and governing according to law. You decide – Hobson’s choice or carry water.

The Constitution of the United States66 September 1, 2016

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Constitution as it was inscribed by Jacob
Shallus on parchment (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives
Museum.) Items that are hyperlinked have since been amended or superseded.
The authenticated text of the Constitution can be found on the website of the Government
Printing Office.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general
Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and
establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States,
which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

66 The Constitution is a public domain document.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year
by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the
Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five
Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when
elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which
may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be
determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to
Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other
Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting
of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in
such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not
exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one
Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire
shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence
Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight,
Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and
Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority
thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall
have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section. 3.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each
State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall
be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first
Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the
Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so
that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by
Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the

Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the
Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and
been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an
Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have
no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the
Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the
United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that
Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is
tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the
Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office,
and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United
States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment,
Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,
shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any
time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on
the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own
Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller
Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of
absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for
disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the
same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and
Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of
those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other,
adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two
Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be
ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all
Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during
their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning
from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be
questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be
appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have
been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time;
and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either
House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the
Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall,
before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve
he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it
shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and
proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree
to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which
it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall
become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by
yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be
entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the

President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him,
the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by
their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of
Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be
presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect,
shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of
the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations
prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to
pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United
States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the
Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of

Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of
Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the
United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to
Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences
against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning
Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a
longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress
Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part
of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States
respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia
according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not
exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance
of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise
like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in
which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and
other needful Buildings;—And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the
foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of
the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section. 9.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think
proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand
eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not
exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases
of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or
enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of

one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be
obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made
by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all
public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any
Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of
any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or
foreign State.

Section. 10.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque
and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a
Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law
impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports
or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws:
and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports,
shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be
subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops,
or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another
State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such
imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section. 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He
shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President,
chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number
of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the
State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person
holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of
whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they
shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which
List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the
United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall,
in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates,
and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes
shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors
appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal
Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot
one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on
the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the
President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having
one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two
thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In
every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of
Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more
who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which
they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of
the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall
any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five
Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or
Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on
the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal,
Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what
Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the
Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which
shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been
elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United
States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or
Affirmation:—"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of
President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and
defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section. 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,
and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United
States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the
executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices,
and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United
States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make
Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and
by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other
public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the
United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall
be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such
inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the
Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the
Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next

Section. 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and
recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and
expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them,
and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he
may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors
and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and
shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed
from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes
and Misdemeanors.

Article III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in
such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The
Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good
Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which
shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this
Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made,
under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and
Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which
the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—
between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—
between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and
between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in
which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the
other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both

as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress
shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial
shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not
committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress
may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in
adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of
Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on
Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of
Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person

Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial
Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the
Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in
the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from
Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the
State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction
of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into
another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such
Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service
or Labour may be due.

Section. 3.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be
formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by
the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the
Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations
respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in
this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or
of any particular State.

Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of
Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the
Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against
domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose
Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of
the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either
Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified
by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three
fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the
Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One
thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in
the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be
deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this
Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under
the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance
thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United
States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be
bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several
State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of
the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but
no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust
under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment
of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page,
The Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page,
The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the
first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines
of the second Page.

Attest William Jackson Secretary

done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth
Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven
and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof
We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

G°. Washington
Presidt and deputy from Virginia

Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom

James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Danl. Carroll

John Blair
James Madison Jr.

North Carolina
Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Hu Williamson

South Carolina
J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

William Few
Abr Baldwin

New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King

Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman

New York
Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey
Wil: Livingston
David Brearley
Wm. Paterson
Jona: Dayton

B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt. Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris

Donald Trump was asked about the fact that his running mate, Mike Pence, once described Trump's call
to ban Muslims from entering the United States as "offensive and unconstitutional."

Trump's response? "You know−the Constitution−there's nothing like it. But it doesn't necessarily give us
the right to commit suicide, as a country, OK?"

There you have it. Trump freely admits that he won't let the Constitution and its pesky limits on
government power get in the way of his agenda.

The idea that the Constitution "is not a suicide pact" has always been the last refuge for the worst sort of
censors, warmongers, and authoritarians throughout U.S. history. Just think about all the ways in which
this line of thinking might be used to obliterate constitutional rights:

Mr. President, you can't declare war unilaterally. That power resides in Congress. "The Constitution is not
a suicide pact."
Mr. President, you can't censor the internet. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Mr. President, you can't forcibly shutter houses of worship. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Mr. President, you can't outlaw the private ownership of guns. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Mr. President, you can't take private property for public use without paying just compensation. "The
Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Mr. President, you can't order American forces to commit acts of torture and other war crimes. "The
Constitution is not a suicide pact..."67

- Damon Root,

67Root, D. (2016, July 18). Trump Vows to Trash the Constitution. Retrieved September 27, 2016, from

Notes and Acknowledgements

The original poetry draft of this piece was composed during the Napa Valley Writers Conference
in July, 2016. I am grateful that I was selected to attend the conference as a poet, and the
opportunity to participate as a member of that wonderful community of writers.
Poet Camille Dungy noted during her craft lecture (The Necessity for Political Poetry) that “As
writers, one of our missions is to define.” This sparked an idea that had been percolating in my
mind which I had been developing as an essay – what is responsibility to defend against all
enemies foreign and domestic? I was able to distill the message of that initial essay draft into the
literal trail of defined language that became this poem.
Moving from essay to poetry, I had the tool for voicing the intense resolve and desire to forge a
response to the conflict I felt festering between my oath to protect and defend the Constitution
against all enemies foreign and domestic, and with the challenge of the choices in this election
In my perspective, there is absolutely no doubt that one candidate is a domestic enemy of the
Constitution of the United States. (All the more after that candidate invited a foreign power to
meddle in our domestic affairs and governmental process.) I no longer serve a duty post on
behalf of the nation, yet I retain an obligation to defend the Constitution. My weapons are my
voice and my pen.
For many, this is a very disturbing election cycle, challenging life long held beliefs and party
loyalties. A commanding officer I once served with used to say there is always a choice. The
choice may not be easy, but there is a choice just the same. “The hard right over the easy wrong,”
was the standard. Maybe by following the trail of words, those finding themselves “between a
rock and a hard place” will find a way through.
I am thankful for the impetus Camille Dungy’s words gave me that day in July at Napa.
Additionally, I wish to acknowledge and gratefully thank Brenda Hillman, my workshop leader
that week, who created an environment of challenge and safety for writing outside the comfort

zone. In addition, my fellow workshop peers were a source of shared poetic joy and inspiration
as well.
Jerri Bell, an editor at O Dark Thirty kindly reviewed the original political essay draft. I thank
her for her time, feedback and suggestions.
I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the hard work, dedication to our family, and the
patience of my Beloved who is a single parent when I am gone at what we call “Writers’ Camp”.
Thank you, Monika.
The quote following the dedication, “I vibrate with the dishonor of silence. I cannot be still in the
face of a clear threat to our Republic.” These are my own words written into my notebook and
inspired while listening to poets discuss the value and imperativeness of poets bringing their
voice to bear as witness to the events of our culture and society.
People often assume that poetry contains true stories. That what a poet writes is always from
personal experience. Poetry is not always true, yet quite often, poetry contains the truth that must
be made visible and real.

About the Author

Vicki Hudson is an urban farmer in Hayward, California where she lives with her wife and their
two children, herds four cats and indulges an elderly mastiff/dachshund mix. She coaches
women’s club rugby at the University of San Francisco and is a NCAA Women’s Coaching
Academy graduate (Class 38).
In 2008, she received the Master of Fine Arts (Nonfiction) from Saint Mary’s College of
A Mustang68, she retired from the United States Army in 2012. In addition to poetry, she writes
flash fiction and narrative nonfiction. This is her first chap book.

68 A commissioned officer who served as an enlisted soldier prior to becoming an officer.

About the Soldier:

“Instead of units, assignments, and deployments for a military biographical narrative, this is
what Lieutenant Colonel Hudson is most proud of from her thirty-three year career:”69

 I did what was right, even when personally jeopardized myself or my career. This kept
faith with what I was taught as a cadet in ROTC, where my TAC (Major Charles Douglas
Knowlton) said "You can always find another career, you can only lose your integrity

 I lived up to the 11 Principles of Leadership*, finding a solution to any issue and

guidance when I didn't know what to do in those principles and I passed that on as a

 I took the hard jobs, not the easy ones, serving as a Brigade S3, on a Brigadier General
Officer's Staff as G3/5/7, and commanded two companies and three battalions.

 While deployed to Mosul, Iraq, commanded 18 convoys; volunteering for convoy

duty while every other officer in the battalion refused convoy command and all but one
refused assignment to the convoy team.

 While commander of the 724th Military Police Battalion, initiated an Employer

partnership with the Fort Lauderdale Police Academy, first of its kind, which allowed any
Army Reserve Soldier to attend the Academy without a law enforcement agency sponsor,
thus enabling Soldiers to get the basic Law Enforcement certification to compete for
employment anywhere in Florida. (It's been reported to me that at least 11 Soldiers have
found employment as a result of completing this program.)

69Non-commissioned Officer in Charge and Master of Ceremonies, Command Sergeant Major Jay Rowley, from the retirement ceremony of
Lieutenant Colonel Vicki Hudson.

 Twice went to war with company and battalion leadership that was lacking. I
promised the Soldiers I was with that if ever in command, I would never send
unprepared, or untrained Soldiers to war. I kept that promise across each of three
battalion commands, despite chronic and constant obstinacy from those invested in the
status quo, lifting individual and collective readiness from the bottom/below average to
the top/above average across all training and administrative readiness metrics.

 I was often the only woman in sections or units or the only tactically competent woman
unwilling to take advantage of my gender to get by, where I endured harassment and
abuse from those unwilling to serve with women as an equal, in order to make the Army
safer and better for those that followed me. Across my career, at every grade, enlisted and
officer; when I witnessed harassment, or bullying, or abuse by a superior, I spoke up,
physically intervened, and reported what occurred. To include, in 1992, I gave remarks to
the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services regarding Sexual
Harassment and Military Sexual Trauma. Throughout my career, regardless of rank or
position, I was not silent.

 When I was asked to take a stand for equality of access for military families that are
Gay/Lesbian, and for Gay/Lesbian spouses to be fully recognized, I accepted the
challenge and sacrifice to take part in litigation against my employer, the United States
Military and U.S. Government in order to make the military a safer place for all military
families. I am very proud that my story and the story of my family contained in a brief
submitted in the Windsor case, was one of the many stories told in arguments before the
United States Supreme Court and that I was a plaintiff in the McLaughlin v Panetta case.

 I am proud that Soldiers have sought me out, thanked me for setting and enforcing
standards, told me they re-enlisted because of how I transformed unit culture in a positive
manner, thanked me for hard training before deployment that helped them survive during
deployment, for being a visible role model as a minority in gender and orientation, and
that something I did on their behalf made the difference enabling them to remain in the
Army. I am proud that Soldiers knew me as an Officer that would take care of Soldiers
and that I would always put Soldiers first before myself and that I would settle for
nothing less than ensuring everything possible was done to prepare them for war.

* The 11 Principles of Leadership70

1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

2. Be technically and tactically proficient.
3. Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.
4. Make sound and timely decisions.
5. Set an example.
6. Know your people and look out for their welfare.
7. Keep your people informed.
8. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
9. Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and
10. Train your people as a team.
11. Employ your team in accordance with its capabilities.

Trudging up MP Hill, to emplace the Battalion Rock, Fort Hunter Liggett,

California; July 2010.

70These principles are not as commonly taught now as when I was a young soldier in the late 70’s when I was expected to memorize the principles.
There was never an issue, conflict, task, or mission where these did not apply, or where these failed to provide direction when unsure of the next
course of action. They can be adapted into any situation of leadership or a team’s mission.

The author and daughter, November 2009.

After convoy, Mosul, Iraq, July 2005.

Front Runner 671
(Commander, 304th Information Operations Battalion)

Sawgrass 672
(Commander, 724 Military Police Battalion)

Red Stick 673

(Commander, 2 Battalion, 95 Regiment Military Police)

Wolf 674
(Commander, Alpha Company, 425th Civil Affairs Battalion)

Charlie 675
(Commander, Charlie Company, 373 Military Intelligence Battalion)

December 15, 201276

71 The author’s last Command call sign.
72 The author’s second battalion command call sign.
73 The author’s first battalion command call sign.
74 The author’s second company command call sign.
75 The author’s first command call sign.
76 Retirement date.
77 End transmission.

Also by Victoria A. Hudson

An Army moves on its stomach but combat rations only go so far for so long. A Soldier has to
find something else to eat. From mess halls to mess kits, Chow chronicles one Soldier's
inventiveness and adventure in food while deployed in wartime. A small snapshot into what
many seldom think about - what's to eat?
Download chow for free at Smashwords. Use coupon WZ59U for purchase.

Everyone has a story. No one else can tell your story. The process of creating, refining and
ultimately releasing it into the wild that is publication in the world needs to be a respectful one.
No Red Pen – Writers, Writing Groups & Critique is not an overview of writing groups – it is a
manifesto for a different paradigm for workshop and critique. Respect the Writer and the Work.

Connect with the Author

Author website:

Occasional blog: