Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: constitution

An Updated Bill Of Rights

  1. Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech, but you have to use your real name on the internet.
  2. Everyone is issued one (1) shotgun at birth, and you only get a dozen shells at a time, and you’re not allowed to walk around in public with the damn things.
  3. Unchanged from original Bill of Rights: you still don’t have to let British soldiers sleep on your couch.
  4. If the glovebox is locked, and so is the trunk in the back, then the cops are gonna need a warrant for that. Also: any government officials need a warrant to make anyone (including non-citizens) open their phone at any time.
  5. Nobody sleeps outside, and everyone has something to eat. We’ll figure out the details later, but nobody sleeps outside and everyone eats something every day.
  6. And you get to see the doctor for free. Not free, nothing’s free, but it’s a single-payer scheme. Taxes pay for it; you don’t have to pay to see the doctor because you already paid to see the doctor.
  7. Abortion is included in the previous amendment.
  8. Weed is legal across-the-board. Meth and heroin dealers are executed in public. Cocaine is still available in bar bathrooms.
  9. No one can be discriminated against for inherent properties of their character, but you can absolutely deny service or employment to assholes.
  10. The states should pave the roads and shut the fuck up.

Fuck The Founding Fathers

They were earthbound; they could not fly; they launched no satellites. One of ’em had a kite, and that was so impressive for the time that we still talk about the ink-stained pervert.

They walked. Or sat atop a beast, which walked.

They had no penicillin, nor even sulfate drugs. The treatment for tuberculosis was to move to a dryer clime. People died of infected wounds, and abscessed teeth. People died of cholera because it was beyond these apes to separate the clean water from the dirty.

For entertainment, they would read to one another, those who could read, or they would bet on animal torture. There was no recorded music because there was no electricity and so sometimes they would play for one another. Not the piano, though. It had barely been invented, and had not yet made its way to the Colonies.

They believed that some humans weren’t human, just property or in the way.

When they looked up, they saw five planets; when they looked inward, they saw four humours.

But, by all means, let’s take their opinions on guns as sacred.

 

Clause 2: This Time It’s Jurisprudential

“General Washington!”

“Oh, knock it off, Jenkins.”

“Sir, I think we should talk over the Do-Over Clause one more time before we sign the Constitution.”

“Signed? That was the Declaration of Independence, numbskull.”

“What happens to this?”

“Ratified.”

“Oh, that sounds fancy.”

“Get to your point, Jenkins.”

“The Do-Over Clause. There’s more than two months in between the election and inauguration.”

“Four.”

“What, sir?”

“Inauguration was originally in March.”

“March? Why?”

“We live in the past, Jenkins: winter travel is impossible.”

“Right, right. Anyway: I say we stick it in there.”

“What possible need could we have of your ridiculous clause, Jenkins?”

“What if the President-Elect enjoyed being peed on by Communists?”

“What the hell is a Communist?”

“Like a demon, but colder.”

“No one is being peed on by demons, Jenkins!”

“I’d like to be peed on by demons!”

“Shut up, Ben Franklin. Jenkins, the American people do not now and will never in the future require a ‘do-over.’ They shall elect the good, the great, and the forgettable. Human nature shall keep some sort of non-prepared, vainglorious lout with a pickpocket’s heart and a rat’s morals out of office.”

“We are talking about the American people here, right?”

“Shut up, Jenkins.”

“Okay, okay. What about a clause stating that the presidential candidates must release their tax returns?”

“What the hell is a tax return?

“THASS WHEN UNCLE SAM TAKES A BIG OL’ CHOMP OUT THE MONEY YOU MADE SINGIN’ AN’ DOIN’ KARATE.”

Elvis, get out of here!

“COME WITH ME, GEORGE WASHINGTON. THE FUTURE DONE NEEDS YOU, BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE NO SLAVES NO MORE.”

“What the fuck is going on, Jenkins?”

“No idea, General.”

“I don’t need this bullshit. I’m George fucking Washington. Martha!”

“Yes, dear?”

“Fetch the children!”

“We don’t have any, dear.”

“You can have one of mine!”

“Shut up, John Adams.”

You Can’t Fool Me, There Is No Do-Over Clause

washington_constitutional_convention_1787

“I call the Constitutional Convention to order! Order! Gentlemen, put down your snuff. Dammit, Franklin, put away the dirty pamphlets. Order! Now: it is time for a vote on the final wording of the Second Article, which refers to the Executive branch. All in favor?”

“Point of order, General Washington?”

“Oh, not again, Jenkins.”

“I beg only a moment of my distinguished colleagues’ attention before they vote.”

“One moment.”

“Thank you, sir. Gentlemen, I speak to you once again about inserting what I call “the Do-Over Clause” into Article II. General, have you ever locked your keys in the car–”

“Locked my keys in the car? Its 1787, Jenkins.”

“You didn’t let me finish. Have you ever locked your keys in the carriage?”

“Ah, now you’re making sense. Yes! As a matter of fact, just the other day. Terrible. Had to be carried to work by my slaves.”

“That’s horrible, General.”

“It was! I was an hour late!”

“Yes, well: do you recall that moment, General, when you realized that you had left the keys inside but before the door had shut? Stretched out forever, didn’t it? Now, sir, what if there were some sort of catch, or stopper, installed on the hinge that would prevent you from making such a mistake? Something that took into account that sometimes people act foolishly, and that accidents will happen.”

“That is an excellent idea, Jenkins. You should invent that. Oh, and invent television. The past is so boring.”

“I’ll get on it. So you agree that it is perhaps a worthy idea for humans to recognize their own stupidity and take that into account when designing the system?”

“I do, yes.”

“Good! Good, because what I propose is precisely that. What if–and this will certainly never, ever, ever happen–the people elect a racist maniac with the attention span of a dead ferret?”

“Racist? What the fuck is that?”

“Forget I said racist.”

“It’s 1787. That’s not a thing.”

“Strike it from the record.”

“And even if it were, I’m not racist.”

“No, General Washington.”

“Some of my best slaves are black.”

“Yes, sir. Let’s get back to the discussion. So–and, again, this is so unlikely as to be laughable–this man elected is a fiend, sir. Unknowledgeable, and will take no counsel. He abuses others’ credit, and is a bankrupt. A braggart who gabs like a washerwoman, he surrounds himself with cutthroats. A man with neither rival nor opponent, only enemy. Patently false in his words; demonstrably inept in his actions. A man not worthy of the country we build here today sir.”

“How the hell would he get elected?”

“I know, right? Never gonna happen!”

“Are you drunk, Jenkins?”

“Yes, sir: we all are.”

“Right, right. Maybe we should put a note in the Constitution mentioning that the guys who wrote it were shitfaced at the time.”

“Worth considering, sir. Back to the topic, sir.”

“Tell me more about this man.”

“He loves foreign entanglements.”

“Bastard.”

“And he belongs to a political party.”

“MotherFUCKER.”

“Y’know, Jenkins: it’s like no one listens.”

“Yes, General Washington. But the Do-Over Clause would allow for a re-vote if the country realized it had made a mistake right after Election Day.”

“And what would be the precipitating incident for this clause of yours, Jenkins? Must have some sort of trigger for this to occur, otherwise every losing candidate will be clamoring for it the morning of his loss.”

“Ah, yes. I’ve thought of that, sir. What if it only happens when the victor takes the Electoral College, but not the popular vote?”

“Well, that will never happen, either! Stop talking balderdash and phooey, Jenkins!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Although, to be fair, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the Constitution.”

“No, sir. That would be the wording of the Second Amendment.”

“If ever there were a situation that called for a straightforward sentence, that was it.”

“It’s just four vaguely-related subordinate clauses.”

“Ah. Well. Too late to change it, and too late for your proposal, Jenkins.”

“Too late? Why?”

“Can’t edit parchment. Everything’s already written down very fancily. And the budget’s tapped.”

“So we’re leaving the document as it is because there’s nothing left in the calligraphy budget?”

“Essentially.”

“God bless America, General Washington.”

“You’re welcome.”

Thoughts On The Constitution Without Research

  • I’m going to humiliate myself with this one; we should all be aware of that right off the bat, and also I am certainly going to cheat a tiny bit.
  • If it helps, I do feel shame about this: Americans should have a working knowledge of their government, if only so that they can yell about with more accuracy than they currently do.
  • Let’s start small.
  • The United States Constitution turned 229 the other day.
  • When 229 you turn, govern so well you will not.
  • Not the Declaration of Independence.
  • Therefore: no John Hancock signature.
  • (Fun fact: that story they told you in grade school about John Hancock writing his name so big so that King George could read it without his glasses was bullshit. His signature was so large because John Hancock was eleven feet tall.)
  • Almost certainly not written by George Washington.
  • Very few jokes.
  • Parchment.
  • Knock it off. Do this or don’t.
  • You suck.
  • Anyway, the United States Constitution was hammered out by a convention of the states in 1789 and remains the law of the land today; it consists of a preamble and seven articles, and 27 amendments.
  • Many legal scholars have compared the articles and amendments to the body and tail of a comet, but all of them were drunk at the time.
  • The first ten amendments are known are the Bill of Rights and they defend citizens’ rights, and protect them from their own government: they couldn’t pass laws banning opinions, or torture people for information, and or detain you without cause.
  • Remember: this is 1789, so governments were allowed do that bullshit.
  • Say it with me: the past was terrible.
  • There was some precedent in the Magna Carta, and the philosophies of Locke and Montesquieu were involved, and Adam Weishaupt secretly dictated the preamble to James Madison, but other than that it was an original work, and there’s some undeniably good stuff in there.
  • I enjoy the First Amendment.
  • Others prefer the next one.
  • Most right-thinking Americans would choose the Third Amendment as their sentimental favorite; I would agree because I’ll be damned if Obama’s gonna force me to let some limey soldier sleep on my couch.
  • It is in the Third, though, that the Constitution’s main flaw comes into sharp focus.
  • It’s 229 years old.
  • Putting aside the other main flaw that I’ll get to (there can be more than one main something, shut up), which is that the document is the result of a political compromise specifically and explicitly designed to maintain the institution of slavery, it’s two hundred and twenty damned nine years old.
  • They did not have medicine 229 years ago, and there were wolves everywhere.
  • (An argument against Constitutional Originalism, which holds that the text should be interpreted as it was intended at the time: since the Framers could have no possible clue about the internet or the highways or the airwaves, and therefore not intended their words to apply to them, then how can these things be regulated by the agents of those words? The Originalists’ own argument says that the Constitution doesn’t apply to most of life.)
  • Some things from 229 years ago are still pleasant: trees, and art, and buildings in Europe.
  • Cathedrals and castles and shit.
  • St. Paul’s in Manhattan is a bit older than the Constitution, and you would not want to live in it.
  • First of all: terrible neighborhood, nothing but bankers and tourists, plus nothing’s open at night.
  • Second: there is a graveyard right next door, so it would be so very spooky.
  • All them old-timey ghosts up in your business and whatnot.
  • Barging in on you like Kramer in their tri-cornered hats and sheets with the eyes cut out.
  • Stop being weird.
  • Sure.
  • Besides the fact that the Constitution is older than an old celebrity to whom old things are compared, it’s also a compromise born of the political questions and needs of the time, as indicated by the silly Third Amendment I mentioned.
  • The Constitution doesn’t explicitly legalize slavery, but it does include the Tenth Amendment, which let states do whatever the hell they want for the most part.
  • Some states wanted to do slavery.
  • Not all the people in the state wanted to do slavery.
  • The slaves, for example.
  • But no one asked them and so the Peculiar Institution was a stain upon our nation until Djamie Foxx and a charismatic Nazi put an end to the practice.
  • Not only were slaves not asked about things, they weren’t even counted, at least not all the way: a slave (described as an “other person” in the text) counted for 3/5 of everybody else.
  • And in grade school, I was taught that the South wanted slaves counted and the North didn’t, but it’s more complicated, and worse, than that.
  • Southern states wanted the slave population to be counted when it came to how many representatives and whatnot they got, but not for when it came time to tally up the tax bill; the northern ones wanted the reverse.
  • Not, you know: stop doing slavery.
  • In the defense of the North: the South wasn’t joining up if slavery wasn’t legal, period, end of story.
  • Once more with feeling: the past was terrible, but it was far more terrible for some than others.
  • Compromises between political factions from two centuries ago also persist within the structure of American government: the Senate and House are the bulwark of the small states and prerogative of the big states, respectively.
  • The Senate was originally chosen by the House (that changed to a direct vote with an Amendment which I will say with unearned confidence was the 17th) and was intended to be more deliberative.
  • The House of Representatives is, and always has been, full of thieves, lunatics, and the moneyed dumb.
  • The Constitution also says that there should be a president, and that he should get an awesome jet plane, and also that there should be courts of all kind–supreme, circuit, state, county, local, night, kangaroo, People’s, food–and that they be independent of the other two branches.
  • All together, it is a perfect system for getting very little done.
  • Which was the intent.
  • The Constitution can be amended, but it’s complicated and requires all sorts of super-majorities and special processes, and for all intents and purposes can no longer be done.
  • (Seriously, I don’t think it can. Think of the years of sustained bipartisan cooperation that ratification entails. Can’t be done. There were a bunch of amendments relating to voting added in the Sixties, and while I was cheating and betraying the ethos of Without Research, I found out that the 27th–the last one so far–was ratified in 1992, and that seems like something my history teacher should have mentioned, but this is the first Im hearing about it.)
  • The rest of the amendments are of a greater vintage, but some are very important.
  • I will now attempt this truly Without Research:
  • 14th and maybe the 15th ended slavery.
  • 13th, too?
  • 16th was income tax.
  • 18th was Prohibition.
  • 19th was women’s suffrage.
  • 21st repealed Prohibition.
  • Lot going on in there.
  • Whole bunch of history in just a couple of changes.
  • More Amendments Without Research!
  • 11th: Werewolf suffrage.
  • 22nd or so: Puts the inauguration in the middle of January in Washington, D.C, when it is very cold; this amendment has directly led to a presidential death.
  • 24th: So that there should be no shit, no law shall be made starting shit.
  • Also, the federal government gets to levy taxes and raise and command an army, but that’s not the important point.
  • It’s the thing about voting, and free speech.

Possible Subjects Of Article XII Of The U.S. Constitution

  • Fourth branch of government.
  • Instructions for Parcheesi.
  • Map to Benjamin Franklin’s gold.
  • Map to Aretha Franklin’s house.
  • Warning not to let Florida become a state.
  • Ruling on whether it’s pronounced “gif” or “gif.”
  • Crossword puzzle.
  • Official declaration that Tuesdays are for tacos.
  • Plain-language explanation of the Second Amendment that would have cleared so many things up.
  • George Washington dick pics.
  • Non-aggression pact with the three alien species (Cat People of the Felis Empire, Vogons, Space Canadians) who helped write the Constitution and later interbreeded with many of the Founding Fathers.
  • Donor Rap.