Opinion » Bill Cope

Constitution Reboot 4

Bob doesn't think free speech means lying freely


"The President of the United States of America will be selected by a simple majority of voters in a national election, during which no political, religious or business factions shall dare interfere in any way with any citizen's right to cast a ballot; are you listening, Florida? Also, so as there will be no intermediate step between the people choosing who they want in a democratic manner and the actual installation of the President, the Electoral College shall be abolished and turned into a Museum of False Precepts, in which visitors might experience what it was like to believe the Earth is flat, or what it is like to believe the Civil War was about state's rights and had nothing to do with Southerners wanting to hold on to their slaves."

--"Badger" Bob Berzerquierre's revised version of Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution

"Bob? Uh, hey, can I talk to you a minute?"

"I'm busy, dammit!"

"Uh, yeah. I can see that. But the thing is, you've been down here for six ... seven weeks now, and my wife, uh, well, she told me to tell you she wants her basement back."

"Cope, I'm within spitting distance of having the whole Bill of Rights rewritten, and you want me to pick everything up and move back to the camper trailer? Christ, I can't spread out there! I'd be getting all the amendments jumbled up with the articles, and I'd be spilling soup on my paperwork, and it'd just be a big goddamn mess!"

"Now calm down, Bob. Maybe I can help you organize everything. And as far as your paperwork goes, couldn't you just keep it all on a toenail drive until you're done? Or maybe one of those flush drives? It'd be a lot easier than hauling those paper print-outs around."

"A toenail drive? What are you pretending to be now, Cope? Someone who knows what the hell he's talking about?"

"The thing is, Bob ... we didn't know you'd be here all summer long when you started this project. You've used up all my paper, all my ink, and I've lost track of how many times you jammed my printer. I can't even get on the Internet when I need to. Why, just last week, I made a big boner in my column on 9/11 by saying the attack was on a Thursday. See, if you hadn't been hogging my computer, I would have looked it up and confirmed that it happened on a Tuesday."

"You're blaming that on me?"

"Uh, I'm just saying that if you weren't down here all the time turning the Constitution into a cow-sized document, I wouldn't have been too scared to come and ask you if I could fact-check myself, even though it didn't occur to me at the time that my facts needed checking. See what I mean?"

"So what if I promised to get out of your hair as soon as I'm done with the first 10 amendments. Would that keep your wife happy? Another couple of days, Cope. I'll have the whole Bill of Rights in the bag, then I'll get out of here and rework the remaining 17 amendments at my place. Promise."

"You finished the First Amendment then? The 'free speech' part?"

"Here, let me read it to you. Long as you're wasting my time, you might as well tell me what you think."

"Uhhh, gee, Bob. Maybe later. I was in the middle of some ..."

"Sit your a** down and listen: 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, as long as what the speaker is saying is either the truth, his honest understanding of the truth, or at the very least, that the speaker is not aware what he's saying is a f***ing bald-faced lie, especially in reference to a member or members of an opposing political faction with the purpose of misguiding perceptions so monstrously that whatever the truth is buried like a crew of Chilean miners under tons of intentional and coordinated slander, innuendo, distortion and out-right fabrication;

"That this admonition applies equally to the freedom of the press, and particularly to any media outlet that has pretensions of being a source of authentic news and information, but is instead an open sewer of unsubstantiated filth and propaganda designed to manipulate the feeblest minds in America into blithering 'ditto-heads' and 'Friends of Fox,' and that it is no longer permissible to spread lies on the Internet, radio, television, or anything owned by that Aussie f***er Rupert Murdoch;

"That the right of the people to assemble peaceably and to petition the government for redress of grievances shall be unabridged, but full disclosure is required should the assembly or the redress in question be instigated and financed by shady, insatiable billionaires who hide both their involvement and their fascist proclivities under layers of fake fronts and phony action groups because they don't want it to be known they are the real force behind any ersatz populism which pretends to be outraged patriots when in reality, all they are is a crowd of partisan hacks trying to concentrate power in their masters' hands;

"That all rights and freedoms of expression apply solely to people and that corporations are not, nor will ever be, people.' So ... what do you think so far?"

"Uh, pretty good, Bob. But I notice you didn't say anything about yelling 'Fire!' in a crowded theater."

"I'm getting to that, Cope. Just hang on. And trust me, I haven't left out sicko video games, or Wikileaks, or what's pornographic and what ain't, or whether Jersey Shore and Donald Trump should be able to get away with calling themselves 'reality,' or ..."

: To be continued ...