Opinion » Bill Cope

Constitution Reboot

Part II of ? parts


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men, including women--whether or not they are natural born citizens of the United States; whether they are descendants of the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock or desperate wetbacks who landed in El Paso, Texas, just last night; whether they are African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans or not even Americans; whether they are Muslims, Hindus, Mormons or whatever; whether they are capitalists, socialists or something in between; whether they are homeless panhandlers on street corners or multi-billionaire oil barons who inherited their daddy's empire--are Equal, that they are endowed by the altruistic Values which have Evolved throughout the History of civilized Humanity with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness and a reasonable expectation that others will keep their noses out of our Sex Lives, and that no matter what the f**ked-up Roberts/Scalia Supreme Court says, corporations are not, nor will ever be, Men. Or Women.--From "Badger" Bob's upgrade of the Declaration of Independence

I took my latest project to Cope to see what he thought. He was out back, acting like the meaning of life was to sit in the sun eating salty s**t and sucking down one Old Milwaukee after another. When I told him I was re-writing the U.S. Constitution, he got all quivery, worried about how mad some people would get if they knew what I'm doing. I told him I didn't care how mad they got, and that I was mad at them for treating the Constitution like it was a business arrangement between God and white guys.

"Listen to what I have so far. 'We, the people of the 21st century and the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ...'"

"Hold on, Bob. Why'd you stick '21st century' in there. That wasn't in the Preamble I remember."

"You're right, doofus, because the Preamble you remember was written in the 18th century. And that's exactly what I'm getting at. What those old boys put together back in 1787 might have worked for a pre-industrial, loosely connected confederation of poorly educated farmers and village smithies and such--back when it took forever for the citizens of Butt Sweat, N.H., to find out what was going on in Sow Waller, Ga. And I'm not saying the framers weren't smart. But being smart isn't the same thing as being prophets. There's no way they could foresee the dilemmas we're dealing with today. Take that recent court decision on video games ... how in hell could people who would be long dead before the first photograph was taken have imagined that one day, kids would be ripping the spines out of moving, interactive images, and that the f**ked-up Supreme Court would allow it to continue as a matter of free speech? Can you believe it?"

"Gosh, don't video game makers have a right to express themselves?"

"Wake up, Cope! Do we or do we not have an obligation to keep children from things that could damage them permanently? Do we or do we not try to protect them from pornographers, tobacco and alcohol? Pornographers have a right to express themselves, too. But not with kids! No, idjut, that decision had less to do with free speech than it had to do with the conservative pimps on the court being hell bent on never, ever doing anything that might slow down the corporate domination of America. Now shut up and let me get on with this. I've been here half the afternoon and we haven't gotten beyond the first 20 words of the Preamble."

"OK, Bob. But you wanted my input didn't you?"

"That was why I came here, yeah, but I'm beginning to question that decision. Now let me start again and don't interrupt this time. 'We, the people of the 21st century and the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, since the original Constitution had so many ambiguities written into it, it could keep an infinite number of lawyers busy for eternity interpreting it ... to insure domestic tranquillity for everyone, and not just for the gated-community d**kweeds who couldn't give a rat's a** what happens in inner cities and factory floors and the nation's schools as long as it doesn't disturb their f**king golf games ... provide for the common defense, and that doesn't mean invading sh***y little third-world countries just because we want to try out a new weapons system ... promote the general welfare, first and foremost by providing socialized medicine and if conservatives don't like it, they can kiss my a** ... and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity, and let us be clear that the 'blessings of liberty' do not include the freedom to snatch up a greater and greater share of the nation's wealth until the top 1 percent has more than the next 99 percent combined ... do ordain and establish this revised edition of the Constitution of the United States of America.'"

"Uh, can I interrupt yet?"

"So, what do you think? Isn't that a Preamble more appropriate for today than the old one?"

"Well, uh, speaking as a writer, maybe it could use a little tweaking here and there. It's a pretty long Preamble. And are you planning on leaving the swear words in?"

"Why not. They'll let people know we're damn serious this time around. And as far as it being long, wait 'til you see what I've done with the Second Amendment."

"Golly, Bob. How big do you see this new, revised Constitution being?"

"I figure it'll come in just under 800 pages by the time I'm done."