I’ve sometimes wondered that if our founding fathers were given a chance to look at America 250 years from their own time, would they continue to form a new nation or would they return to the farmer’s life that they were living before 1770 and avoid the mess that we’ve sometimes made of ourselves? I do think it would make for a decent movie, or at least a Sci-Fi Channel mini-series or something. It makes me wonder anyway. Given the difference in the time periods of the late 1700’s and the current early 2000’s, how could the same government function?
Ah, but see that’s the beauty of the Constitution. The farmers that founded this nation were smart enough (or we were lucky enough) to know that there would be changes to policy that would occur over time – in a monarchy, there’s a policy change every time a new king ascends to the throne. The nation would take on an entirely new government with each royal change. Our Constitution was designed to be enhanced and modified to adapt to new eras and enforce new laws, same as a new monarch would, but without changing the government. It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch; just shake it and you get to start over. The truth is that if you have enough time and votes (and money), you can give it as many Do-Over’s as you want to. Look at Prohibition. That got it’s own amendment, which got followed by another amendment a few years later, negating the first one. It’s been designed for changes and more importantly our own evolution.
An issue I’ve been seeing lately (or at least bothered by lately) are people of today’s time abusing certain amendments put into place 230 years ago to address specific British inflicted grievances. Now, while my American history is slightly muddled, I can remember a number of the amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights, and that’s where the bulk of abuse I see being performed. The right to bear arms? This totally being manhandled all over the nation. There’s no way in the world that the original intent was what we have today. Guns were not plentiful enough to have even considered it. History tells us that most families had one rifle available to them due to cost and need – hand guns and automatic assault rifles were hardly envisioned in the hands of the average citizen. And even if they were part of the original intent, as a nation I don’t think our citizens can handle it. I think we’ve proven many times over that as a collective society we’re hardly capable of wiping our own bottoms, much less arming each individual citizen.
Ok, so that’s one issue that groups like the NRA would fight me on. Fine. There’s other forms of abuse going on in the Bill of Rights. Look at the freedom of the press. Originally, this was thrown in there because the British government would not allow the pro-American presses publish anti-British propaganda. The new American government, sensitive to such censorship, deemed it important that any citizen could publish their own newspaper to speak their mind. Today, reporters use this as a catch all excuse to be obnoxious and invasive. This amendment was not written as “Reporters of the press are allowed to do whatever they can to find out and publish information about publicly exposed figures, regardless of whatever privacy they need to destroy to get their story”. While I’m not 100% certain of the exact wording, I am 100% certain that it’s not this! Again, another form of abuse that we should consider correcting.
Then there’s the all time favorite of mine: freedom of speech. This single amendment has made us into a society of hypocrites (and yes, I can say that because I have the freedom to do so.) See, people use this one as a shield and a weapon at the same time. People believe they can speak their mind but they also try to stop other people from speaking their mind because they find what they’re hearing to be offensive. If that’s not being a hypocrite, I’m not sure what is. Freedom of speech is the most over used amendment we have in the Constitution. If people used their god-given freedom of common scene or better yet, their nature-evolved freedom of intelligence, then this would be a moot issue. The reason why most people scream out for freedom of speech is because they’ve got nothing much to say in the first place – in most cases, if they used their freedom of thought, they’d have a lot less to scream about.
If this was a computer, I’d say it needed to be rebooted or least some changes to the Registry settings… since there’s no Ctrl-Alt-Delete for nations, I personally wonder how long it will take to get new amendments to support the old ones. I figure another few decades, but probably in our lifetimes. And if Geo Washington was dropped into the US during 2002, I personally believe he would have gone back and gotten Franklin to join him in a game of Yahtzee and called the whole thing off – that is of course if he could get away without the press jumping him!