Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Amending the amendments

At the risk of (once again) crossing the line into politics, I have a proposal.

It has occurred to me that language changes. There is a distinct possibility that maybe, just maybe, the Bill of Rights and the amendments to the Constitution as we know it *might* be different than the intentions of our founding fathers. I propose that we update these documents to reflect this country's good intentions. Here is my initial list of suggested edits:

Amendment I

There will be no religion established by the government. You are free to practice whatever faith you choose in the privacy of your own home or designated place of worship without interference from others.

You have the right to free speech; This means that you can say whatever you want about whomever you want in the privacy of your own home or property without fear of persecution. While on their property, you must respect their rights.

The press has the right to unbiased, well-researched reporting. Other publications such as newsletters, books, essays, opinion pieces, etc may publish whatever they want, so long as it is solicited by the reader.

People have the right to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This applies to your own private rallies, or protests directly to the governing body deemed fit by the assembly. That means you can gather, waive signs, and shout at government offices that can do something to help you. If your local government wont help, assemble at the state. If the state wont help, assemble at the Nation's capital. If the Nation wont help, you have the right to revolt. You do not have the right to assemble on non-government property, private or public.

Amendment II

A well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state. You have the right to keep and bear arms in your own home, during appropriate hunting seasons with appropriate paperwork, and in the event of a national emergency, at which time you are expected to report, with said weapon, to a local military recruiting office.

Citizens do not have the right to bear automatic or semi-automatic firearms. At no time should any citizen have a firearm outside of their home, excepting hunting season or a national emergency. The only people with the right to bear arms at any time are police, military personnel, park rangers, and security officers with proper training.

So that's what I have so far. It's off the cuff, so it hasn't been very thought out, but it's a start. Feel free to post thoughts, comments, call me an idiot (but please attach a related reason), or suggestions for amending other amendments.


Tillerman said...

Good point. Words change meanings. Even more importantly context changes. The founding slaveowners did a pretty good job in writing a constitution for the 18th century situation. But I do find it strange that many Americans invest the words in the constitution with some sacred meaning and assume that every phrase must be absolutely applicable to 21st century life.

Just to pick one example, the right to bear arms probably made sense then. A totally unrestricted right for anyone to bear any arms at any time makes a lot less sense now.

serendipity said...

Good points - both of them.

The idea of people carrying firearms in the street is a scary one. One good thing about the UK, it's rare!

Dave said...

I am one of the believers in the constitution, and Bill of Rights. because of the wording, it creates implied powers, aka "the elastic clause"... it makes our constitution a living document, that shifts with the current ideology of the representitives "the people" elected to office.
the 2nd ammendment, for example. maybe some day we will have incredible tracking systems, and citezens will be encouraged to carry M16's because of the growing canadian threat. Or,hypothetically, school children will wander into schools and open fire, and street violence will be out of control, and the vice president shoots old men in the face, and we will need more restriction. my personal stance on the current situation is that it should be regulated by the states, and some states, with diverse populations, such as new york, should give it to the counties.

despite the ambiguity of them, the documents written in 1788, and 1791 +ammendments 11-(27?) thereafter set up a system in which we the government can regulate and deregulate what they see fit as "right and proper".

and i agree with serendipity.... people in the street with guns is scary, but in montana, i doubt it is much of a issue

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