Couldn't be happier for everyone who benefited from the Supreme Court decisions of this past week -- on healthcare and gay marriage. But after the celebration's over, can we finally be honest with ourselves and have the real conversation? The one where we ask why essential human rights are decided every June by nine judges, a third of whom are dyspeptic and begrudging at every turn, according to whether they fit the parameters of an outdated, shitty document that we decided was sacrosanct and infallible for no real reason?
The second amendment of the Constitution with the ambiguous militia modifier -- who cares whether that line means we can still have guns or not. Common sense dictates that we shouldn't have fucking guns -- there will always be bigots and schizos, but there won't be a whole bunch of school and church massacres if the crazies don't have easy access to weaponry. So boom -- we decide, that's a part of the constitution we have to take out.
Roe v Wade -- of course women should have a choice. No, I'm not sure the constitution guarantees that at all. So fuck it -- put it in the constitution. And so on and so forth.
Yes, I know it's very hard to get constitutional amendments passed. But at least that used to be the goal. Women can't vote? Amend it. We can't drink? Repeal that amendment. Black people have no rights? Amend it. We amended the constitution for 150 years and we basically stopped and said, you know, let's just play it out from here and see how it goes. What kind of strategy is that?
Here are the things that have aged well since the last major amendment -- nothing. If you really want a taste of what things were like when we amended the constitution to repeal prohibition in 1933, check out the film "The Story of Temple Drake," where a party girl gets what's coming to her -- she's brutally raped. That was common logic the last time we amended the constitution in a big way (yes, there have been more recent changes regarding voting procedure and the voting age -- I'm aware of those -- the point holds ).
We live still in a highly-divided country. Which means constitutional change is gonna be fucked for a long time unless, you know, we actually have certain states secede or our education system amazingly leapfrogs all of Asia's'. So yeah, we're headed for the same stalemates that have marked the country since Bush and Gore went to overtime in 2000.
But at least we can have goals that are lofty -- goals that aim at truly enshrining rights. My birthday is in June -- every year another fucking court decision reminds me how maddeningly inhumane we are because of our static constitution.
Judges had to come in and ban the execution of the mentally retarded (2002 -- but it wasn't strong enough so it was revisited in 2014)? And ban the execution of juveniles ('05)? This wasn't on the books? Oh, but it's progress because now we have a precedent. A precedent today is strong only until those who set it leave the bench. Then we just overturn shit willy-nilly (really lobby-nilly). How in the hell did Citizens United become a court decision in favor of money ruling politics? I was pretty sure we had decided against that -- weren't you?
You know what? Fuck it. It's too difficult to make big changes, it's better to argue granular points about the wording old, dead and far less-intelligent men set down for 226 years (yeah, less educated -- and if you doubt it, give a founding father a ninth grade bio test).
Or while we're at it let's just pick up the easiest docs. We'll rule the country according to the Magna Carta or Hammurabi's Code -- eye for an eye is pretty easy to remember.
That's it -- I'm done. I'll probably get shredded by the lot of you who have attended law school and know more about all of this. I'd love for someone to explain, though, why on votes like 6-3 or 5-4 -- baseball scores -- we should pin our hopes and dreams -- the very parameters of our existence.