Fantasy Drafts

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Amendments **GUEST** Commentary - Part I of II

5:47 PM
Adam's dry-humored father reviews the draft, in the fixed-width font so enamored by public sector attorneys, paired with a writerly voice eerily evocative of several of our staffers:

It has been said that where you stand depends upon where you sit. From where I sit, the Amendments to the Constitution (except the 13th) have pretty much been mistakes, right from the get-go. As many feared at the outset, enumeration of certain rights has not only denigrated others, but given our judiciary (intended by the Founders to be by far the weakest branch) the ammunition in its successful battle for utter supremacy. Oh well, on to the commentary.

Whereas the world is filled with not-too-bad beer, the Constitution hath but 27 Amendments, of which:
* some fix mistakes perceived almost immediately (11 & 12),
* some try to make the point (never yet taken) that the people are more powerful than their Government (9 & 10),
* one does nothing more than cancel another (21 vs. 18),
* three deal with matters of embarrassing triviality (20, 26, 27),
* while two are such obvious mistakes as to make the angels weep (16 & 19).
By my count, that leaves only 16 worth fighting over. Yet our Fantastic Drafters failed to select two (3 and 7), apparently concluding that they’re entirely down with live-in Marine or two from time to time (quartering of soldiers, the 3rd Amendment), and really can’t figure out what all the fuss is about with letting the King’s judges do whatever they damn well please in civil suits (the 7th, guaranteeing juries in cases at common law, and prohibiting routine review on appeal of matters of fact). Our players are perhaps so far removed from the 3rd that it seems only an historical anomaly. And, as for the 7th, our little nimrods – as Masters of the 21st Century – have probably become so comfortable with judicial tyranny that they don’t know it when they see it. Or maybe they’ve just been dodging their jury summonses.

Sigh . . . . But I digress . . . .

Adam’s first selection, and the first selection overall, was, well . . . the First Amendment. Only firm self-control permits us to overcome the vague fear that he picked it only because it was first on the list, thinking perhaps that as such it was bound to say something important. It is, of course, the Amendment most often cited by children when complaining to their parents, and it guarantees the right of all people to practice their religion as they please, free of Government interference (so long as we’re pretty sure they’re not serious.) But his second and third choices (4th & 5th) show that he had a plan: fully half of his selections were single-digit amendments, while no one else got more than one. Come to think of it, perhaps the theme is incipient criminality, since if you’re a terrorist or a professional criminal, the Fourth and the Fifth Amendments are the Daily Double. But he clearly has earned the Bill of Rights Consolation Prize.

Adam’s last three picks all have to do with elections. He stumbled in the fourth round, though, apparently not realizing that the (single digit) Second Amendment was still available, and chose instead the 12th. Mandating separate election of the president and vice-president (so as to avoid the spectacle of the election of 1800, which the dishonest and hypocritical Jefferson stole from Aaron Burr), it represents mere tinkering. Elimination of the poll tax (24th) showed a spark of life, but then going for winter Presidential Inaugurations (with two single-digit amendments available) showed a lack of attention.

Overall, unable to overcome our suspicions about the 1st Amendment, a solid B.

Sydney started off with a bang, snagging the 13th Amendment which, in abolishing slavery, finally dealt with the great shame that the original drafters had had no choice but to kick down the road, while their grandsons in the Senate had prohibited themselves from debating. Perhaps attempting to establish a theme, her second pick was the abolition of sobriety when she staggered away with the 21st. Two bad ideas down the drain. Great start.

There are those who will say that she faltered in the third round, selecting the 10th Amendment. But not so: her choice reveals that she’s a strict constructionist at heart, pining for the lost days of the supremacy of the individual over the mob (plus one grade from this reviewer). Oddly, the much-overlooked Sixth Amendment (the provisions of which we mostly assume as a condition of the universe) was still around for her to snag as her fourth choice (as Chris and Sarah, apparently unfamiliar with our form of Government, passed it up so as not to miss popular election of Senators and Presidential term limits).

We gently harumph past her selection of 18-year-old voting as a foolish error of youth, while applauding her recognition of the importance of the 23rd Amendment. That, of course, is the provision that recognizes that Presidential elections would be completely unfair if the candidates were to start out even, and so automatically awards three electoral votes to the Democrat. Good going, Syd!

No errors. Much subtle insight: A+.

Now, Sarah. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. What are we to do with you? You could have been a contender. You passed on the 14th, 16th, 4th, 5th, and, with the third pick overall, went with “unenumerated rights?” Thinking what? That it preserves the average fat guy’s right to unlimited Big Macs?

OK. Maybe I’m being too harsh. There’s plenty of time for recovery. And she picks . . . . WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE!! You understand the history, I suppose?

The Eighteenth Amendment had passed the year before. Men looked forward with horror at a lifetime without self-medication. Without attitude adjustment. And, in their weakened state, blinked, letting themselves be nagged into giving their wives the vote. All-male electorates gave us Washington, Adams, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson. In the first Presidential election with female participation, the girls gave us Warren G. Harding. Good God!

But here she stopped the bleeding, and picked the (by-this-time) only remaining Civil War amendment, the 15th. An omen? A sign??

Indeed. Because it is only AFTER the first three rounds that Sarah begins to shine. We believe it is not impossible that she threw away her first three picks on purpose, and then pointed with her bat to the center-field seats with a wry smile. With the draft more than half over, with nothing but leftovers . . . um, “left over,” she hit three home runs: 22nd, 2nd and 18th. Presidential term limits, the right to bear arms, and Prohibition. Three big ones! Without Prohibition there would have been no Al Capone, no Godfather, no Elliot Ness. No America as we know it! Without the right to bear arms, ordinary Americans could be deprived of their God-given right to own that shoulder-launched anti-tank gun every little boy dreams of.

And, perhaps most important, without the Presidential term-limitation of the 22nd Amendment, we would be subject to endless, week-after-week, season-after-season, term-upon-endless-term blathering from Martin Sheen, reminding us how easy it is to govern the country when you know how everything comes out in the last 10 minutes.

Overall, a stylish if grotesque draft for Sarah: B-.

Like Sydney, Chris came out of the blocks strong, taking the 14th and the 16th Amendments. The first has brought us the unfettered right of every federal judge to do anything he damn well pleases, no matter what the people or the Congress might have said on the subject. And the 16th Amendment brought us the Income Tax. So Chris has immediately established his criteria: Constitutional Disasters; Amendment Root-Canal. Had he selected Prohibition in the third round he would have run away with the “Karl Rove Award” for refusing to get off-message.

But he blinked, and took the weasely Eighth Amendment. That’s the one that says bail and fines are both great ideas, so long as they’re not “excessive.” And then goes way out on a limb and endorses cruel punishment, expresses approval of unusual punishment, but draws the line at punishment that’s both cruel and unusual. You think?

It was downhill from there. After taking the 17th (which eliminates direct influence by the States over the Federal government by permitting direct election of senators), he made a last, best stab at a shoestring catch, and got hit in the face with the 25th. That one establishes all sorts of rules about passing bits of paper back and forth if the President decides he’s gotten a little weird in the head. Much easier to just pass an amendment declaring that, if the President starts cross-dressing, then Sarah Connor becomes president. Simple? Simple. And, for fear of further embarrassment, we won’t even mention his last pick (suits against states? What?)

Dismal, Chris. You should try harder next time. C.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with the ridiculous font? No normal person can read this. We're not showing our bias via formatting options, are we? Say it ain't so!

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the real question is, what's with the creepy, creepy Linda Hamilton obsession?

8:41 PM  
Blogger Robot Commenter said...

It's really incredible the web log (or "blog") that you've got here. I'm going to try my hand at it myself, using my own hands, and my own everything else. AT NO COST TO YOU!!

My blog will be all about Linda Hamilton. It is impossible to identify even one thing that is not perfect about Linda Hamilton. I mean, in Terminator II, get a load of them GUNS! And the GUNS, too! What a girl!!!

9:01 PM  
Blogger Gentleman Farmer said...

Until the post from RC and whoever that other person was, I didn't see a single reference to Linda Hamilton.

Although it must be said that she IS a babe.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:19 PM  
Blogger the Thin Man said...

Hooray for this commentary. This is not form a knowledge-able stand-viewpoint but from a comedy scale. Waren G Harding, Big Macs, pure hillarium. BRAVO!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Oh man, I can't believe we asked somebody who thinks that the only decent amendment to the constitution was the 13th to grade our draft. From where I sit, [redacted] is an idiot.

Come on, aren't you just bitter that your champions in the political sphere are knuckle-dragging dipshits? All the while your enemies, reasonable, intelligent people on the bench, provide a counterweight to both the morons in this country as well as the portions of the constitution which, by their nature, are out of touch and restrictive.

We can go back and forth with the extreme examples of both positions, but it wouldn't add much to the debate. Instead, why don't you continue to fade away into your dark corner and join your friends the dinosaur, the dodo bird and the French Monarchy. There you can hunt for communists and long for the good old days.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Durward Kirby said...

Anybody who didn't already know that [redacted] is an idiot is, well, an idiot. But I'm pretty sure he's not particularly sympathetic to the French monarchy (aside from their signature distillate).

Of course, restoration of King Dagobert’s Merovingian dynasty would be a whole 'nother thing.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody better post some raving semi-coherent comments to the other commentary, or Sarah's Dad will think we don't love him.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Brooski said...

I'd personally have more respect for the man if he'd nominated John Connor as president.

And definately the Edward Furlong John Connor, not the wimpy Nick Stahl John Connor.

1:14 PM  

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