Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 08:21:57 PM EST
Published on Friday, November 17, 2006 by the Boston Globe
A Re-Look-See at the Constitution
by Bill Maher
There's no out-of-the-box thinking in this country. If we were really looking for a new direction, we'd not just change Congress, we'd have another Constitutional Convention, as Jefferson suggested we do. Jefferson said: "Let us provide in our Constitution for its revision. . . every 19 or 20 years. . . so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation." He himself was saying, "I'm a bright guy, but even I can't foresee the iPod." Or the assault rifle.
But that's Jefferson's phrase: periodical repairs. This thing needs periodical repairs, but it hasn't been in the shop for 219 years. Of course it's belching oil. Literally. And that's because one of the glaring flaws a Constitutional Convention might correct is something called corporate personhood, which means somewhere along the way, stupid or corrupted courts gave corporations all the rights of individuals, with none of the liability. If some person defecates on your lawn, we throw him in jail, but if a corporation does it, they get a tax break. Somehow "we the people" got to be defined as Halliburton. This thing needs to go in the shop!
And I know traditionalists are saying, "But Bill, it's a sacred document!" Please, it's full of crap about pirates, for God's sake. And I don't mean the kind that copies Justin Timberlake CDs. I mean peg legs and parrots. "The founders were so brilliant." Yes, they were: the proof being, the government they designed keeps functioning even with cement-head doofuses like you in it.
Listen to Jefferson -- he was saying, "We're smart guys, we're not Nostradamus." We deal with things today no founding father could have imagined -- the Internet, global warming. Toilet paper, instead of bark. If Ben Franklin got beamed in to visit us today, the first thing he'd say is, "For 17 dollars, I get porn on my TV all day? How can the hotel afford that?" And then he'd say, "You're still using the old Constitution that we told you to revise? That's so nuts hemp must still be legal."
I find the above thoughts very refreshing. I have read similar thoughts in other places, but they are mostly uncommon. Having been blogging on Democratic Undergound (which I left for their incredibly pro-Israel bias) I have tried to raise the question but have been mostly flamed. Obviously for most progressive Americans, the Constitution is holy ground and the approach... religious. In a certain way it leads to something profoundly undemocratic, kind of a "secular theocracy" where a ultimately a group of 9 high priests decide what is politically correct or not.
The issue is important in France, plenty of forces want a 6th Republic, that is to say a new constitution where more modern democratic rules can be applied. So far only the UDF has been seriously on that way, since Montebourg had to put his plans aside in his backing of Ségolène. Which is intresting is that often the US constitution is taken as an example for a new French one...