By Monsieur d’Nalgar
I supposed it is heresy to ask, but why do we (the people) treat our Constitution as a sacred relic? You’d think it was holier than George Washington’s ossified kneebone. Or written by the bearded Almighty on the backside of the Ten Commandments.
And rumor has it that it was little Tommy Jefferson himself who personally pried it loose from Charlie Heston’s cold dead hands, way up on top of Mount Sinai!
The reality of our Constitution’s origin is, unfortunately, more mundane than mythical. It was written more than two hundred years ago by a few brilliant, bewigged, bewildered men, and it was a great starting point for a radical new social experiment called America.
But Geez-Louise, people! It’s 2012 – it’s time to move along now…
Those wacky tea party “patriot” poltroons who insist it is perfect and immutable in its original form would like nothing more than to see our Constitution permanently petrifed. Forever frozen in those gauzy, halcyon “good old” days of yore when life was still very primitive. When you didn’t have to stray far from the bosom of civilization to find places where a wee bit of stealth and a bow-and-arrow was still a pretty good match against a black-powder musket. Sorry NRA, but nobody had assault rifles or Teflon-coated bullets.
And for all the fuss about how universal healthcare is unconstitutional, try to remember what “modern” healthcare looked like when the Constitution was delivered from on high to we mere mortals, when you could still trade a chicken or a pig for a doctor’s tender mercies. If you suffered from too much “plethora,” parisitic worms were attached to your body to restore balance between the four humors – blood, yellow and black bile, and phlegm. Sorry Republicans (and big-pharma Blue Dogs – a two-fold tautology), but nobody had penicillin or Prozac or even aspirin. If the leeches didn’t work you just died.
Our local teabaggers (a bilious ilk) write incessantly about freedom and liberty and property rights, and how supporting anything Obama is for is tantamount to signing a pact with Satan. Their rhetoric is so heated and so hyperbolic, you’d think they were still single-handedly hewing down vast swaths of virgin forests on the very edgy edge of America’s dangerous, wilderness frontiers.
Of course, a teabagger’s life is never quite so rugged as they imagine. Despite what their oh-so-clever bumper stickers proclaim, their wild frontiers exist only in the fevered fantasies of an unchecked but well-fertilized paranoia, where the hoodied minorities and Muslims roam…
You’d think they all lived in a third-world country on the fringes of humanity. They never mention that they’re tapped into a public waterworks instead of hauling buckets from a crick or crapping in an outhouse. Not a word about the public roads and bridges they drive over, or the sidewalks they pedester. Total silence on the blessings of police and fire protection. Nothing about Social Security or Medicare, which is ironic since most of these old writers are on the socialist/commie dole. And nary a peep about the myriad agencies working to make sure we have clean air and safe food, or the emergency services that step in when calamity strikes.
Nope, these intrepid souls owe their prosperity to nothing and to no one but themselves. Everything they have was hard-earned by the hardscrabble sweat of their brow. And maybe just a bit of unregulated “free” enterprise (you know, the kind that sends good jobs to places where people work for a pittance). And maybe they’ll even toss a few crumbs of credit to their fundamentalist, Old Testament, smite-everyone-but-us-please Jehovah. God bless America. It all boils down to I’ve got mine and they’ve got whatever’s trickled down on them and to hell with everyone else!
Forgotten in every success story is the awkward fact that in the lottery of life, much is owed to winning the “lucky sperm” jackpot. These teabaggers love to rage against the down and out who desperately need our help, but their harsh narrative conveniently overlooks legion congenital and societal handicaps that prevent so many from having the same head start in life as Dubya or Donald or Mitt. Sure, the occasional rags-to-riches story still comes along, every rare once in a while, but the hard reality in America these days is that most wealth is dynastic. Not earned at all, but handed down from generation to generation, from mommy and daddy dearest…
Of course, none of that matters when you worship Mammon at the altar of American exceptionalism. Nor does it matter that the rest of the world is laughing at us, or marveling at our infatuation with profound ignorance when solutions are all around. No, what matters most is that we preserve, at all costs (and they are dear), a Happy Days, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kinkade vision of our nation that was delusional at best, and far worse than that if you weren’t lucky enough to be born a lily-white favorite son with special privileges.
So here at last, my simple prayer for America: that we the people finally awake and see the world around us, not just as it is, but as it could be. For all of us. Together. Help us to hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish, and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.