I realize you are reading this a week or so after the Fourth of July, but I was truly inspired by this year’s festivities. The day was a celebration of all things American: guns, beer, off-roading, barbecue and hair metal all made an appearance. As I blasted baby watermelons from 30 yards with my rifle, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like when these rights were created.
These “rights” I’m referring to are the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and are also known as the Bill of Rights. While they were technically enacted after July 4, 1776, the Bill of Rights contains the ideas that most people equate with freedom. Perhaps it was the endless stream of brews I had imbibed that day, but as I pondered those 10 amendments, a pattern began to emerge. It eventually became clear to me that this document was the work of the town drunks! For those of you who aren’t so easily convinced, consider the following evidence:
The First Amendment provides for a free press, as well as the freedoms of religion, speech, to assemble and petition. Think about it: What kind of people like to get together, say offensive things, worship various idols and complain to the highest authorities in an attempt to get free shit? You’re damn skippy it’s the lushes of the world! Everyone has that loud-mouthed friend who says inappropriate things after having a few too many (or like in my case, you are that friend). He or she might step on some toes, but at the end of the day they provide a much needed service: they always make you laugh. The First Amendment was written for them.
The Second Amendment gave us the right to bear arms. Now, the forefathers liked to party and this being just eight years after the Revolutionary War, they were probably still a gun lovin’ lot. I mean, shit, people still dueled with pistols back then, and everyone knows you would have to be drunk to do some shit like that. George Washington probably sipped absinthe and blew people away all the time.
On the surface, the Third Amendment doesn’t seem to jive with my theory, but a deeper look proves otherwise. The Third provides protection from the quartering of troops by the government. Remember, it was 1791, the war was over and the troops were enjoying some much earned shore leave. The vets hit the bottle pretty hard and began cashing in on their heroics. Soon, they were demanding free room and board. While sympathetic to their cause, the authors of the Bill also knew what it was like to have a drunken friend crashing on your couch all the time. Not cool, Hamilton!
Yes, Alexander Hamilton, whom we also have to thank for our Fourth Amendment, was quite the problem in those days. “Search and Seizures” as he liked to call them, were how he continued to drink after he had gone broke. Claiming government authority, he would enter the homes of the wealthy to confiscate their booze and valuables. In the end, he owed so much money that the government allowed him to print his own money. To this day, those $10 “Hamiltons” are being used as U.S. currency.
Ah, da fif”¦ In addition to protecting you against self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment also gives you the right to a trial, the legal defense of double jeopardy and keeps your property from being taken by the government without adequate compensation (kinda). One of the greatest beefs with the Brits was the issue of justice. Punishment at the whim of the King was not exactly the Founding Fathers’ idea of justice, but what was the best way? Feeling the toll of the day’s libations, they decided more time was needed to think. It was at that moment that a young bar-back by the name of Tommy Jefferson jumped up and shouted, “‘Tis it!” and changed the world forever. He realized that the brains of the alkies around him weren’t running at peak performance. They needed time to prepare and the opportunity to present their case (before Hancock broke out the bourbon). The same courtesy should be given to anyone else, be they wasted or not. Oh, and the next morning, the protection from eminent domain was added upon word that Hamilton had commandeered a nearby home in the name of “the Government.” HA-MIL-TON!!!!
Still not convinced, patriots? Check out A Swill of Rights: Part II, when we will explore more evidence of the drunken debauchery that went into the creation of the Bill of Rights!