Yeah, baby. It's Contest Time.

Yeah, baby. It's Contest Time. November 23, 2010

I told you there would be a test, right?

Well, I meant to.

All this time you’ve been lurking there in the shadows. Well now it’s time for you to man up. Or woman up. Or at least put your identity crisis on a hold for a minute. I have an important question to ask you. There’s no right or wrong answer, demerits will not be given. I’m simply interested in your honest thoughts on this matter.

We talk a lot about rights in this country. In particular we’ve spoken a lot this week about the right not to be groped by a TSA employee. Well, I haven’t spoken about it, but you know what I mean — every other blogger out there is talking about the privacy/groping issue. For the record I was at Reagan a couple of weeks ago and had to go through that full-body scanner. I know it was a cheap thrill for those TSA folks because they tipped me $10. I don’t mind. I’m unemployed. The $10 came in handy.

Frankly, I think Americans whine too much. I wish sometimes they would just zip it. Put a lid on it. Duck tape a news anchor or two. I am sick of hearing about people being groped when kids in Haiti are dying from lack of clean water. Didn’t we appoint a commission to help clean up Haiti? Didn’t we give them a buttload of money? How come we aren’t demanding that Haitians get better treatment?

I’ll tell you why.

We are whacked.

We get all huffy and puffy when a bag of urine gets spilled on a businessman, and yes, I agree, that’s humiliating. But hellooo… how many retirement facilities in your neighborhood? How many homeless shelters? Care to guess how many of those people wear urine all day long? Yet, I don’t see the news folks storming the gates of the nursing homes or homeless shelters. Oh. That’s right. Not nearly so glamorous. All those lonely old people.

All this got me to thinking about the Bill of Rights.

That will please my husband. He thinks it’s sexy when I talk about the Bill of Rights.  My husband would only call a porn line if the woman on the other end was reading the Constitution. You should have seen the back flip he did when I wrote yesterday’s blog about Plato and the Sophists. He literally jumped up and down in the middle of the bed, whooping and hollering. He’s cute like that.

So here’s the test — if you had to give up one of the Bill of Rights, which one would it be and why that one? Everyone who particpates in this test will be entered into a drawing and a random winner will receive a copy of Billy Coffey’s Snow Day, and a copy of my book Where’s Your Jesus Now?

And just in case you forgot the Bill of Rights, totally understandable, here’s the laymen’s version. Pick the one you can do without and tell us why:

  • Congress can’t make any law about your religion, or stop you from practicing your religion, or keep you from saying whatever you want, or publishing whatever you want (like in a newspaper or a book). And Congress can’t stop you from meeting peacefully for a demonstration to ask the government to change something.
  • Congress can’t stop people from having and carrying weapons, because we need to be able to defend ourselves.
  • You don’t have to let soldiers live in your house, except if there is a war, and even then only if Congress has passed a law about it.
  • Nobody can search your body, or your house, or your papers and things, unless they can prove to a judge that they have a good reason to think you have committed a crime.
  • You can’t be tried for any serious crime without a Grand Jury meeting first to decide whether there’s enough evidence for a trial. And if the jury decides you are innocent, the government can’t try again with another jury. You don’t have to say anything at your trial. You can’t be killed, or put in jail, or fined, unless you were convicted of a crime by a jury. And the government can’t take your house or your farm or anything that is yours, unless the government pays for it.
  • If you’re arrested, you have a right to have your trial pretty soon, and the government can’t keep you in jail without trying you. The trial has to be public, so everyone knows what is happening. The case has to be decided by a jury of ordinary people from your area. You have the right to know what you are accused of, to see and hear the people who are witnesses against you, to have the government help you get witnesses on your side, and you have the right to a lawyer to help you.
  • You also have the right to a jury when it is a civil case (a law case between two people rather than between you and the government).
  • The government can’t make you pay more than is reasonable in bail or in fines, and the government can’t order you to have cruel or unusual punishments (like torture) even if you are convicted of a crime.
  • Just because these rights are listed in the Constitution doesn’t mean that you don’t have other rights too.
  • Anything that the Constitution doesn’t say that Congress can do should be left up to the states, or to the people

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