116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Note: My annual dose of holiday satire.
Good evening, gentlemen. I’m James Madison and I’ve come to inform you of what’s happening with the proposed Constitution and, more specifically, the 12 proposed amendments now up for ratification.
Thank you for gathering here at the Red Fox Tavern. The owner would like me to remind you that during these proceedings ales and all pickled meats are half-price. This should truly be a happy hour!
The 12 amendments I speak of were offered in an effort to quell the misgivings of our antifederalist friends who are uncomfortable with the strong central government created by the Constitution. I see many antifederalists here tonight. Welcome.
Within the 12 amendments are guarantees of freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition and religion. We’re protecting the right to bear arms and will prohibit the forced quartering of troops in our homes. We all remember how bad those Hessian mercenaries smelled. So much cabbage!
There are protections for citizens accused of crimes, including freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to due process, a speedy and public trial and a trial by jury in civil cases. The accused can’t be forced to incriminate themselves or be tried twice for the same crime, nor can they be subject to excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment.
One of the amendments grants to the states powers that are not expressly given to Congress.
Local control and a willingness to meet even those we disagree with. Let’s hope those principles never go out of fashion in American politics.
So do we have any questions from this distinguished group?
You there with your hand up, state your name and question.
“My name is Thaddeus Drumpf. What does this new Bill of Rights have to say about the cancel culture?”
Dear sir I’m unfamiliar with this cancel culture of which you speak.
“Well, last week. I painted ‘Federalist Pig’ in whitewash on Silas Twiterton’s livery stable. It was a clear, brief and artistic distillation of my outrage. But by the next day, he had painted over it and banned me from the stable. What about my right to free speech?”
Well, you did paint that he’s a pig on his private place of business …
“And what of my friend Aristotle Adams, who challenged another dirty federalist to a duel? He was completely canceled, right on the spot.”
My condolences. But with the right of free speech comes responsibilities. Your taunts might be protected from government censorship, but the Constitution can’t save you from the consequences of being a huge jerk.
“I’m George Brewer and I’m concerned this Constitution won’t stop all the wokeness.”
Sorry, again, I’m afraid you’ve caught me at a disadvantage. Wokeness?
“You know, all these enlightenment teachers and professors indoctrinating our kids with secular rationalism. It’s totally freakin’ French and it’s going to turn our kids into a bunch of snuff-sniffing, poem-reading, over-powdered courtiers. They ought to be learning straight out of the Good Book. Instead, we get deism! Deism!
“We won the revolution but lost the culture war!”
Well, ideally, under these amendments, Americans will be allowed to worship or not worship as they please. They’ll have the right to think, speak or learn about all sorts of ideas without fear of state persecution. We’re leaving the inquisitions back in Europe. This is an Age of Reason, a time to embrace new ideas and reject destructive traditions.
“Cough, cough, slavery, cough.”
Yes, thank you Mr. Twiterton. It’s true that, because we’re human politicians, not infallible deities handed the Constitution by God, we made a bunch of deals to sustain the abhorrent tradition of slavery. We shielded men who put humans in shackles and made it another generation’s problem. But we’re pretty sure it will all work out well. Probably by the middle of the next century. Easy peasy.
“Nice speech, Madison. I bet it sounds better in the original French!”
Touche Mr. Brewer. Anyone else?
“Greetings, I’m Hannity Lecturer and I object to this part about press freedom. These ink-stained malcontents are so openly biased for the Federalists that I’ve canceled my subscriptions to all the broadsheets, almanacs and pamphlets. I even plug my ears when the town crier cries! They should be forced to report all sides equally.”
I admit, Mr. Lecturer, the press has leaned in favor of the Constitution and these amendments. But when confronted with good ideas and lesser ideas, why should journalists treat them equally?
“Because bias! Both sides! What about … This is why I get all of my news here at the Fox.”
Fair enough. The light is growing dim, gentlemen. A few final questions?
“Where is the filibuster?”
“When you say right to bear arms, does that include very, very large cannons?”
“The freedom of religion part is just for Christians, right?”
“Does it mention smallpox is a hoax?”
“Sure, this protects white landed men now, but what about in the future?”
“This ‘democracy’ of yours won’t last 250 years. Dead by 2026.”
Sigh. Barkeeper, bring me a large ale. I’ve suddenly decided to get half pickled.
(319) 398-8262; firstname.lastname@example.org