Constitution Reboot 

Part I: Badger Bob insists we can do better

When in the course of modern human events a nation's citizenry cannot rely on their government to be as strong an ally as is realistically possible in the eternal struggle against the ravages of disease, injury and infirmity--not to mention the existential plagues thrust upon them by the unquenchable greed of pharmaceutical and insurance barons--then there is little reason to consider that government to be benevolent. Furthermore, when the country is divided over whether government health-care programs adhere to the Constitution, it may not be that something is wrong with the programs so much as that something is wrong with the Constitution.

--From "Badger" Bob Berzerquierre's upgrade of the Declaration of Independence

I found him in his back yard. He was wearing a pink Hawaiian shirt that probably fit him pretty well--40 pounds ago.

"Bob! Wha'z up? Pull up a lawn chair, buddy. Grab yourself a brewski. Take a load off. Sit a spell. Get shed of them shoes and put some grass between your toes. Throw another weenie on the barbie. You got time for an Oscar Mayer, haven't you, Bob? What you been doing with yourself? Haven't seen you in a coon's age. How's about them Cubbies, eh? What are you ..."

"Cope, shut up. I have something important to talk to you about."

"Sure. Fine. Okie-dokie. Happy to visit any old time, Badger. It's like some people say, 'Stop and smell the roses?' Well instead of that, I say, 'Stop and smell your old pals.' Carpe amigos, eh, Bob? That's what I say. 'Carpe amigos.'"

"Christ, you sound like your beans have been refried one too many times, Cope. And what's with this King of the Cookout routine?"

"Golly, Bob. I'm just trying to get the most out of summer. Six months from now, we'll be sloshing around in the mud wishing we'd spent more time counting butterflies and running through the sprinkler."

"Have you started next week's column?"

"Uh, not exactly. Not yet. No. But don't you worry none. I'll get to it. Have I ever let you down? And say, you wanna make some smores while the briquettes are still hot? I can't find any graham crackers, but we could use Melba toast, don't you think?"

"Look, I read what you wrote last week, and it sounds like maybe your motivation went hiking and got lost in the woods. I have an idea that'll help you out, and with any luck, the country, too."

"Aw gosh, Bob, nice of you to offer. But you know me. I have to blow the cobwebs out now and then. I'm not lost ... just blowing the cobwebs out, that's all. How's about some watermelon? Your face looks like it could use a half-moon of melon wrapped around it, huh?"

"It's one hell of a bad time to be blowing the f***ing cobwebs out, Cope. Those demented goons on the right are out there working like termites to set America back 200 years, and we need every voice we got on the front lines. We can't afford to have you or any other liberal drop out so's he can barbecue smores and blow cobwebs!"

"Mellow out, dude. Say, there's an orange soda in that cooler. That'll make you feel better, won't it? Some Sunkist?"

"Here's my idea, Cope. What say you and I cooperate on a re-write of the Constitution so that the anachronistic parts make more sense in the here and now? Make it a multi-part series or whatever? It would give you material for a s**t-load of columns, and ..."

"Holy smokes, Bob! Are you saying we put out a revised edition of the U.S. Constitution? Criminey! Do you know how many folks we'd drive bonkers even to suggest the Constitution could use some revision? Why, those right-wingers take that stuff like it came direct from the mouth of God."

"Yeah, and that's the problem, isn't it, Cope? It's all turning into another damn religion. They make the Constitution out as a testament to their conservative Christian values, ignoring the reality that a good part of it came to be to protect the rest of us from people like them. And you can guess where it will lead, especially when those Bible Belt yahoos start interpreting the intentions of the Founding Fathers as not only the law of the land, but Gospel, too."

"But Baaawwwwb. We'd make so many people so maaaaad!"

"Who cares. Now, I've already done some writing on this, Cope. Just notes, mostly. But I thought we could start with the Preamble and work our way straight through. We'd leave a lot of it as is, of course, except even the parts that still work could use some heavy-duty reinforcing. Like the ..."

"Bob Bob Bob Bob Bob. You and I aren't qualified to rewrite the Constitution. Can't you see that? We're just common Americans."

"Who says we're not qualified? We know everything old Madison and Jefferson knew, don't we? Plus about 225 years more of history than they did. So why is it OK for one bunch of swinging d**ks to write a constitution, and off-limits for the next bunch? Besides, neither one of us ever owned a slave or told a woman she didn't have a say in this country's affairs, so as far as I'm concerned, that makes us more qualified than a lot those powdered wig hypocrites."

"Oh, Bob."

"Listen to what I have so far, Cope. 'We, the people of the 21st century and the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ...'"

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