An inside looking out: Simplifying the Bill of Rights


Sometimes, an insider will look out for you. I know — I was one, and did.

I worked over six years at a call center that handled customer service for (and sales of) extended service plans on name brand appliances (aka extended warranties). I learned a lot, mostly things my employer didn’t want me to know. I wrote a 3,800-word tell-all article (“Consumer Cash: Wisdom about Extended Warranties”) focused on the agreement intricacies, and the model contract referred to is still used today in stores everywhere where fine (and not so fine) appliances are sold.

My interest in simplifying the complex came about 25 years earlier when I took paralegal coursework at Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

For now, I have elected to merge my passion for helping others with simplifying the national code of conduct set forth by our founding fathers nearly 250 years ago. I am rewriting the Constitution. OK, not the entire Constitution, just the first 10 amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE ONE — You have the right to freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly and petition of the government for the redress of grievances.

I’m going to rewrite that to say, “The first amendment gives you a lot of free stuff (See what coursework at Roosevelt can do for you)?”

ARTICLE TWO — You have the right to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment will now be, “You can kill, but don’t say, ‘Shoot,’ since saying so drives the zero-tolerance people crazy. Also, because guns don’t kill — and people do — the word, “people” will be eliminated from the English language. Barbra Streisand’s hit will now be famous for the line ”Who need are the luckiest in the world,” the magazine that thrives on Hollywood gossip will be rightly referred to as Magazine, and Congress will make no law demanding you wear a long-sleeved shirt.

ARTICLE THREE — Quartering of troops.

This will be changed to, “Resolved: Our government will throw money at our military — more is good, most is best.”

ARTICLE FOUR — Prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.

Males will no longer be subject to free airport prostate exams (or the reactions to them), courtesy of the Transportation and Safety Administration and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci (though not the surgeon general, not wanting to be known as the doctor that puts his nose where it doesn’t belong).

ARTICLE FIVE — Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.

Grand juries will only convene when their jurors are paid $1,000 a day (approximately as much as Congress gets per working diem). Nobody will be required to pay more in real estate taxes than Eminem, though all will be required to sing better than he does. Constituents will be given the right to freely imbibe Mountain Dew, irrespective of the latest annoying Pepsico marketing campaign. This codicil of the fathers will prevent the general public from saying stupid things (though politicians are exempt) and no one will be forced to watch Alex Trebek reruns as long as they can answer the question, “What is, Who is this guy anyway, Alex?” — or $387 and an audio two-bagger.

ARTICLE SIX — Protects the right to a speedy public trial by jury, to notification of criminal accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel.

Assures defendants their court appearance will be presided over by judges that look like the infamous Alka-Seltzer mascot. Defendants will not go to jail before they understand there’s a trial they’re supposed to appear at. Assuming they haven’t missed their day in court, they, or their assign, will be allowed to torment the accuser to the point that they weep openly on the witness stand and seek “wetness” protection. The accused will be allowed to roam the neighborhoods and scoop up any “witnesses” he or she can find. Said witnesses must tell the truth in court but should be allowed to swear to that end on the latest version of “The Watchtower,” rather than the 500-pound leather-bound King James version of the Holy Bible that induces hernias in the bailiffs assigned to hold it up.

ARTICLE SEVEN — Provides for the right to a jury trial in civil lawsuits.

This will allow those obviously guilty of a crime to be tried by a jury of 12 other equally nefarious men or women that appear on the voting rolls, legally or otherwise. This is to only occur in cases where the accused treats all courtroom adherents with the utmost of respect.

ARTICLE EIGHT — Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail as well as cruel and unusual punishment.

Suspects will not pay in either fines or bail that which exceeds the aggregate costs of their house, car and the raising of their first-born child. Most importantly, judges will not be allowed to require the guilty listen to the National Anthem, as sung by the Roseanne Barr, Rosie O’Donnell and Tiny Tim Trio.

ARTICLE NINE — States that rights not enumerated in the Constitution are retained by the people.

This will be rewritten to explain that if logic dictates a citizen is allowed to do something, he can do it without fear of penalty (with the possible exception that DNA be extracted from a former Walt Disney, in order that he may run for United States president as an independent).

ARTICLE TEN — States that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated or enumerated to it through the Constitution.

In other words, while the people get logical rights (even if someone forgot to put them in the Constitution), the government entities don’t have that same right.

Sounds logical to me.

Les Linz is a resident of southern Indiana who writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his author page. Send comments to awoods@aimmedia

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