Constitution of the United States
The Constitution of the United States is a document that some people find important to their way of life. This article will aim to explain the constitution in a way that even the braindead monkey can understand.
You're not a braindead monkey, are you?...
...All right. Let's just continue.
- 1 The Original Part (1787)
- 2 Amendments
The Original Part (1787)
The Preamble is basically everything that goes without saying. It's the introduction to the document.
OK, so, here goes.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.
No, wait, that's the wrong script.
Four score and seven years ago...
Still the wrong script.
According to all known laws of aviation...
YOU HEAR THAT? I AM GOING TO FIRE WHOEVER MAKES THE NOTES FOR MY ARTICLES. Unfortunately, I make the notes for my Illogicopedia articles, and I don't wish to fire myself out of a cannon.
Anyway, here's the actual script.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
In other words, this basically means that they're writing the constitution to make sure that everything runs smoothly: it can't be easy when you've just established a new country and need the colonial powers-that-be to take their hands off it.
Another interesting this, is that, depending on the amount of inherent EVUL liberal bias you have in you, this may in fact indicate that the Preamble establishes the idea of 'general Welfare': the United States somehow becomes Canada because the founding fathers wanted Social Security and universal health care.
You know what? Before Fox News army attacks me, let's just move on to Article 1.
Establishes the legislative branch. Or, in common people language, decides who has power and who gets to decide what the national animal of the United States should be. WHY did y'all spring for an eagle? I much prefer a zombie in a top hat, thank you.
This article therefore decides that all legislative power comes from Congress, that the House of Representatives is elected every two years, that the Senate seems to be more important than the House of Representatives (but can you tell? I can't).
This article also gets to decide who exactly can be in power. A Representative must be at least 25 years, and a citizen for 7 years, and for a Senator, replace those numbers with '30' and '9' respectively. As a result, nobody who doesn't meet these guidelines can be part of Congress. Which is probably for the best: you don't want a 19-year-old hacker from Tajikistan calling all the shots.
Next comes Section 8 (after a lot of confusing paperwork), which states that the Congress, among other things, is able to coin money, declare war, maintain the Army, to regulate trade with other countries,
and to keep a private army of dinosaurs in the backyard of the White House. Note, however, that only the federal government can do this, as Section 10 notes, state governments can't. So say goodbye to the Alabama Redneck Army!
(At least, I hope so.)
Establishes the executive branch, Or, in common people language, blame Article 2 for electing the orange God-Emperor.
The first section establishes the roles of President and Vice President. This is where all the controversy about Barack HUSSEIN Osama, the black supremacist Muslim Hitler Reptilian Illuminati Leader of the Not-So-Free Conspiracy World, comes from. After all, I think everyone can understand:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
Obama, as a result, if he was born in Kenya, is ineligible. Note that this does not apply to 2016 Republican candidate Ted Cruz, although he was born in Canada. Do you see that bit about 'a citizen... at the time of the adoption of the constitution'? That was in 1778. Look at his eyes. Are we entirely sure he isn't more than 240 years old? No.
Just like we aren't entirely sure he isn't the Zodiac Killer.
Following this, it talks about what the President has to do, and the fact that if the President dies, their role falls upon the Vice President. And Section 4 decides about what to do with him if he does something very, very bad. HINT: It's not 'deport him to Mexico', however tempting that might be (especially for Mr. Trump).
Establishes the judicial branch. (Can you see a pattern here?)
The first section gives us the description of how the Supreme Court works, stating that the Court is 'superior', essentially meaning that it's better than anyone else's court. Sorry about that, minor judges and magistrates!
Unfortunately for some people, Article 3 says nothing about suing people because they just rub you the wrong way.
Establishes the relationship between the states and the Federal Government. There are two interesting parts to this article:
- Section 3, which states that 'new states can be admitted to the Union': at the time of writing, there were 13 states, a full thirty-seven less than there are today. Of course, since the constitution still holds, this could continue to happen. The wise decision is that we should add Washington D.C, Puerto Rico, and Guam, giving the United States 53 states, which is a prime number, therefore making it truly 'one nation, indivisible'.
- Section 4, which gives each state the right to a 'Republican Government': never mind the Democrats (and other minor parties), apparently they constitutionally don't exist.
Well, you know how every good show breaks the fourth wall from time to time? Well, so does the Constitution: this article is about what you should do when you're not happy about how the Constitution looks. It essentially says that from time to time, amendments may be necessary to ensure the whole thing works. But the question is: does it?
Articles 6 and 7
Nothing to see here. All it really says is 'this document is official, even if you see it in graffiti on the wall of a public toilet'.
Obviously, this didn't work. And even more obviously, the Founding Fathers, for all their greatness, did not have the power to see into the future. As a result, people decided to carry out whatever Article 5 said, and amend the US Constitution. Here's what happened each time.
Also note that the first ten amendments are called the 'Bill of Rights', which is the one bill that you actually want to receive at the end of eating at a fancy restaurant.
This one's just a simple sentence, but has caused so much trouble over the years. Here it is:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In other words, the government can't lock you up for criticising the government, and they can't make unfair laws on that right either. Clearly this is fundamental to 'Murican society, because if the First Amendment didn't exist, Congress could make Scientology the state religion, make you only able to criticise the government between 11:15 and 11:17 AM on the fourth Sunday of every month, and clear people from the streets using men with axes and guns.
And speaking of guns...
The original hand-written copy of the Bill of Rights gives the Second Amendment this wording:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Fair enough, right? Well, not really. Two commas changed everything. Punctuation is important. Because the original meaning of the amendment is... 'A well regulated Militia... shall not be infringed', which everyone agrees with. And what it became... was something different.
(God, that's too much ellipsis.)
Anyway, this 'amendment' gives people the 'constitutional' 'right' to own 'guns', and means that you can buy an AR-15 from a local shop, but the Constitution says you can, because 'MURICA. Under Bat Fuck Mathematics, this is actually the First Amendment, which forces the actual First Amendment into the Second Amendment position.
Now, the Third Amendment is much less interesting than the first two: the basis of it means that, during peacetime, soldiers aren't allowed to stay in your house.
Yes, you read that right. So from freedom of speech... to your weapon's freedom of use... to soldiers' non-freedom to stay inside your house, and even in wartime, they have to have legal clearance.
Which is maybe for the best, since soldiers do a lot of exercise, they probably will eat everything in your fridge and refuse to acknowledge it. And do you want them practicing with their guns on a family photo framed in the living room?
Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, unless you have a warrant. If you have a warrant... then law enforcement services can be unreasonable as they want to be. They will take your bed, and your mirror, and your clothes, and even your cat. In fact... especially your cat. Does it look like that little thing was not involved in a crime sometime in the past 12 months?!
The Fifth Amendment is the one that gives you the freedom to not say that you're a criminal. You do this by pleading the first four bars of Beethoven's fifth. The necessity of this amendment became fully clear after the disputes over the minutiae of the penumbras of the First Amendment. This (fifth) amendment also forbids Double Jeopardy and eminent domain without compensation. Double Jeopardy is a kind of round on a certain game show where the monetary values of questions are doubled. The restriction on eminent domain takes away the government's freedom to steal stuff, which obviously means they can't levy taxes. I suppose all those Tea Party folks had a point, didn't they? (Now there's something I thought I would never say).
The Sixth Amendment, to put it shortly, makes traffic courts illegal.
This amendment concerns trial by jury. It states that in common law, the right should in fact be preserved. A notable section of the clause is that this applies when the value in controversy exceeds twenty dollars. As a result, if you should end up taking Macklemore to court over what he did in the thrift shop, the value equalled twenty dollars in his pocket... and you don't get a jury.
Life's terrible sometimes, isn't it?
There are two interesting things about the Eighth Amendment: firstly, how concise it is, and secondly, the fact that it originated in an English bill of rights, which is something that probably led to a lot of fights in the room when they were deciding what exactly to put in the Constitution. It states simply:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Cruel and unusual punishments, of course, is a very vague and confusing category, as is the idea of 'excessive'. However, it is safe to say that force-feeding someone cocaine, then jailing time and setting bail to be the current GDP of Uruguay, and then fining them the GDP of Uruguay, minus any llamas that died that day due to a bad harvest, would violate all three parts of this amendment.
The Ninth Amendment claims that you shouldn't read the Constitution in a way that denies other people of their rights.
And you thought the Eighth was vague.
The Tenth Amendment is the last part of the Bill of Rights: it basically says that the United States is a federation, meaning that the powers that aren't delegated to the United States by the document, are reserved to the states themselves. In other words, since the Constitution says nothing about marriage law, the state of Kentucky can stop people who are not blood relatives from marrying each other, making incest compulsory if you want to have a family there. Which - let's be honest - is halfway the truth.
Note that, depending on how you feel, the next amendments can be referred to as the Bill of Wrongs.
Actually, no. They can't be.
The Eleventh Amendment basically means that individual states of the USA are legally immune from committing crimes. Which, as the Tenth Amendment notes, is bad news for Kentucky.
Why does the Constitution seem to have it in for Kentucky? Nobody really knows.
This one essentially supplements the original Constitution, in that it describes how the President and Vice-President should actually get elected. Now, if the Founding Fathers were at all sensible people, they would probably say something about letting the people decide. Because, after all, America is a democracy.
Unfortunately, for all that Americans revere them, the Founding Fathers were all slave-owning rednecks who hated Europeans and wore brown boots with woollen socks. And they decided that maybe not just the people should decide, but a few people - that is - the ones who already had the power... should actually get more weight to THEIR vote.
And this is how the Electoral College came to be. So you also get to blame the Twelfth Amendment for everyone's favourite cotton-shaped clown idiot.
Abolished slavery, which we can all agree was a good idea. And just note that said slave-owning Founding Fathers were dead by then: this was 1865. And the Electoral College really has no bearing on this sort of thing, meaning that they couldn't try to oppose the amendment by letterbombing people. Or maybe by actually bombing people. Anyone know a place where I can buy gunpowder?
And if the Electoral College support slavery, it might be time to take them out... and, if you live in 2017, give them a high-ranking job in the Presidential Cabinet.