ASK DR. BOLI.

We the People

Dear Dr. Boli: Two of my colleagues were arguing about something the president was doing. One of them said it was unconstitutional, and the other said it was just as constitutional as all get out. I couldn’t follow either argument. Can you explain the United States Constitution to me? —Sincerely, U. S. Representative Michael F. Doyle.

Dear Sir: Your confusion arises from the fact that the document you were probably shown in civics class as the “United States Constitution” is not the “constitution” your colleagues were debating. The written document is a useless fiction. The real constitution of the United States is, like the British constitution, unwritten. It consists of only two brief sections, and curiously enough it always speaks in the first person singular.

The first section categorically prohibits the President of the United States from doing anything of which I disapprove, and grants him near-dictatorial powers to accomplish things that benefit me.

The second section, also known as the “First Amendment,” guarantees my right to make you listen to any ill-conceived natterings I may wish to express and prohibits you from stopping your ears or contradicting me with reasoned counterarguments.

Now that you understand the unwritten constitution of the United States, you will understand any American political argument in which the participants are raising questions of “constitutionality.”

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Comments

  1. RepubAnon says:

    The unwritten First Amendment also prevents the government from using its powers to force me to practice a religion of which I don’t approve, while allowing me to use the power of government to impose my religious beliefs upon others. (See e.g. discussions of banning Sharia Law while requiring posting of one particular Christian religion’s version of the 10 Commandments on public property.)

  2. This unwritten constitution also has a robust system of checks and balances, as well as separation of powers. It separates the powers of government so all powers are held by whichever branch(s) of the government (The President, Congress, the Courts, the States, and Cable News) is controlled by people I agree with, and no powers are held by anyone I disagree with. This serves to check the power of anyone I disagree with, and keep things in balance by granting all power to me and people who agree with me.

    • rafinlay says:

      Balance is not nearly as important as checks. As long as they keep writing the checks, nobody cares if the books balance.

  3. Cattle Guard says:

    I see this unwritten Constitution was made (unwritten?) by very naive people who think that “anything of which I disapprove” and “things that benefit me” are opposites. If only the things we approved of actually benefited us… Oh well. That’s politics for you.

  4. The unwritten Constitution is similar to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes Article 29: “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

    This means, of course, that the rest of the document guarantees hot air. Anything it promises can be set aside if someone influential decides they’re inconvenient.

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