There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America since it was ratified in March 1789. Almost one-third of them, the first ten, were added two years later in December 1791. The first ten amendments were known as the Bill of Rights, and they were added to ensure that not only was the country free but that the citizens would be guaranteed certain rights and freedoms. The latest amendment was ratified in May 1992, so I think we’re long overdue for an amendment.
I can’t help but think about how different the world was in 1789. When the Founding Fathers got together to create a document stating their freedom from Great Britain, they were currently at war with both the Britains and the Native Americans that already inhabited North America. They needed laws and a government in place that would look out for all of the states as needed, but would allow freedoms and rights at the personal level in line with a country governing itself under martial law. It’s crazy to think that the majority of the laws that govern us today in the year of our lord 2022 were written in the 18th century.
Yesterday I read that the House passed a bill to protect same-sex marriages, to prevent what happened last week with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. We’ll have to see whether this bill passes the Senate, but it made me think about why we have certain legislative processes and procedures in place. Oh, that’s right, this is how they were written in the Constitution over two centuries ago! What if we no longer had to follow the rules of a document from 1789 and instead we could get a different take on these situations from people that were born after the Civil War?
What if we decided to rewrite the Constitution or add amendments that bring us into the 21st century? What if we add explicit sections regarding cryptocurrency, ridesharing, and NFT’s? What if we review our gun laws not from the lens of needing to protect ourselves from random militias but as the country with the highest amount of mass shootings in the entire world? What if we scrutinize our free speech laws and find a way to separate inaccurate political statements from this blanket protection? What if we review why jury duty is mandatory for regular citizens? And what if we explicitly write laws to address the right to choose, gay marriage, or other hot-button issues once and for all?
Part of me is being facetious but I’m not kidding when I say that we should take a hard look at our government, our politicians, and the rules that they must abide by. If we can’t trust our elected and appointed officials to get things done, maybe it’s time to review and revise the playbook that they use to get away with such ineptitude. If every other aspect of our life gets an update every few years, why do we not expect the same from our laws? Maybe this hypothetical do-over would bring us closer together as a nation and remove much of the negativity and turmoil that seeps into our daily lives.
And when this hypothetical rewriting of history takes place, I wanna be in the room where it happens.
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