Kirk Novak: Totally Nude Civic Lesson #1, The Bill of Rights

Greetings NSA anal-yst! I have stripped myself completely naked and have recently sculpted my body hair. I am quite pleased with my appearance and once I see that the light on my webcam has been turned on, I will go ahead and stand up and give you a twirl or two or three before we get started.

8f01291826fa11e3a9cf22000aaa0a6f_8Okay, now that we’re all comfortable, today we are going anal-ize the Bill of Rights! For the people reading at home, please imagine the smooth contours of my freshly shorn, fully nude body, and then picture a wrinkly old document drafted on paper made from hemp. This is the Bill of Rights! The Bill of Rights is a document that a lot of people have opinions about, but that even fewer people have ever read.

That’s why I read it for you, about a million times, while I was earning one of them social (not quite a) science degrees that prepare a person for an exciting lifetime of civic duty! In other words, some old crusty white dudes actually wrote all this shit down on paper, so you don’t have to just make weird stuff up about what you think it means without reviewing the text first. All you need to do is accumulate a massive amount of student loan debt, and then not find employment in public service anyway. You can also use an encyclopedia.

It is okay to have an opinion when you are interpreting an existing document and not simply conjuring things like a really lame wizard. Shoot, even the old Supreme Court calls their rulings opinions. Without further ado, here is my totally nude opinion of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States.

First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

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.

You can believe whatever you want to believe in, but the government is not going to sanction your fantasy and officially prefer one magic sky being to the other. They also cannot arrest you for saying ignorant shit, but your big mouth can cost you your job in the private sector because it’s private. Pretty simple! Also, America is a go wherever, do whatever, be whatever kind of place. That’s why cops shouldn’t be beating the heads of homeless people in with truncheons in public parks while they’re assembled peacefully sleeping. Naughty.

Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

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.

For the defense and security of our country, you can own a big old gun if you are a member of a regulated, standing militia. You can also own a personal firearm for self-defense, because every man is an island, am I right SCOTUS? That does not mean you can own a nuclear bomb because the government has one too. Seriously, it doesn’t say that anywhere in the original text of the 2nd Amendment because they didn’t exist when it was written. Also, swords are arms. Concealed carry a fucking sword.

Third Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The government can’t send troops to crash at your house, most of them are still kids, so they have to go home and stay with their parents. Generally, this only applies during times of peace, because during times of war the government can pretty much just make up new laws to do whatever they want to do. See: current events and the actual text of the 3rd Amendment.

Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

You keep a knockin but you can’t come in (without a warrant that specifically says what is being sought) WOO! This applies to things like email and text messages too, but for some reason our legislators are having a heck of time sorting that one out. Their job is pretty hard! Look as those brows wrinkle. That’s why we vote for them. Thinkers.

Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

You have the right to keep your big mouth shut and not fuck yourself over when you get caught doing dumb shit. Additionally, the government can’t just lock you up for an arbitrary “time-out” where you go stand in the corner and think about what you’ve done, if you even did anything at all. Unless you’re actually in the military, fighting a war. Then your ass belongs to Uncle Sam. The government can also take your shit, but they’re supposed to pay you handsomely for it.

Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

You have the right to a trial when you are accused of a crime, and it will be adjudicated according to a process (this is what people mean by due process of law, my friends). We all get to see what is going on, and they can’t just make you wait and wait as if you made an appointment at the doctor’s office. People from the community with no connection to the case will form a jury (I still am unconvinced that this is a good idea, but that is for a Naked Civic Lesson Editorial), and people with a connection to the case will be cross-examined and might say some nasty stuff about you. All of this 6th Amendment freedom unfolds efficiently in a joyful forum where the attorney, fresh out of online law school and Constitutionally assigned to be your advocate, has had seven minutes to review your case before defending you in the Greatest Justice System in the World™. Anyway, that’s why secretive military tribunals should make everybody uncomfortable as shit.

Seventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

They really need to bump up the bottom dollar value for civil suits. Twenty bucks? Give me a break. What year is this, 1791?

Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

If you are convicted of a crime the government cannot be giant assholes and unreasonably and painfully and sadistically fuck you with the punishment they hand down.

Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The Constitution is a tool to grant rights to its citizens and should not be used as a device to deprive them. THIS ONE IS VERY FUCKING IMPORTANT. Think about it the next time you sign some asinine petition for an amendment to make English the official language or to define marriage as between a man and a woman, because you need to brush up on your critical thinking skills and maybe your English and you probably should have experimented in college.

Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The states can make up whatever zany laws they want, but the Constitution is top dog. WOOF. Missouri wants to recognize Southern Baptists as the official state religion? (smacks ignorant state legislator with rolled up Bill of Rights) NO! BAD! BAD!

Let’s go put on some pants. Until next time, stay free and easy.

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