The US Constitution: Anybody Remember It?

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It’s a quaint little document, really. One of its major problems, of course, is that it was written by white males and as everyone knows, there must be ethnic and gender diversity in anything worth keeping these days. And so it goes out the window, this little document that’s been holding our country together for a couple of hundred years or so.

I say good riddance. Why, really, do we need something that protects us, for instance, from searches and seizures that are unwarranted? So many of us sheep, really, are thankful that our Masters protect us from the big, bad, ugly terrorists. Nobody thinks anymore that our Masters should be protecting us from, well, from our Masters. Some of the used-to-be-sheep have figured out that maybe, just maybe, those delightful, deceitful Masters of ours have actually allowed such atrocities as the whole 9/11 thing to happen.

Nonetheless, it was a quaint document, that Constitution. It said something about how the people’s right 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." In other words, someone can’t just go x-raying my underwear at random, unless my underwear has been doing something it shouldn’t. There needed to be, in the days of the Constitution, some probable cause that my underwear was guilty of something. Guilty these days means that you ride the subway or board an airplane.

Yesterday’s government-schooled children, who have now become obedient adults, think it’s entirely reasonable to submit your keys and pocketbook to be searched. The police commissar, excuse me, commissioner of New York City, claimed, evidently with a straight face, that “common sense prevailed” when Manhattan subway riders were subjected at random for searches of their private property. “At a fitting moment,” commissar explained, “the court upheld the constitutionality of the bag inspection program, one of our key strategies for deterring a subway attack.” Evidently a key strategy for dismantling the Constitution as well. But really, who’d notice?

When the recent supposed terrorist attack plot resulted in people who had to give up their bottled water and wine before boarding an airplane, we are now expected to acclimate ourselves to the new travel restrictions. Jamie Bowden, a former terminal manager at London’s Heathrow Airport, said the new rules may be here to stay. "I think certainly here in the U.K. and certainly in the States as well, people are now getting used to kind of a new way of travel . . . I think, although the airlines certainly don’t want these kinds of restrictions, if they believe through government intelligence that it’s much safer to fly like this, that may be a new way that people are going to have to get used to flying."

A new way, indeed! And people have been primed for such searches by allowing attendants at such fabulous places as Disneyland to perform cursory searches of our belongings. Our children are being conditioned to believe that our private property belongs to everyone.

The airlines are supposedly independent entities, but the reality is that they are partially funded and controlled by the government. They have every right to ask passengers to do whatever they wish; passengers have every right to take another form of transportation. The problem with this latest government intrusion on airline travel is that no one seems to be complaining. Maybe our Masters are seeing how far we’ve drifted into servitude.

As some have suggested, perhaps the next step will be for our Masters in the TSA to ask us to travel nude. Oh well. Whatever! say the sheep, who are afraid to seem baa-aa-aad to government officials. Those officials tell us over and over, and we believe it, that if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. The propaganda is working. Most people interviewed by mainstream media seem happy that their sodas are being confiscated: A college counselor made the inane statement that the loss of liquids via TSA search is “part of the price you pay for traveling during a time like this.” Yes, in post-Constitutional Amerika.

I should have known we were in trouble a few months ago. I read a story in the Raleigh News and Observer regarding sobriety checkpoints for cars. But it’s unconstitutional! I wrote the author of the story. To his credit, he was also under this evidently arcane belief, the idea that the U.S. Constitution has some degree of influence in our society. But an overwhelming majority of his readers told him that to question the Constitutionality of checkpoints was to endorse drunk driving. Oh, brother! Or rather, Oh big brother!

And so it should not have surprised me when I found out that people who had to throw out their bottled water before boarding a flight deemed it merely an "inconvenience." And they actually believed that somehow, throwing out that water would save their lives.

photo by John Thomas

A little note here: When I spent a summer in Manhattan during college, I had a boyfriend who used to fly from North Carolina to New York to visit me. He used to bring a certain herb that our Masters have deemed illegal. Personally, I always thought it quite odd that our Masters could tell us what we could and could not grow on our own property. Nonetheless, he brought some of this herb when he came to visit me. He has gone on to be a father, and a husband to someone else. And I have gone on to be a mom, and a wife to someone else. Neither of us has time to fret much about that particular herb anymore, but neither have we nor anyone else suffered one iota from his bringing it on the airplane. A few years later, bottled water is now deemed illegal to bring on an airplane. Yes, bottled water. Do I want my progeny to grow up in a country that has limited so much freedom in so little time?

I have little hope for the sheep of this country, few of whom seem to be noticing that our Constitution, the basic document of freedom for our country, is becoming what George Bush said it was a few months ago: merely a piece of paper.

So it goes. But if the supposedly freest country on earth is no longer free, where might those of us who truly love and believe in freedom place ourselves? Please let me know. I’m longing to visit my dad and my friends in North Carolina soon. And I don’t want to submit my bottled water to a TSA screener.

Tricia Shore [send her mail], Comic Mom, is a North Carolina State University graduate who is happy with her momly life. Her new book, The Breastfeeding Diaries, a collection of funny breastfeeding stories from women across the United States, is due out in May 2007. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Tricia misses the sweet tea, grits, and barbeque of the South. You can read more of her thoughts and comment on her article here.

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