Darkside of the Sun: Pontiff should interpret U.S. Constitution

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

As you remember, the new pope recently sent up a puff of black smoke against income inequality, and white smoke for economic justice. But if he’s going to actually do anything about income inequality, he’ll have to be named to a real position of power, U.S. Supreme Court Justice — but he’d better hurry up, because even for that position he’s getting on in years.

What I really wish the pontiff would remark upon, since he’s already dipped his foot in the unholy water, so to speak, is what our forefathers actually did or did not say, or do, or intend, when they wrote the Constitution. Because I’m getting awfully tired of people who are a long way from infallible, such as the current Supreme Court, insisting that they have all the answers on that subject.

In my own studies, I haven’t gotten past the Preamble yet, but then most of the self-proclaimed experts seem to have skipped that part. Here’s how the Constitution begins (with my notes and research, in italicized parentheses).

“We (or “Oui,” foreshadowing the French Revolution by just a matter of months, really), the People (NOT ‘the Corporations’) of the United States of America (USA! USA! USA!), do solemnly swear to tell the truth (as it happens to occur to us), the whole truth (okay, everything that occurs to us), and nothing but the truth (or at least a factoid), cross my heart and hope to die (but not cruelly or unusually; cf., Amend. VIII), punch a dead man (original document used different expression) in the eye, out goes (or: ‘outgoes’; poss. ref. to deficits, see Citizens United vs. Common Sense, 08-205-2010) Y-O-U! (or, ‘We.’)”

The Constitution then either calls for capital punishment or it does not, depending on jury size, and taking into account the mean high water mark. And the Preamble gets even vaguer; after this, Madison starts yammering on about the General Welfare State, the Common Defense (most commonly: “Who, me?”), Domestic Tranquility (a touchy subject for Madison’s buddy Jefferson, whose mistress was a slave and thus presumably only three-fifths of a mistress), and, laughably, as anyone who has ever tried to balance a checkbook in 2014 knows, “the Pursuit of Happiness.”

You can tell the Framers thought these were Key Concepts because they capitalized them, as if they were writing a Winnie-the-Pooh story. Furthermore, it should be clear that the Constitution’s language is broader than it is deep, thus leaving plenty of room for interpretation. I mean, we set up all these freedoms for individuals in a democracy and all these protections for property; what happens when those interests clash? I am really hoping the Pope can clear up the Preamble for us, along with the Four Fabulous Mysteries of the Constitution, as delineated by that authority on red, white and blue, The Reader’s Digest:

• Why are there no bullet points anywhere in the document? Were they left out to placate the NRA?

• Should we replace the Bill of Rights with a Million Dollar Bill, to emphasize the true interests of the federal government?

• Why didn’t the Framers predict the world would end on Dec. 21, 2012? Is it possible they were covering up something?

• Did the ox and lamb keep time at the Constitutional Convention, too?

I hope His Holiness can now move on to these pressing matters. There are still a lot of lapsed Catholics in America, and we deserve answers too, answers that address the big questions — such as what happened to the Year 0 A.D.? Cover-up, or just poor inventory management?

Separation of Church and State aside, many of us are eager to see the pontiff’s thinking applied to Constitutional matters. Because, if not welfare, what were the bread and fishes? If not banking regulation, what was with all that money changing mayhem in the temple? If not the ongoing ecological destruction of America by a consumer culture, why throw out that nice young couple from the garden, just for consuming fresh fruit?

Mike Corrigan keeps his constitution strong by walking, and taking “cough medicine,” pre-amble.v

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