"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

State Constitutional Amendments

Time for a civics lesson, I guess.

Governments create laws that limit personal freedoms for the betterment of the general welfare. Constitutions form a framework under which those laws are made. Amendments to constitutions should create further limitations as to how much governments can encroach upon personal liberty; these are checks upon the power of the multitude upon the individual.

In the U.S. Constitution, the only amendment that has been repealed was the prohibition against the sale, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages. This was also the only one that limited what people could do, rather than what government could do.

There are currently two possible amendments to the Minnesota state constitution that will be on the ballot this year. Both of them limit people, rather than government. One of them, unlike amendments to the US constitution that enfranchised people who had not previously been allowed to vote, limits voting to those who have one of a few approved forms of photographic identification. Among other things, this disenfranchises those Amish who believe that a photograph of them is idolatry.

The other limits marriage to a man and a woman. Gay marriage is already illegal in Minnesota. Marriage is already defined in Minnesota statutes as being between a man and a woman. This constitutional amendment serves no purpose but to preclude challenge of the current law as unconstitutional.

The Minnesota state constitution has had more than 100 amendments to it already, most of which were completely unnecessary. In 1974, the state constitution was deemed so unwieldy that it was completely rewritten. Since then, more needless amendments have been added, such as the 1996 amendment authorizing a bonus for Persian Gulf War veterans. Regardless of one's political opinions, the constitution is not the place for these frivolities.


wildknits said...

Thank you!!!!!

Xenia said...

I concur wholeheartedly, sir.

Anonymous said...

I agree. How would gay marriage threaten my own marriage? And voter fraud? Barely half the people even bother to vote!

John K.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Thanks for the welcome back and for "not noticing" on my latest that I used "admitting" where the word "emitting" was clearly called for (emended in the intervening time, when I finally noticed).

I'm commenting here instead of on your most recent post for reasons that should become apparent, below.

The morning after the Phils beat the Brewers 7-6 by scoring six runs in the bottom of the eighth (I include the 8th inning fact because the final score of all three games was 7-6, Phillies), I decided to re-watch the 8th inning (and a few others) even though I was at the game the night before. I'd dvr'd it anyway.

Turns out, we got the Brewers feed. And watching the Brewers feed, I was pretty impressed that the Brewer guys, despite the reversal of fortune in the 8th (second night in a row that the Brew Crew bullpen gave it up), were still pretty affable, not taking potshots at the other team, NOT saying, "BALL?! HOW COULD THE UMP CALL THAT A BALL!?!" etc.

They talked about how the Brewers' bullpen catcher had broken the record (formerly held by the Mets' bp catcher, it seems) by eating SEVEN Philly Cheesesteaks in the course of one game. (The Mets guy had eaten six and a half, it seems.)

In that broadcast, no Midwestern - specifically, Wisconsonian - stereotypes were in danger of being broken ... with regard to food or friendliness. These guys were fun and funny and people-person affable in a way Midwesterners are always said to be.

And that has always been my experience of midwesterners.

But then a part of me wondered: How could these nice foax vote for - put AND retain in office - an asshole like Scott Walker ... TWICE? A guy who is all about just what you talk about w/r/t the Minnesota constitution - viz., restricting individual rights to benefit the already powerful few?

And yet they did.

So I'm glad, at the game I attended, they parodied the (borderline ethnically insensitive) sausage race they always have at Brewers games, by having three guys dressed up as hotdogs race against a little girl, and the hotdogs cheated by taking off early but the Phillie Phanatic came out and threw a flying body-block that took all three of the hot dogs out a mere 50 feet from the finish line, allowing the girl to win.

Fuck you, cheating hot dogs! By which I mean Scott Walker, Michelle Bachmann and the rest of those freedom-limiting, intolerant midwestern politicians.

And Fuck You, too, Mr. Met! NO WAY you're a better mascot than the Phanatic!

SteveQ said...

Glaven, Brewers games haven't been the same since Bob Uecker announced them. Driving between Mpls. and Chicago once, I drove the loop around Milwaukee twice just to catch the end of a game.