DAILY BRIEFINGThe Moron's Daily Briefing
Sep. 25 - On this day in 1789 Congress proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Habeas Corpus Christi and Freedom from Unreasonably Surging Seashores were ultimately rejected but the other ten passed and have come to be known as the "Bill of Rights."
In honor of this important anniversary, I have chosen to celebrate my favorite amendment, in the hopes that it may also soon be yours. I am speaking of the Ninth Amendment.
Like that of Beethoven, the Constitution's Ninth is the standard against which all others must be measured. Unlike Beethoven's, it doesn't climax with a resounding choral tribute to Joy (but that could be fixed).
Here is the ninth amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
This important amendment should not be neglected just because of some awkwardly placed commas.
Under the first amendment, for example, I have been given the right to say any stupid thing that pops into my head. (This should not be confused with the responsibility of doing so, which is reserved to journalists.) This is an enumerated right. My right not to have to listen to anyone else's idiotic opinion is not enumerated, but it's just as important.
In the second amendment, in order to preserve peace and order in the state, I have been granted the right to stockpile dangerous weapons. Unenumerated but no less important is my right not to be caught in the crossfire while you fire off a couple of clips at a Sunday School picnic.
Under the eighth amendment, I have the right not to be drawn and quartered, boiled in pitch, burned at the stake, or belittled by a British producer on national television. But this does not overrule my right to be entertained.
Let us all take a moment to give thanks to the Ninth Amendment, which preserves us not only from the tyranny of government, but the far more dangerous tyranny of one another.
Today is the birthday of Catherine Zeta-Jones (1969), Will Smith (1968), Scottie Pippen (1965), Heather Locklear (1961), Christopher Reeve (1952), Mark Hamill (1951), Cheryl Tiegs (1947), Michael Douglas (1944), Juliet Prowse (1936), Glenn Gould (1932), Barbara Walters (1931), and William Faulkner (1897).
It's Flag Day in Cape Verde, Revolution Day in Mozambique, and Establishment of Republic Day in Rwanda.
© 2002, The Moron's Almanac