We the People: Is the United States Constitution Obsolete?
Kevin Bleyer defends his humorous re-interpretation of the United States Constitution in his book, “Me the People.”
Kevin Bleyer has rewritten the constitution in “Me the People.” Why? He holds its flaws to be self-evident: Our Constitution was hardly a blueprint at all. It was an Etch-A-Sketch, a series of blunders, shaken clean and redrawn countless times during a summer of petty debates, drunken ramblings, wild improvisations, and desperate compromise. No wonder George Washington, shortly after signing it, wished it “had been made more perfect.”
COURTESY RANDOM HOUSE
In Me the People (Random House, 2012) Kevin Bleyer—Emmy Award-winning writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart—has turned his formidable wit and unquestionable insight to the most significant literary event of the twenty-first, twentieth, nineteenth, and latter part of the eighteenth centuries: a complete rewrite of the United States Constitution. You’re welcome, America. In this excerpt from the book’s introduction, Bleyer explains how U.S. citizens have failed to see the flaws in this crucial document … or read it, for that matter.
We have made a terrible mistake.
And by we, I mean you. You have made a terrible mistake. As a citizen of the United States of America, you have put your faith in a four-page document written by farmers, scrawled on animal skin, disseminated more than two centuries ago, conceived in desperation in the aftermath of war, composed in the language of the country it was intended to spurn, and, not for nothing, scribbled by hand with the quill of a goose.
And because you have made a terrible mistake, and because—lamentably—you and I together count as we, “we” have made a terrible mistake.
We the People.
But really, I blame you.
When Alexander Hamilton said, “The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right,” he wasn’t talking about himself. He wasn’t talking about we. And certainly not me.
He was talking about you.
You the persons.
You have been told, promised, and guaranteed—and since you seldom judge or determine right, you have foolishly chosen to believe—that the United States Constitution is your great protector, as flawless in its foresight as it is eloquent in its expression, equal parts holy water, force field, security blanket, instruction manual, and swiss army knife—delivering a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defence, promoting the general welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty.
The Killer App of governance.
But ask yourself, if the Constitution is such an astonishing document, such a landmark piece of literature, why no Pulitzer? Why no Nobel Prize? If this supposed “American masterpiece” is so darn revolutionary, why was it never declared one of the “Ten Best Reads” of 1787? And did you even notice that “defence” is misspelled? How embarrassing. For all the Constitution’s vaunted glories, it hasn’t even been spell- checked. This is our Founding Document? (Quick, someone put that in a display case. It belongs in a muzeum.)
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