10 September 2013

A Conversation Somewhere in Philadelphia

circa 1787, near 3d Street.

Hamilton: what's up, JimBob?  How's it coming?

Madison: Hey, Al.  Just dotted the i's and crossed the t's on habeas corpus clause just to make certain that no one ever thinks that the government has the authority to detain anyone without due process.  I think it's pretty solid.  But I keep getting hung up on the preamble.

Hamilton: What part?

Madison: So far I have, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence of all of humanity..."

Hamilton: Whhhooooaaaa there, little man.  What was that last bit?

Madison:  We are establishing a federal government that is to defend the sanctity and dignity of all humans everywhere, except where we don't, for all of time regardless of the threat or consequences, no?  That's the note Gouverneur slipped me.

Hamilton (chuckling): Gouverneur.

Madison: I know, right?

Hamilton (snapping to): That's biting off a little more than we can chew, don't you think?

Madison: Absolutely not.  We have a continent rich with natural resources and more than our share of industrious, entrepreneurial people.  We will tax those people to the point of breaking their spirit while running up unfathomable debt.  We can then establish a military larger than our needs or our means and make sure that nobody ever does anything we don't like.  And none of that will be a problem, right Mr. National Bank?

Hamilton: Watch it.  Where are you going with this?

Madison: With our resources and the fact that we know what's best for everyone else, we can't possibly confine ourselves to protecting, um, ourselves.

Hamilton: Is your stammering the result of your redundancy, your imbecility or you coming to your senses?

Madison: No need to insult.  That's a nasty habit of yours that you'd be wise to mind.

Hamilton (waving off Madison): Listen, let's keep things simple.  Keep it at "provide for the common defense."  You still have that bit in there about being able to change things, right?

Madison: Article V, just where we left it.

Hamilton: Good stuff.  We don't want people to forget that if they don't like what we "old white guys" put in there, they can just change it and not resort to having the courts or congress or the president bastardize all of the work we put in here and ignore what we've plainly written rendering the entire enterprise a sham.

Madison (snaps his fingers):  You're drifting.

Hamilton (starts): Sorry.  Anyway, if the people decide later that they want to become the world's policeman, they can just amend the constitution.  It will spell the end of the republic, but you know what they say about all good things.

Madison: What?

Hamilton: You're an idiot.  What's next?

Madison: Huh?  Oh, OK, so we'll keep it to "provide the common defence."

Hamilton: That should be an "s" there.  We're Americans.

Madison: Fuck off, foreigner.

Hamilton: Next...

Madison: ...Ok...here we are, "provide the common defence," and then "provide welfare to everybody for any reason..."

Hamilton (rubbing his forehead): I'll be back.

Madison: Were are you going?

Hamilton: I'm getting Franklin.  It's going to be a long night.

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