Saturday, September 02, 2006

Which part of "Congress shall make no law..."

I generally despise bumper stickers (what's the point, really? See my earlier post on political buttons) - but occasionally there's a clever one. (And one on that car at the Library that reads "Ban Bumper Stickers!" ain't one of 'em!) And even more occasionally there's a truly satisfying one - one that I might almost maybe in a million years put on my own car. My favorite so far is "What part of 'Congress shall make no law?' don't you understand?" - made to protest McCain-Feingold. A funny comment on this thread on Hit and Run extends the joke: "Senator, before I answer that question, perhaps you could explain to me how growing and using a plant entirely on your own property is both 'interstate' and 'commerce'."

It's amazing to me how many times things that the Constitution has explicitly put off limits nevertheless manage to come up for a vote in Congress - and even pass (as in the case of the aforementioned McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance "Reform" Abomination). The Constitution specifically says that Congress shall make no law, among other things, "abridging the freedom of speech." It doesn't say "the government shall not abridge the freedom of speech unless Senator McCain thinks it might be a good idea, just this once." And yet, your lawmakers managed to bring you campaign finance reform, and sneak it past the Supreme Court besides.

Well, it's come up again. There's a situation with this film being shown at the Toronto Film Festival that imagines (and shows) President Bush being assasinated (in October of 2007). Clearly the film is intended to be a political commentary, so even under the narrowest of definitions it's a free speech issue. Now let's sit back and see if the right can restrain itself from calling for censorship when they try to distribute it here. First politician to bring it up wins a free copy of the Constitution, all of his very own!

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