The U.S. Constitution- M.C. Escher or Rube Goldberg?

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Guest post by David Garber

The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land.  Simple and yet so complicated. 

Written in 1787, it was so muddled and confusing and lacking ultimately in specifics, it had to be amended within two years with the Bill of Rights (10 amendments) Why?  Because the framers were human and things were forgotten, overlooked or unclear.  They didn't have Google Search or Wikipedia for easy reference.

And on 17 different occasions since then, this masterpiece was altered, further resulting in a total of 27 ratified amendments (the 18th was later rescinded by the 21st). 

If the constitution was an automobile, it would be in the shop right now for a total overhaul.  It would be facing major replacements for worn or outdated parts. Its vital fluids would be drained and newer liquids substituted. And even then it might not be able to pass inspection to be licensed as roadworthy.

To be quite fair, the Constitution has served us well – but in its day, so did single-shot muskets and hand-forged swords for defense.  Our forefathers didn't anticipate progress this far forward.  Hell, even H.G. Welles only projected to 1984. So we’re left trying to understand what the authors of the Constitution meant – only on speculation.  None of the original writers are around today to explain their intentions. They even doubted themselves with their own words “…in order to form a more perfect union…”  More perfect than what? 

Look at an Escher picture and ask yourself if the soldiers are marching up or down?

escher

Look at a Rube Goldberg creation.  It somehow works, but it’s far from efficient. 

rubegoldberg

Now look at the Constitution. Getting the job done with an outdated, behind the times retrofit is barely holding us together.  

constitution3

We are guaranteed freedoms and then we pass provisions like the patriot act to restrict them.  We grant the right to bear arms but don’t clearly express against whom.  Some say it’s against our own tyrannical government.  Others say it’s from outside invaders. Others yet say it’s our protection from everyone.

As technology advances, we need new definitions for personal rights, privileges and duties. That’s supposed to be the legislative branch of our three-piece government but all they can agree upon is to disagree.  And judicial is to make sure the laws are fair but they’re hung up on legislating from the bench, not adjudicating and interpreting from the scales of blind justice. So what’s the executive branch supposed to do other than campaign?  We have three pieces all right – but not of a matching suit.   

How long do we have to stare at Escher or Rube Goldberg and try to use their optics as our laws?  We’re going around in circles and we’re advancing to the rear. Maybe it’s time for a new path with new elected officials and a new, modern set of rules. We can’t do worse than what we've got already.  And we've tried Band-Aids.  They can’t stop this kind of severe hemorrhaging.

For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”

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  • David G

    Yes. Thanks for the correction. It was in deed George Orwell. DG