The Magazine

Twittering the Constitution

All the Founding Fathers go tweet, tweet, tweet.

Jul 20, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 41 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
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I will Twitter the Constitution of the United States of America. And the Bill of Rights. You may well ask, why? The Constitution is readily available, in print and online, set down in full without the distraction or annoyance of abridgments, elisions, abbreviations, acronyms, emoticons, and constructions such as "i h8 u" to express our feeling about inherited nobility once it had ceased to be our BFF. The Constitution is there for everyone to read. Ah, reading. People just don't do much of that these days. Especially not kids. Of course today's young people are able to read (thanks to No Child Left Behind and other brilliant improvements in public education). But I see no evidence that youths actually do read anything except text messages. Thus my project. Tech-savvy parents can use their BlackBerry phones to send the 140-characters-or-less items of cyberspeak that I have prepared and thereby fill their children's minds with substantive tweets.

"Tweet" is what I mean, isn't it? I'm not a tech-savvy parent. I communicate with my children via the old-media format called yelling. I have never Twittered or Tweeted or even Chirped. (I have Quacked, but only to lure mallards toward my duck blind.) Excuse me if I don't get the jargon right. Nor am I conversant with all the initialism that adds speed and convenience to typing with one's thumbs. LOL may mean "laughing out loud" or it may mean "lardy, otiose loptopophiles." I'm not sure.

Speaking of clueless squares, I have a second reason for Twittering the Constitution. I understand Twitter has become popular among politicians. This technology allows them to stay in perpetual contact with their constituents. The electorate now has instant information about what politicians have been up to. Considering what Governor Mark Sanford, Senator John Ensign, ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer, et al, have been up to, is this a good thing? And imagine the embarrassment of the Sarah Palin Twitter feed letting everyone in America know what she's been doing when she herself hasn't the slightest. She has to consult her own Tweets.

Giving politicians a Twitter-ready version of the U.S. Constitution to send to voters in place of the politicians' own thoughts will raise the tone of America's political discourse while sparing us the pain and humiliation of learning anything more about our dreadful elected representatives, their idiot ideas, or their unwelcome whereabouts.

Without further ado:

Pre-A: We the people R the man. Here's how it rolls. Art1: Congress do law. Got Senate/House-o-Reps.

HR 2yr deal. Reps mst b 25, homie citz 7yrs. 1R per 30k pop/min 1R per St. St pop #s @10yrs. Guv pix subs. HR pix own bigs. HR impeaches Clinton.

Sen 6yr deal. 1/3 go @2yrs. 2Ss/St Mst b 30, homie citz 9yrs. VP tiebreaks. S gives Clinton a bye.

$ Bills fr H & pass S w/amends. Prez mst X or nix. 2/3H&S 2 nix nix

Cong power = Tax Mooch Tariff Green crd Chapt 11 Print $ Bust cons Pat pend Law up War on Hang pirates.

Cong power not = No habeas corp No x post facto law Free trade 4 Sts. Kings dukes for. poofters R bogus.

Sts pow not = For. treats Cust. duties @ other Sts. Go 2 war w/o say please

Art2: Prez 4yrs per Elec Col SAT score VP ditto VP subs. mst b nat born homie 35. Defnds Const & CnC Army Navy Air Force Marines

Prez pow = For. treats w 2/3S yes Appts Cabnt offs Ambs Sup Ct Js DoD brass w S yes Hi Cong Bye Cong St-o-Un add. No smoking.

Art3: Sup Ct rox Treason sux. Art4: Sts R cool Newbie Sts per Cong. Art5: Amend Con=2/3H&S+3/4Sts. Art6: US IOUs cool Const rox No God Squad

Art7: G2G TTFN. 9/17/1787. Bill-o-Rites TK :)

Flame on -church+guns. No GIs n cribz. No frisk w/o ProbCawz Due Pross rox Plea5th Get off my lawn SpeedTrialz w/jur&shystr. Pwr 2 D Peeps.

Twelve little tweets--all that's needed to run the richest, most powerful and most important nation in the world for more than 220 years. There's a message in that, and not just a text message. But we can text it. And let's do so, to a certain well-known someone who is every bit as glued to his cell phone as American teens and their fretfully hovering helicopter parents.

Mr. President, do you think the myriad legislative initiatives and regulatory proposals that spew forth from your administration could stand this test of concision? Will they endure for centuries? Your "reform" of health care, for example? Back in the Cretaceous Age of Hillary, when such law-making was last abroad in the land, the mere outline of the first lady's proposed ordinances and enactments was 1,400 pages long. Drop it on your foot and you'd require every bit of the health care she promised to reform. As for her reformation--that didn't last too long.