Time for an MYOB Amendment to US Constitution

Ask pundits what’s newsworthy and you'll get drivel like the Fiscal Cliff, Egypt, and Eric Cantor’s missing IQ. Ask Congress what America needs and its well-heeled minions will say reduced taxes for billionaires, school prayer, unfettered access to assault rifles and thermonuclear devices, and laws ensuring that no adult woman is ever again able to determine her own reproductive fate. Talk to real people and they might voice pie-in-the-desires for things such as better schools, roads with potholes smaller than Rhode Island, Social Security when they retire, modest gun control, and laws that won’t allow corporate fat cats to move their jobs to Banglawagecut. They’ll also tell you they want Congress to stop meddling in other people’s business.

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the 113th Congress to improve schools, save Social Security, take down the NRA, or rebuild American infrastructure, and I know it’s not going to force robber barons to create jobs for Americans. So how about throwing “The People” a bone and enacting a new Constitutional amendment? We haven’t had one since 1992, and it —forbidding Congress to raise its pay when not in session—was a real yawner.  There’s been no thrilling attempt to change the Constitution since the Equal Rights Amendment was trashed in 1983.

Well … any white Republican male can tell you it would have been a fricking disaster to treat women as full adults. Still, given the fact that roughly 11 women voted GOP in the 2012 election, even the GOP might be ready to help women a little bit. How about a privacy amendment? Such an amendment would cross political barriers in unprecedented ways. Liberal lifestyles would get a boost and the self-proclaimed moralists holding the House of Representatives hostage might see it as a “mind your own mistress” bill. Libertarians would jump all over it, as would the Wired Generation.

I propose the following text for the 28th Amendment, which is loosely modeled on the 15th Amendment, which affirmed the voting rights of African-American males:

Section 1: The right of all citizens of the United States to be left alone shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, creed, gender, national origin, or brazenness of act or opinion.

Section 2: Congress shall guarantee equal opportunity for all citizens to be left alone and shall have the power to enforce this article.

I fact, it’s a lot like the 15th Amendment in that it would be a recognition on the part of Congress that the only way to deal with emotional issues is to legislate them out of existence–just like Congressional forbearers decided during Reconstruction.
The 28th Amendment would give every American the right to do what advice columnists have been telling us to do for decades: tell busybodies to MYOB.  (Mind Your Own Business). Deep down, wouldn't you like to tell Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, John Cornyn, John Thune, the I.R.S., and every telemarketer who ever called you at dinner time to MYOB? When members of the Bible Thumper Church of the Bloodstained Redeemer ring your doorbell, wouldn't you love to order them off your property with constitutional authority? 

A properly applied 28th Amendment could eviscerate conflict over Internet porn, abortion rights, gay marriage, and dirty art. The bill implies a total separation of public and private realms and gives citizens complete free will in the latter sphere. If Lady Gaga wants to touch herself suggestively with a chainsaw, or have sex with a herd of elk while spewing obscenities, that's her business.  And if we want to log on to watch, that’s ours. We can be—as 2 Live Crew once put—as nasty as we want to be. As for smut in public arenas, no problem. The public/private split would allow promoters to hire a hall and convert it to a private facility for the duration of the contract, much like some towns rent school auditoriums and stadiums for religious revivals, or close town halls for weddings, DAR fundraisers, and Elks functions not involving Lady Gaga. You could do whatever you want at local clubs and owners would be free from prosecution so long as they don't kidnap teens from the street and force them to dance to filthy rap music at gunpoint.            

Can you imagine? We could even heal America’s divisive abortion debate. It would upset those members of the GOP that want to insert probes into women’s uteruses, but they’d just have to get used to  that and any other objectionable” acts women might perform. But first a little PR campaign to get everyone on board. Recruit Monica Lewinsky to go on the lecture circuit and tout the fact that Section 1 of the 28th Amendment guarantees every American’s right to perform oral sex on any public official of his or her choosing. That would have saved Larry Craig’s career, possibly enough to garner the support of Republican “moderates” (unicorns, griffins, and other mythical creatures). Of course, the tradeoff is that the same wording also protects the right of women to have abortions, as long as they don’t take place in public. By the way, Section 1 would also protect Barack Obama’s right to be publicly black–another thing conservatives will just have to suck up.

The sticking point is what to do with violators. There are some people–like much of the Tea Party–who simply can't mind their own business. We must enforce MYOB rights, as Section 2 stipulates, but it seems cruel to fine or imprison those with obvious psychological maladies. Creative alternative sentencing could come to the rescue. Busybodies convicted of violating the 28th Amendment can be ordered to take in film crews from 60 Minutes, a special prosecutor, and People Magazine subscribers. They would live in the homes of transgressors, scrutinize their past, and reveal embarrassing details on The Jerry Springer Show until an expert panel of bloggers, Internet chat-room ranters, and supermarket tabloid readers deems the violators too boring for further comment.

As time goes on, other incendiary issues can be doused by the 28th Amendment.  Given freedom to do, view, and consume what they wish in private, Congress and pundits might actually address the problems ordinary citizens think are important. But little can happen until we learn to respect one another's right to be left alone. Some readers might wonder about me. Am I a left-wing crazy? A bat-shit libertarian loco?  A mush-headed New Age flake?  A pot-crazed lunatic?  MYOB!

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