His Majesty was playing marbles with the cats this morning.

Evidently his shoulder isn’t bothering him as much. The physical therapy has gone better than I expected, and while it leaves his shoulder somewhat sore, his mobility is much improved and the exercises are gradually building strength. It turns out the tear wasn’t that bad after all; full thickness, but only of about 25% of the width of the tendon. Conservative measures may be adequate for such a tear in a Sith of His Majesty’s age. Besides, His Majesty believes he can learn to compensate using the Force, with practice, although he did not see fit to mention this to his physician. (We do not want a spurious diagnosis of dementia on top of everything else.)

Perhaps your thought was that playing marbles with the cats is itself a sign of dementia. I might have thought so, except that my long experience with His Majesty has taught me that various childlike forms of play are his favorite way to rest his mind. Which seems as sharp as ever.

His Majesty has a fancy marble run. It has curved surface, ramps, barriers, and switches that can be rearranged in various ways. You’ve probably seen videos of similar setups. The cats are fascinated by it, and sit around watching attentively and batting at the occasional passing marble. His Majesty will occasionally amuse himself by Force-diverting a marble just as the cat bats at it, causing the cat to go into full predator mode with twitching tail. I have to admit, it’s fun to watch.

It also puts His Majesty into an ebullient mood.

I believe the time is ripe to resume my campaign for the Presidency. Not for the Republican nomination, of course, since Ego Trumptress has that locked up. (Bound and gagged, I should say.)

His Majesty seems unimpressed with the Trump mystique.

Since contrarianism seems to be the order of the day, I think I shall run henceforth as an Anti-Constitutionalist.

Oh, the voters will love that.

Don’t act so surprised, Lord Vader. Anti-constitutionalism has a more distinguished legacy than you might suppose. Why, some of the most influential Abolitionists of the Civil War era described the Constitution as “a covenant with Death and an agreement with Hell.”

I am actually in favor of a limited, constitutional, but powerful government. But I will run on a platform of acknowledging that we aren’t actually following the Constitution any more, it’s pointless to pretend otherwise, and we might as well sweep away the last remnants of the old Republic. Burn it all down!

I will allow those few voters who are actually serious about the Constitution to believe that I am seeking serious Constitutional reform. The rest of the voters are clearly looking for a Strong Man who will give them social sanction to release their anger. And who among the other candidates can touch my record of Kraft durch Zorn?

So, you mean to co-opt the Convention of the States movement?

Why not? It’s essentially what the original Constitutional Convention did. They grossly exceeded their authority when they wrote a whole new Constitution, rather than proposing articles to amend the Articles of Confederation. Of course, since their efforts were subsequently ratified by the states, the question of the actual authority of the Convention is moot.

But that’s not the approach I plan to take. I will do this obliquely, applying some reverse psychology — which is, after all, the essence of the contrarian approach. I’m going to speak against the existing Constitution in no uncertain terms, pointing out its flaws, as if to discredit it — but, really, I’ll be arguing for its proper application. With suitable amendments, of course.

Such as lifetime tenure for the President?

Sigh. Someday you will pay the price for your lack of vision.

Given my present age and condition, two terms should about cover my lifetime anyway. No, I’m simply aspiring now to have my picture on the dollar coin, and to have yet another Monday holiday added to the calendar, in my honor.

But let’s go over the arguments against the Constitution.

It gets off on the wrong foot right away with “We, the people”. The authors of the Constitution were wealthy planters (many of whom owned slaves), lawyers, ex-military officers, clergymen, and the occasional bastard. We’re talking about a corrupt elite. What business did they have speaking for the people?

Ad hominem much?

(placing hands together and looking upward in an attitude of prayer.) “An impure fountain cannot bring forth pure water.”

Then there’s the whole idea of having a Constitution at all. The document is nothing but a long list of restrictions on the ability of the people to govern themselves however they see fit. Why, the Founders had a positive horror of democracy. The document is shot through with it.

Consider that the government is divided into four branches. … No, I haven’t gotten so senile that I can no longer count! There is the executive, who has rather sweeping authority. Yet he is chosen, not by acclamation of the people, like any respectable monarch, but by a college of electors. The people are rather condescendingly invited to decide which of their betters will actually choose the President.  Fortunately, this system has been almost completely subverted by the states, which  have rigged their elections so that the voters no longer even know who the electors are that they are voting for — only that the elector is pledged to vote for a particular candidate for President. Why, it’s even possible that a great many voters do not realize that they do not actually vote for the President.

Ya think?

I actually met the candidates for elector for the Republican Party in my state one year, when through a lamentable show of apathy on the part of the few Republicans who showed up for my local party convention, I was chosen almost by default to represent my little town at the state convention. One of the electoral candidates was an almost stereotypical party hack, whose campaign leaflet was a long essay on the danger of the faithless elector, and whom I am confident would have voted for the Prince of Darkness if He was nominated as the Republican candidate. The other was a 21-year-old college girl obviously looking for an item for her employment resume. It’s a shame I didn’t run for elector this year; I could have made a firm promise to be an utterly unfaithful elector. It might have been amusing.

Then there’s the judiciary — a permanent ruling aristocracy, chosen by a President who is not actually elected by the people, and confirmed by a Senate that was originally also not actually elected by the people. Thank goodness for the enlightened politics of the Progressive movement, which blessed us with the direct election of senators, the income tax, Prohibition, universal female sufference, and the Federal Reserve.

I believe you meant suffrage.

I believe you know me better than that.

The Founders quite carefully ensured that the so-called first branch was actually two branches, often at odds with each other. And only one was directly elected by the people, and it was the less powerful one. The one power that might have given the weaker branch some muscle, the power of the purse, has proved to be almost meaningless — the Senate has shown itself quite capable of bullying the House into amending the living <crude metaphor> out of the spending bills that technically must originate in the House.

Besides, the members of the House have long discovered that their constituents have no problem with the reckless spending of other people’s money.

So, four branches of government, with particular care to divide and weaken the branch most accountable to the people. It’s like they didn’t trust the ordinary voter to avoid doing rash things.

Like nominating candidates of the caliber of Clinton and Trump?

I don’t think bird shot is actually measured in calibers.

Then consider that the Constitution spells out so very little in detail. This is an invitation for creative interpretations of Constitutional limits. It leads to such paradoxes as the fact that certain forms of political speech within sixty days of an election do not enjoy Constitutional protection, while rappers singing about raping women do.

This has led to some important turning points in American history.

I though for a moment that His Majesty was through, because he turned back to his marble run and resumed playing. He was dropping marbles into one of his favorite parts of the run. The marble rolls down a ramp and hits another marble, which ricochets onto an undulating surface. What happens next depends rather sensitively on how the original marble was dropped. The second marble rolls to the top of the hump, where it very nearly comes to a halt. If its energy is not quite enough, it rolls back the way it came. If its energy is every so slightly greater, it rolls over the hump and down a drop to trigger a spectacular cascade of other marble events.

You see, Lord Vader, the courts have become an undulating surface in the great cosmic came of marbles. Cases come before them that are right at the tipping point. The decisions are so delicately balanced; they can turn on a hair. But the trajectories of history diverge so sharply thereafter.

Sometimes it’s not even the actual decision that makes the difference. The decision ending segregation, Brown v. Board of Education, was rightly and wrongly decided at the same time. The outcome (the end of legal segregation) was right, necessary, and proper; it was the opinion supporting the decision that did all the mischief, by appealing to everything but the law. Bork did a pretty good job of explaining how it didn’t have to happen that way.

The real problem with the Constitution, though, is one you theo-conservatives will appreciate: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Since we are no longer a moral and religious people, our Constitution is no longer suitable for us. Nor can it be adequately amended to make it suitable for an irreverent and amoral public: the new cloth will only widen the rent in the old garment.

His Majesty scowled. He had just dropped another marble into his run, and as it was hovering at the turning point, one of the cats had batted at it.

Of course, there is always the unexpected. But perhaps we can turn that to our advantage. No one expects the Sith!

His Majesty cackled and turned back to his marbles.





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