Bruce Watson: The next Senate debates
LEVERETT — Now that the Senate has debated whether ordinary Americans have the right to own arsenals that can mow down half a neighborhood without reloading, you might wonder what other flash debates are on the docket.
Next month, the Senate will consider removing all stop signs. Ninety percent of Americans favor stop signs but a “vocal minority” is pressing hard for their removal. “Law-abiding drivers already stop at intersections,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, Loon-Iowa. “Criminals never will, so it’s time to respect our rights.”
In June, the Senate will debate whether ordinary Americans have the right to own surface-to-air missiles. Law-abiding missile collectors will flood town meetings, toting missiles and quoting the Second Amendment. Eighty-eight percent of Americans oppose SAM ownership, but “common-sense” arguments are expected to further decay our democracy.
Come July, the Senate will debate whether ordinary Americans have the right to drive on the sidewalk. Lobbying will be fierce, especially from AAAA, the American Association of Aggressive Asses. AAAA spokesmen have been weighing in, posting ludicrous lies on TV and the Internet, and repeating their motto: “The only thing that stops a bad driver on the sidewalk is a good driver on the sidewalk.”
You’ve always wanted to own a tiger, right? And why not? “Did you know the word ‘tiger’ is not in the Constitution?” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, Crazed-Ky. “So how can the federal government tell ordinary Americans they can’t have tigers to defend their homes?” The NPA, National Paranoids of America, notes that tiger owners suffer fewer burglaries, break-ins or visits from in-laws. Once law-abiding tiger owners buy enough senators, debate will begin on personal possession of alligators, grizzly bears, Komodo dragons and giant squid.
In September, the Senate will consider an issue that involves both the First and Second amendments. Do ordinary Americans have the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, then fire weapons in the air? Recent Supreme Court cases have muddled existing laws, forcing the Senate to act. Many town meetings have been interrupted by shouts of “Fire!” followed by semi-automatics carefully aimed at the ceiling. “Emotions are running high on this one,” said Sen. John Kyl, Top Gun-Ariz., “so now is not the time to toy with these important constitutional rights.”
Always wanted to stockpile VX nerve gas in your garage? Sure you have, you’re an ordinary American. But those Stalins in Washington won’t let you, will they? In October, the Senate will debate allowing private possession of the world’s most lethal nerve gas. A proposed amendment would limit VX purchases to 10 gallons but a vocal minority has proposed a compromise. “Once you limit it to 10 gallons, how do you know where to stop?” asked a spokesperson for the National VX Fans of America. Why not nine or eight? We think having no limit is a common-sense compromise.”
Come November, the Senate will take up whether to decriminalize bootlegging, drunken driving (the law-abiding variety), nitroglycerin, shooting yourself in the foot, picking off stray cats with hand grenades and “killin’ folks what do ya awful.” Following flash debates and GOP filibuster threats, all bills are expected to pass.
Finally, sometime before the end of America as you knew it, the Senate will debate your constitutional right to, as SB 112 puts it, “do any goddamn thing you want without any regard to any person, place, thing or society.” A common-sense compromise is expected.
Bruce Watson’s column appears twice a month. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.