On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified. For the benefit of Rick Perry and people like him who can’t keep lists of more than two items in their head, let’s review:
I. You can say anything you want except “Fire!” in a crowded theatre or “Let’s elect Michele Bachmann President” in a roomful of people with functioning brains; you can peaceably assemble in public spaces to call out the government when it’s acting like a dick, but only between 8am and 8pm Monday through Friday and 9am and 4pm on weekends. (Wisconsinites: don’t forget to pay Gov. Walker his “assembly fee” before you gather.); the press has total freedom, except where riot police are evicting peaceful protesters from a public place with pepper spray, bulldozers, rubber bullets, sound-wave cannons, concussion grenades, dogs, lasers, tasers and/or clubs, in which case IT NEVER HAPPENED.
Special Bonus: The United States is technically neutral on religion, except during prayers in Congress and invocations at inaugurations and at the end of any presidential speech, and also in the Pledge of Allegiance and on your money and…oh, never mind.
II. Guns—Fuck Yeah! (…and bazookas, too, right? Right!)
III. You don’t have to let soldiers in your house. But if they’re offering to clean the place, come on in!
IV. No searches and seizures without a warrant unless the information is gathered via a government-approved, immunized telecommunications company which is paid via your tax dollars to suck up all your communications like a vacuum cleaner and spit it out at the NSA, where an agent will sort through it all, especially your “secret” cache of porn, for which he thanks you kindly.
V. The amendment to invoke when you’ve been naughty.
VI. We Americans have an ironclad, unshakable and inviolable right to a trial by a jury of our peers. Or, y’know, maybe not.
VII. What? Two jury amendments in a row? I’m losing interest in your list, founders.
VIII. No cruel or unusual punishment shall be authorized by anyone except whoever happens to become America’s 20th Republican Vice President.
IX. If the score is tied after nine amendments, we go into extra innings.
X. States don’t gotta do nuthin’ if they don’t wanna, and if you don’t agree then we’re gonna secede. Also known as the “sore loser” amendment.
To quote James Madison: “Eh…they’ll do in a pinch.”