After the Fact: Rights and what’s left


Most of us, particularly those of an age to have been around when they were written, believe we know all 27 of the Amendments to the Constitution. In truth, we may know a few, and only the first lines thereof or the essential intention, as “The right to bear arms.”

Recently, I was “brought up to speed” by a deputy who informed me that he didn’t HAVE to have a warrant to justify entry into my home, and the court upheld his statement. Of course, I checked this out on Google and discovered there are several “provisions,” as “evidence being clearly visible” (which didn’t apply here, there being no “evidence” involved) and more qualifying rhetoric. And, to my amazement, “the Supreme Court says NO right is absolute.”

Maybe it’s time for many of us to get out the old history books to re-learn the full scope of each of the Amendments to the Constitution, keeping in mind that the information contained therein may have been “up-dated” over the years.

More often than not, I find “up-dating” something confusing. Why would you replace a perfectly good communications system as the reliable home telephone with a “cell” phone that gives more headaches than service? I can’t seem to “get ahold of” my daughter (who’s upstairs) but I can “pocket dial” any number of people. My “land line” phone never required “re-charging” while the new phone dies every few days. And, most of all, there is no phone directory for those who now have only cell phones (or I-phones, or whatever the latest is called.) “Put it in your phone” so you have a personal directory, unless you lose your phone or it breaks down completely.

And cars. They all seem to be run by computers whose sole function is to interfere with the dependability of the basic vehicle. It also likes to flash little lights on your dashboard: “Check engine.” The car just came from the shop yesterday. “Low tire.” Maybe on someone else’s car? “Seatbelt not secured.” There is no one in that seat. Your dealer will charge you $100 to turn off a dashboard light: learn to live with it. Make up poems or songs to go along with it or see how many words you can make out of the letters in the message. Desperation, not inspiration, is the mother of most inventions.

I think our friendly neighborhood mechanic, that guy who could fix anything, had one hammer, three screwdrivers and about as many wrenches and everything was always “the right size.” Now, it takes a room filled with tools and gidgets and gadgets and computers and 20 guys to replace the one who worked on our old Plymouth. The reason the guys who enter the Early Iron Show work on their own cars is that most “mechanics” wouldn’t recognize the engine if it had been removed from the chassis.

Remember that saying, “flying by the seat of his pants)? Talk about something that’s been “up-dated”!

A lot of changes made over the years have really made life easier (indoor plumbing and the “Kitchen Magician” – yes, I still have mine!) but an equal number have turned out to be a plague. Take paved highways. Now, they have eight or more lanes in each direction in some places. That means all the relatives can get to your house faster for their summer vacation when it gets too hot in Texas, or wherever. And snowplows mean they can come for the great skiing on Wolf Creek. 

Somewhere, there ought to be a provision to one of the amendments that prohibits visitors from staying longer than three days. And stating they should bring groceries, and leave their bratty kids at home.

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