31. If only the Founding Fathers drank less

If only James Madison and Thomas Jefferson had not gotten so drunk that night. America might have a clearer path forward on freedom of speech.

Their midnight meeting at a tavern was occasioned by an earlier rant by Alexander Hamilton. “It'll make us a nation of pansy-assed whiners!” Hamilton had exclaimed of the First Amendment. "People'll spout off about whatever they want."

"Calm down Zander," Madison soothed. “We need a Bill of Rights to get the Constitution ratified. Compromising on slavery simply isn't enough."

"We could always move it down in rank, say to Eighth place in the Bill of Rights," Jefferson suggested helpfully.

Oscar Wilde & Shakespeare — To think or not to think

“Damn belly-achers! America is doomed!” Hamilton slammed his hand against the wall and exited abruptly, muttering something about invading Rhode Island if it didn't queue up in the ratifying line, and soon.

The two remaining revolutionaries decided to strengthen the Bill of Rights' freedom-of-speech protection in anticipation of a Hamiltonian attack at the next day's Constitutional Convention.

"That's the ticket," Jefferson agreed with Madison. "Tack on a Part B to the First Amendment, explicitly guaranteeing the right to complain as loudly and often as possible."

"But," he added, "let's move the right to bear arms up to second place so there's a natural flow."

At Madison's quizzical expression, he explained, "The right to complain is a key protection against people picking up guns. Shooting off your mouth is a good substitute for shooting off a few rounds."

Jefferson whipped out a quill pen and the bottle of ink that was a constant companion of his coat. “Here's how I think it should read,” he explained.

At that very moment, Sam Adams slammed a 12-pack of beer down on the table between them. “I think I've finally perfected the recipe!” he exclaimed. “Tell me what you think.”

Alas. The lost opportunities of history.


WRY GUYS TEE — Ben Franklin on Democracy

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Wry Guys Tee — Ben Franklin on Democracy — Founding Fathers

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