From the Living Constitution to the Invisible One

About that copy of the Constitution, the one written in invisible ink, where slander is lawful and silence is a form of self-incrimination, where speech is criminal and suspects must confess their crimes—this is the handiwork not of the Founding Fathers but the handmaiden of Big Brother. This is not the product of Philadelphia, but the paper of a police state. Not a state of justice, but a state of mind; in which what an accuser believes is not only admissible but unassailable; in which what we choose to intuit—be it the blink of an eye or the arch of an eyebrow—is evidence of guilt, despite the absence of physical evidence or the lack of material witnesses; in which the memory of the accuser is photographic, while any attempt to interpret memory is proof of trying to doctor the past and distort the present.

About that copy of the Constitution, whose ratification is the result of the repeal of the Bill of the Rights: Be afraid.

Be afraid of the digital mob, which wages war by assassinating the character of the accused in 280 characters or less.

Be afraid of online graffiti, which does more to deface democracy than any act of vandalism against our democratic institutions.

Be afraid of those who believe our capacity to reason means we no longer behave unreasonably; that it is irrational to think we have irrational thoughts; that we do not say or do irrational things, because no one in his or her right mind wrongly accuses someone of a crime.

To think otherwise is criminal, since it belies the notion of purity: the kind of purity once used to punish innocent blacks, whose very existence was an invitation to execute their men and rape their women—to torture and murder them, to flood the land with their blood and hang the trees with strange fruit.

Be afraid of the visible enforcement of the invisible Constitution.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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