October 30, 2008

God Versus the United States of America: A.K.A.: Some Unlawful Bitches Be Crazy

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Are you there, God/G-d/Allah?
It’s me, Lauren.
I know we haven’t spoken in a while (my bad), but let’s not sweat the small stuff. This piece isn’t about my being a bad Catholic. Rather, I just wanna rap to You real quick about some of the absolutely absurd legal rulings that have been a-brewing this past week or so — some of which even include You.
Remember September 2007, the fateful month during which Rep. Ernie Chambers (D-NE) pursued litigation against You, asking to cease and desist Your “acts of terrorism” and “extreme weather” against Nebraskan residents? Well, You can take a big sigh of relief: The suit has been tossed out after a year of deliberation, since they couldn’t track a proper home / mailing address. Bully for you; they felt You couldn’t properly defend yourself, given that they couldn’t subpoena You (despite Your being omniscient and omnipresent and probably knowing about the suit before it even took effect).
The AP reports that Chambers originally filed to make the point that “everyone should have access to the courts regardless of whether they are rich or poor.” I would argue, however, that Mr. Chambers took the words of the 1995 Joan Osborne hit “One of Us” just a little too literally. Though Ms. Osborne asks “[What if God] was just a stranger on a bus trying to make his way home?,” Mr. Chambers failed to see that to get home, you need an address first. Hmm, Ernie? Have I sniffed just another loophole in your crazy-ass litigation?
Well God, maybe You got off easy, but isn’t it about time that worldly justice is served against all deserving parties, regardless of age? All you mortal legalists out there can take a deep sigh of relief: they’ve got you covered in Blue Ash, Ohio. WLWT-5, the local NBC affiliate, states, “An 89-year-old Ohio woman faces a charge of petty theft because neighborhood children said she refused to give back their football.” Crazy? Maybe — but true! How many times, as a kid, did you kick / throw / otherwise toss a ball into someone else’s yard (especially the “mean old lady’s yard”) and ever expect to turn around and press charges? Well, not me, but maybe this family did.
So how exactly did this quarrel escalate to a threat of the slammer? Ms. Edna Jester, the defendant, shares her side: “‘I’m 89 years old and I want a little peace of mind […] This is my life here in this chair, looking out that door, and all I see is playing the ball down and all over and all over. If it doesn’t come in my yard, OK, but if it comes in my yard, I’m going to get it. No trespassing.’”
Well, sure, okay, no trespassing, Edna — no problem there. But the police see it a little differently: Ms. Jester cannot keep the football in an effort to curb further incursions on her lawn. Thus, crackdown on the old ’un! Claiming age and senility to avoid legal action isn’t going to cut it anymore. Shucks! I guess I’ll have to get my kicks somewhere else and reconsider a future in geriatric law breaking.
In terms of breaking the law during the here and now: I know the election’s coming up in just a few days, but come Nov. 4, don’t be like the woman who showed up at an early voting station and passed out drunk with a bottle of vodka tucked inside her elastic waistband. Yes, the liquor stores will be closed all day Tuesday so as to prevent last-minute drunkie-faces trying to cast votes, but they haven’t yet found a way to prevent the people who get rip-roarin’ at home and shield their drunkenness until they pass out in the booth. Yes, it’s illegal to drink and vote (or even be publicly drunk) — but in the event you manage to get through the whole process without being sniffed out, they’ll still count your contribution, provided you finish the ballot and you don’t leave any hanging chads. (Holla, Florida!)
And if you’re voting absentee, well — same deal, I’d suppose. Just don’t spill any beer on the ballot. I don’t think it feeds very easily into the Scantron.

To do your own investigative reporting:
Chambers’ full text litigation [U.S. v. God]: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/files/chambersversusgod.pdf
89-year old woman sued (Let’s show the older folks who’s boss):
http://www.wlwt.com/family/17762641/detail.html
It’s illegal to drink and vote? Really?
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1852102,00.html?xid=feed-cnn-nation

Lauren Herget is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She ometimes writes notes to God instead of paying attention in class. She can be reached at leh39@cornell.edu. Oddly Enough appears in Daze alternate Thursdays.