I’m exercising my First Amendment right to comment on the Third Amendment. The Third Amendment, the Rodney Dangerfield of amendments, gets no respect. For example, at last count, the Second Amendment had 11,461 Facebook “likes” while the Third Amendment had a whopping 210. Stifle your yawns. The third isn’t some milquetoast amendment, despite its never having been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision (the Supreme Court is overrated).
Okay lazy people, you don’t have to reduce your screen and search the web. The Third Amendment…
Places restrictions on the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent, prohibiting it during peacetime.
The Third Amendment has caused a rift in my home. I live in a house divided. My wife is a huge supporter. Me, not so much.
I’m already quartering a know-it-all college-degreed millennial in a modest-sized home at the moment. Why wouldn’t I open my doors to a military man or woman as well? Heck, they know how to take orders a lot better than my kid, and unlike my son they are in excellent physical shape. Besides, the lawn needs mowing. The house could use a fresh coat of paint. There’s snow in winter that needs to be shoveled, and the vinyl siding could stand a good power washing. I’d be more than happy to have the help around here. When is the last time I’ve seen anyone dusting?
There is an extra bedroom. My son needs a legitimate role model, someone who wakes up prior to 11:30 a.m. and doesn’t think he (or she) should become a four-star general within two weeks of enlisting. Seems like a win-win.
What was James Madison thinking when he penned the Third Amendment? It was not about the economy, because the amendment limits a golden opportunity. I guess Madison never had a brother-in-law with a real estate license. Think of the economic boom once the ill-advised Third Amendment is repealed. Realtor listings vying to place soldiers in residential homes might look like this:
New listing: move-in condition, bedroom with large closet comfortably accommodates four pairs of combat boots (with room for expansion to house a fifth pair), good neighborhood with lots of flags, Memorial Day parade in town, public transportation to VA Hospital. Framed portrait of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (in uniform) hangs over bed. Canteens provided.
Even Airbnb hosts could get into the act:
Spacious room with camouflage wallpaper and sonar detectors on roof available for immediate occupancy to any military man or woman. Hat stand in hall holds up to six helmets. Rifle racks. Fully stocked library with comprehensive war history reference books and biographies of generals from Grant to Petraeus. Come sing and dance to The Village People’s “In the Navy” with us every Wednesday night.
And lest we forget the good old-fashioned personal ad:
Patriotic family of four (MFMF) seeks M or F soldier for multi-year-relationship. Peace or wartime. Ceasefires included. Father went through ROTC in college. Son is anti-war, but he knows so little. Daughter is…never mind. Extensive kitchen serving Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) field rations daily. Seeking all branches of the military, Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Merchant Marines inquire first.
On the other hand, the last thing my wife wants is another millennial, military or not, residing under our roof. She believes in the Third Amendment and is very supportive of our troops. She just doesn’t want or need any of them living in the same house, eating our food, making a mess and creating dirty laundry. My wife argues, “If a man or woman is mature enough to serve in the armed forces, shouldn’t he/she be mature enough to rent an apartment and live on his/her own?”
My wife also worries about the definition of “peacetime.” Must be that “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” thing. She asserts that I’m perpetually at war with the cable company. Does that count? What about inner peace? Peace of mind? She claims that Madison had deliberately left things vague. My head is spinning.
As stated, I’m against restrictions on the quartering of soldiers in private homes. I freely give consent. Yet, my wife has me thinking: did Madison mean quartering (as in lodging) or quartering (as in drawing and)? And if he meant quartering (as in drawing and), were restrictions lifted if a homeowner chose to quarter (as in draw and) a soldier in a public forum as opposed to his/her private home? Would children be allowed to watch? Is an ongoing war a requisite to quarter (as in draw and) a soldier in public?
Maybe the best thing to do is to combine the aforementioned self-proclaimed winner of the Constitutional Amendment Popularity “Likes” Contest Second Amendment with that of the oft-forgotten third. I’d welcome arms-bearing soldiers quartering in my home. We’d be the safest family on the block! No one would be dumb enough to break into and rob this fortress. Yet, my wife thinks the opposite. “With so many weapons and so many people in close quarters, something bad is bound to happen,” she says. Again. Mars. Venus.
The Third Amendment is simple in its complexity. The more I think about it…if my millennial good-for-nothing son enlisted, he wouldn’t be allowed back in my home, or anyone else’s home for that matter. He’d have to earn his own keep. I’m doing a 180 on the Third Amendment. Mr. Madison, you are a genius!