Drawing on the insights he gained growing up as part of a “line of farmer politicians,” Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman gave the closing speech at the Radio and Television Correspondents dinner this week.
Declaring himself a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull-Moose party, Offerman cracked wry jokes about Eric Cantor, the Supreme Court and his own mustache before moving on to some basic lessons on the U.S. Constitution. “I feel like we, as a country – present company included – are a little unclear these days about the first 10 amendments, so if it’s all right with you, I’m going to run us through a brief Bill of Rights refresher course,” he told the crowd.
“The First Amendment, for example, guarantees freedom of speech. But freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism. That confusion is just one of the many things that Fox News and Donald Sterling have in common. Just because the government can’t punish you for saying something stupid, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t. And we will. We as a country enjoy punishing people for saying stupid things. That, fireworks and the missionary position are basically the three most American things I can think of.”
While noting his own fondness for hunting, Offerman made some particularly trenchant points regarding the Second Amendment and open carry laws. “The Second Amendment protects our right to own guns, specifically so that we can defend our country from invading armies, or from our own government, should a king end up taking over things and trying to make things more royal around here,” he said. “The Second Amendment is not there to protect our right to intimidate the teenage cashier at Chipotle.”
Moving down the list of amendments, he speculated that perhaps the NSA had spilled barbeque sauce on its copy of the Fourth Amendment, and noted that the Fifth Amendment is mostly something for people to invoke during the second half of Law and Order.
Parks and Recreation will return for its seventh and final season next year.