Juggling Act: Comic’s Work Leads to New Bill of Rights Monument in Phoenix
Posted Dec 13, 2012 7:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Two weeks ago, juggler and stand-up comedian Chris Bliss was doing a comedy routine on a Caribbean cruise ship. On Saturday, Bliss will be in Arizona to see the culmination of an idea that began with one of his comedy routines—a monument to the Bill of Rights.
The monument will be dedicated near the Arizona state capitol, report the National Law Journal and the New York Times. It consists of 10 limestone monoliths, each featuring the words of the 10 amendments. According to the Times, "each slab is undulating and unique—the First Amendment resembles the tip of a key; the Second Amendment, a pregnant woman’s profile."
Bliss decided to back a Bill of Rights monument several years ago as part of an effort to rise above the culture wars. In his comedy routine, Bliss noted battles over the display of the Ten Commandments on public land and suggested a Bill of Rights monument would “let the people comparison shop.”
He began to take the idea seriously. Bliss started a website, MyBillOfRights.org, and sought funding for his idea. He raised more than $100,000 through a benefit concert that included well-known comedians and civil rights pioneers.
Bliss explained his motivation in an April interview with the Arizona Capitol Times. “You know, we have the ACLU and the NRA both under this umbrella called the Bill of Rights,” Bliss said. “This is the perfect thing to be rising up again and say, ‘Look, our common ground is our strongest ground.’ Our greatest accomplishments have been when we’ve lived up to these principles, and our greatest failures have been when we ignored them as a nation.”