An oath of office is an affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, and it is typical to believe the person taking the oath not only intends on fulfilling that “affirmation,” they actually comprehend what they are swearing to uphold. It is increasingly evident that since the American people twice elected an African American man as President, Republicans not only have no intent in fulfilling their oath of office, they may have no idea what they are swearing to support and defend. This is particularly true, once again, now that Republicans are questioning the need for the United States government to pay all its debts; something that the Constitution prohibits legislators to do.
Every congressional representative is mandated by the U.S. Constitution to take the oath of office before they can serve in either the House or Senate. At the start of the current session of Congress, every Republican stood and repeated that, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
As it turns out, even the religious Republicans who appealed to their god for “help” in supporting and bearing true faith and allegiance to the Constitution are making plans to violate the document as has been their wont since Barack Obama was elected President. The latest unconstitutional stunt is a repeat of the Republican 2011 debacle that cost America its first credit downgrade and a few hundred billion dollars in increased interest expense. As reported here a couple of days ago, House Republicans are once again making arrangements to make limited debt payments to teach Americans exactly how Republicans define “responsibility” they preach is what the people lack. It is noteworthy to remind Americans that the ratings agency downgrading America’s stellar credit said it did so on the grounds that Republicans actually questioned whether America really has to pay its debts; a lion’s share for the two unfunded wars and tax cuts for the rich at Republicans hands.
Now, there is no dispute on whether refusing or questioning the need to raise the debt ceiling or not paying the nation’s debts is Constitutional or not. According to the 14th Amendment, Section 4, “The validity of the public debt of the United States shall not be questioned.” As if the Founding Fathers foresaw that in the 21st Century a cabal of racist conservative legislators would balk at or question paying the nation’s debts because an African American was twice elected as President, they included in Article 1, Section 8 the task assigned to all members of the federal legislature. Section 8 says, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” and “to borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
It could not possibly be clearer that Republicans even questioning whether or not they have to pay the nation’s debts is a blatant violation of the Constitution as well as their “so help me god” oath to “support and bear true faith” to the law of the land. Actually, the idea of a “debt ceiling” is, in and of itself, unconstitutional and nothing but an unconstitutional legislative construct that is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Obviously, Republicans were well aware of Article 1, Section 8 and the 14th Amendment when white Republicans were president, so their actions now and in 2011 were borne of racial animus aimed at Barack Obama. However, since Republicans were able to “question the full faith and credit of the United States” four years ago with impunity, except for the credit downgrade and billions in added interest expense the people are paying, they are more than willing to repeat their performance.
If this was the first time Republicans in Congress violated the Constitution one might tend to put it down to drunken revelry or childish petulance, but it is not the first, second, or even third time. At the start of this legislative session with control of Congress, Republicans passed unconstitutional legislation that superseded Executive Branch authority to benefit a foreign corporation, the Koch brothers, and Speaker of the House John A. Boehner. The construction permitting process for TransCanada’s climate devastating KeystoneXL pipeline is the purview of the Department of State that is within the Executive Branch; not the legislature, the Kochs, or a foreign corporation. Still, Republicans disavowed their oath of office and attempted to seize Executive Branch power and approve TransCanada’s permit without the State Department’s input.
It is exactly the same case with the President’s authority over, and executive action on, immigration enforcement. Despite that the conservative Roberts Supreme Court already ruled that the Executive Branch has authority over immigration enforcement, Republicans have attempted to move mountains to block President Obama’s executive action that every president since, and including, Dwight D. Eisenhower enacted without Republicans taking them to court or throwing childish fits.
Besides the current “questioning the nation’s debt,” Republicans have attempted to block the head of the Executive Branch’s authority to set foreign policy. Not only is attempting to supersede the Executive Branch authority to set foreign policy a constitutional violation, Republicans violated their swear to god oath to “bear true faith and allegiance” to the U.S. Constitution because their true faith and allegiance is to a foreign nation and its head of state.
There are various other ways Republicans are violating the Constitution whether it is writing legislation to establish religion or actively working against the general welfare of the United States by conspiring with an alleged Iranian enemy to provoke a war. If Americans were not so inherently stupid, and had even a rudimentary comprehension of the Constitution, they may force special elections to recall the Republicans who are anxious to violate the Constitution while an African American man is in the White House, but Americans are not close to being smart enough to take that route.
Two days ago the Justice Department announced it was going to start giving extra attention to investigating and prosecuting “white collar crime;” apparently to hold Wall Street bankers accountable for their malfeasance. However, after four years, and counting, of Republicans deliberately, and with malice aforethought, violating their oath of office and the Constitution, it is time for Republicans to be prosecuted and thrown out of office. They certainly do not have to be investigated because their unconstitutional acts have been very public and very costly to taxpayers. However, the Obama Justice Department will not even prosecute clear acts of sedition against federal agents fulfilling their Constitutional mandate, or the numerous Republicans praising armed vigilantes training firearms on federal officials, so it is useless to even think Republicans violating the Constitution will ever be brought to justice; it is why they continue unabated violating their oath of office and the U.S. Constitution with impunity.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.