OATH OF OFFICE

"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."

~ Oath members of both houses of congress must swear (or affirm) before taking office.

Pretty cool, huh?

It seems pretty comprehensive; ensuring that those who would serve this country publicly declare their allegiance to the founding documents, are willing to defend the country against those who would do us harm, will not allow their integrity to be compromised, are not taking this pledge under duress and they promise to do the very best job possible while in office.

What more could we ask?

Well, I can think of one thing -- how about a clause that makes congress promise to put party politics aside. To swear an oath to work with all those in elected office, regardless of ideology, especially the executive branch, towards achieving maximum common good for the nation.

When we have partisans like Mitch McConnell publicly declare that the top priority of the Republicans is to do everything in their power to ensure that the Democratic president only serves one term, or when Eric Cantor walks out of negotiations that cause this country to lose its AAA credit rating, or even going all the way back to the 1990's when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government just because he didn't like Bill Clinton, you know we have a problem.

Don't get me wrong, the democrats aren't angels. But at least they seem willing to work with the other side on big issues. When George W. Bush was president, we heard a lot of whining and complaining from the left, but not once did they organize an effort to obstruct legislation that would help American citizens solely for the purpose of denying the opposing party something they could put on a list of accomplishments. I don't know whether this says more about the republicans being bully's or the democrats being wussies, but it's something we need to fix.

Democrats, against their core principles, "compromised" on numerous occasions with the republicans (The Bush tax cuts, Supreme Court nominations, USA Patriot Act, withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, banning Stem Cell research -- just to name a few). The democrats did this because what you are supposed to do in Washington is... compromise. Everyone in Congress is supposed to work together to craft the best piece of legislation possible. Of course, that pretty much guarantees neither side is going to get EVERYTHING they want, but at least the people should get what they need. Seems like it's 'kind of' what they swore an oath to do. But maybe they're confused and we should do something to help them out. Like clarifying it for them.

I say we make a small yet powerful change to the oath above. That we include a promise to work with the president in good faith and without consideration of political party. Then we need to demand our representatives hold true to this oath... or we kick them out of office. Simple. Sure there are going to be times when ideology will demand that congress splits down party lines. But it should not be done for purely political reasons or to obstruct the party in power from doing the job we sent them to Washington to accomplish. That's not governing, that's being a child.

If congress wants to act like children, then lets treat them like children. When we find one party not playing fair, or not doing their chores, we need to send them to their room without dinner. And if they do not fix their behavior we need to look at more severe forms of punishment. Americans must act like parents and show our elected representatives that if they wish to be treated like adults, then they must act like adults. If they do, there are rewards to be had, like getting an allowance or being re-elected. But if they don't, then there are consequences. Like getting spanked and removed from office.

Words are powerful. And when sworn too, words can have a powerful hold over our actions. I suggest that as long as we have political parties trying to control the actions of our government officials, we need to ensure those parties cannot hold more power than the oath they swore to serve. Here's what I suggest;

"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 bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that to the best of my ability I will in good faith work with the executive branch without regard to political affiliation; 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."

What do you think?

Eric J. Kiser

Eric J. Kiser

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