Ugh - Proposals for Loyalty Oaths

Arizona is generally more intelligently managed, at least fiscally, than California.  But while that state still is treated seriously for all its dysfunctionality, Arizona is often a media laughing stock.  This is in large part due to the fact that Conservatives in the Arizona legislature just can't seem to stop themselves from proposing a few absurdly goofy pieces of legislation each session.

House Bill 2467, sponsored by Republican state Representatives Bob Thorpe, Sonny Borrelli, Carl Seel, T.J. Shope, and Steve Smith, proposes the following:

"Before a pupil is allowed to graduate from a public high school in this state, the principal or head teacher of the school shall verify in writing that the pupil has recited the following oath:

"I, _________, do solemnly swear 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 these duties; so help me God."

Smith and Shope are also in on House Bill 2284. Whereas current Arizona law says students in public schools can opt out of doing the pledge if they so choose, Smith's and Shope's proposal says only a child's parents can let them avoid reciting the pledge.

So they want to make it harder to opt-out of the current loyalty oath (Pledge of Allegiance) and then add a new loyalty oath.

Historically, loyalty oaths are the hallmark of dictators, the Caesers and Hitlers of the world.  In a free society, loyalty is earned by a government.  When government officials demand a blank check in the form of a loyalty oath that pledges allegiance no matter what the government does, watch out.

A few other observations:

  • I love the part in the oath above that says "I take this obligation freely."  Sure.  We won't give you the diploma you have in every other way earned without taking the oath, a diploma practically required to function in our society, but the oath is voluntary.  This is the kind of double speak that is a hallmark, along with loyalty oaths, of a dictatorship.
  • Apparently to graduate in Arizona, this would force every student to acknowledge the existence of God
  • I understand what it means for the President to preserve and defend the Constitution.  But what does it mean for the average high school graduate?  Just what is this obligating them to do?  And what is the penalty for not doing it?
  • I would gladly trade having all high schoolers in the state embrace this oath for simply having our state officials, in particular our Sheriff Joe Arpaio, being true to this oath.
  • Jes

    Coyote, You missed the point completely, It is an oath to defend the supreme law of the land against a tyrannical government..

  • Paul

    My son was born in UK and I always thought it a bit odd that he had to pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states. I've been here for 30 years but still only have a green card and I'm still not sure what is most appropriate to do when I'm expected to sing the national anthem (at least I know the words by now!)

  • bigmaq1980

    Silent respect will serve just fine I suppose.

  • bigmaq1980

    If the students had not already absorbed enough about history and about the rationale behind the Constitution, an oath is less than useful, as it just makes the whole production seem artificial and something to be loathed or ridiculed.

    This won't fix any problem they perceive they are resolving.

    Your last point hits one thing clearly "Do as I say, not as I do" behavior with many of our leaders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.slyfield Matthew Slyfield

    Sounds like it's based on the oath of enlistment for the US armed forces.

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/oathofenlist.htm

    I, (NAME), 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; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United
    States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to
    regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

    It's identical except that and that

    I will obey the orders of the President of the United
    States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to
    regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    Gets replaced with

    that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or
    purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these
    duties

  • Matthew Teague

    You know, if you taught the Republican behind this that the pledge of allegiance was written by an ardent socialist in part to make money selling American flags to schools, his head might explode.

  • MingoV

    "I take this obligation freely."
    I was hired by the Veterans Administration in 2003. I was told that a pre-hiring urine drug test was voluntary. But, anyone who refused would not be hired. When I was filling out my new hiree paperwork, I encountered a six-page form asking for data on many of my relatives, previous supervisors, and past and current neighbors. This was for the background check. It said completion of the form was voluntary. But, anyone who didn't complete it would be fired when the background check was begun.

    Governments have bizarre definitions of "free" and "voluntary."

  • Karl Gallagher

    Matthew - it's based on the Army officer's oath. Which is a bit ominous. Effectively it's inducting them all into a militia. Odd for a place that doesn't even have a state defense force.

  • bigmaq1980

    Nuspeak....includes other terms like "investment", "tax expenditures", etc.

  • http://profiles.google.com/maruadventurer john mcginnis

    Hmmm. I think some heads would explode if they read the oath for natuarlized citizens....

    "I hereby declare, on oath,

    that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;

    that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

    that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;

    that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;

    that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

    So not only do you pledge but you also agree to national service if called upon in ANY capacity.

  • LarryGross

    This kind of thing pretty much symbolizes the right in this country these days. It's not really the specifics embodied in this particular bill - but the motivation behind the proposal itself - and other similar to it.

    Most people who live here - love this country - in myriad ways that truly show how trivial such "forced allegiances" are but again, one has the think about why another person would want to force such a statement in the first place as a condition of graduating.

    It's not like in Arizona they don't have other serious pressing issues that need attention, either.

  • Tim

    The kind of tyrannical government that would require an Oath of Fealty?

    Also: "In 1943 the Supreme Court... ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette ... [concluded] that "compulsory unification of opinion" violates the First Amendment." So, good luck with this....

  • Jon

    Being a voluntaryist, there is no way I would sign up for this oath. And if you are religious, isn't this worshiping false idols, i.e., the power of the state?

  • Brian

    "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic"

    Since the US Constitution is document that only outlines the roles and powers of the national government and declares anything not explicitly granted to that government remains a right of the people and of the states, is this oath not declaring that the student will support and defend that document against every national government functionary that does not follow it?

  • Che is dead

    If that were enforced, they would have to shut down almost every college and university in the country. Good luck with that.

  • Che is dead

    Please, don't confuse Warren and the rest of the multicultural, "citizen-of-the-world" chest-beaters.

  • Che is dead

    You mean that citizenship actually includes responsibilties as well as benefits? What's next?

  • Che is dead

    Don't worry, there will be no oaths or pledges once the true socialists take over. There will, however, be some re-education.

  • Che is dead

    Doesn't bother Warren:

    With Revolutionaries 'Looking On,' Teachers Take Kids on a Protest Trip to Arizona
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/09/la-teachers-students-arizona-protest-road-trip/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+foxnews/latest+%28Text+-+Latest+Headlines%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

    Tucson Citizen: Raza studies gives rise to racial hostility
    http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2008/05/21/85853-guest-opinion-raza-studies-gives-rise-to-racial-hostility/

    Bothers Warren:

    Oaths to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dansherman Dan Sherman

    Ha! The re-education began long ago...

  • John David Galt

    Loyalty oaths are only the tip of the iceberg. Of course they don't make anybody more loyal. Ethics courses don't make lawyers and accountants less likely to commit crimes, and going to church every Sunday doesn't make any adult behave better.

    But as stupid feel-good laws go, all of the above at least have the virtue of being harmless, except for the time (and in some cases money) wasted on complying with them.

    If the politicians want the rest of us to become more loyal to them, they can start by being worthy of it -- by complying with their own oaths a lot better than they do now, and by abandoning policies that make them the enemies of most of us.

  • Eris Guy

    I find it curious that laughing-stock level laws are taken as bold, serious advances in human rights when proposed by liberals (e.g., banning sixteen ounce sodas), while proclaiming fealty to the Constitution is laughable.

    This oath is, of course, the oath that must be sworn by every person to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Why should the natural-born be exempted? Instead making a high school diploma conditional upon taking the oath, it should be required to be spoken to vote.

  • LarryGross

    just FYI - the "oath" is to uphold the Constitution and it's designated processes for governance - which includes laws and regulations - not liberal or conservative ideology.

    we had "liberals" and "conservatives" back when the Constitution was written and the idea that the Constitution allowed laws and regulations per the wishes of an elected body - was not thought of in terms of "liberal" or "conservative" but rather how "governance" would work in a representative government.

    Now, suddenly, hundreds of years later, laws and regulations are "evil liberal concepts" as if the Constitution itself was done wrong.