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.