Here’s the thing:
Before they are allowed to take a seat in the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate, every single member is required to take the following oath:
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). (They don’t actually have to swear to God, because, well, the Constitution actually forbids it)
In other words, every member of Congress, before they can be seated, must promise God (or whatever they believe in) and the people of this country that they will faithfully protect and defend the Constitution, and to pledge “true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution.
Is it really too much to expect them to understand what they are swearing an oath to do? It never used to be a problem, but really, lately, more and more politicians (almost exclusively Republican, of course) don’t seem to have even the slightest idea what they swore an oath to do. They accuse people of crimes without even any probable cause, they don’t seem to understand what “equal protection of the laws” is about, they seem to believe they can pick and choose which Supreme Court rulings they might follow…
It just makes you wonder.
This is not a new thing; for many years, I’ve wondered why we don’t hold them to a reasonable standard. They write laws like the now-defunct Defense of Marriage Act, which actually contained language that directly contradicted the Full Faith and Credit Clause, nearly word for word and they keep trying to outlaw abortion, despite the fact that doing so violates the Constitution. And really; the President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, which they insisted that Democrats remember with reverence when George W. Bush was in charge, but now that Obama is in charge, they undermine him every chance they get. I mean, freshman congresscritter Tom Cotton actually wrote a letter to the Iranian leadership, while the President was negotiating an arms deal, and the Republican leader invited Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress by doing an end around the executive branch.
I remember a few years ago, when Obama’s Justice Department was preparing to to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City, and Idiot Republican Representative Michele Bachmann actually put out a prepared statement that said, in part:
“The decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City and give him all the benefits and perks reserved for American citizens is a slap in the face of the 9/11 victim’s families, the American people, and the men and women who risk their lives to defend our liberties each and every day.”
How is it possible for someone to live in the United States for 53 years (this was 2009), and serve in Congress for 9, and believe that a fair trial is a “benefit” or “perk”(sic)? Besides the fact that the 14th Amendment guarantees all “persons” the same rights, not just citizens, the simple fact is, either we believe in a fair trial or we become a lesser nation. I have no problem if she objected to his being tried in New York; reasonable people had a problem with that. But she apparently didn’t think he should be tried at all. And if she thinks it’s a “benefit” or “perk”(sic) for him, what about other people.
Last week, a Mississippi Judge, of all people, suggested that “innocent until proven guilty” isn’t really a thing, and that being charged makes one a criminal. (Source) This is a notion that should strike fear in the heart of anyone who cops don’t like and wish to charge with a crime, whether you did it or not. And look at Trey Gowdy, Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz, who run hearing after hearing, going over the same things repeatedly and apparently, now, manufacturing evidence.
We continue to see this coming from the GOP on a daily basis, especially when it comes to immigration and their supreme fantasy, that they can just gather up all the brown people (and probably most black ones) and “send them back where they came from. Thankfully, rights are not limited to just those certain Republicans approve of.
Now, how is it possible for someone to make a valid promise to uphold the Constitution and to “bear true faith and allegiance” to it, if they have no clue what the Constitution actually says and what it means? I mean, I get that the dipshits in the Republican “base” don’t have a clue that the Second Amendment doesn’t mean they can own any gun they wish and carry it anywhere they want, but they’re uneducated morons, and whatever they do for money is probably not dependent on knowing the Constitution.
However, those who serve in elected office should definitely know what it says. Put it this way; the immigrants who actually become citizens have to know what it says, so the people who work for them and promise to defend it should know, too. I propose that all candidates for federal office be required to take an exam before they can even qualify to be on the ballot. And I mean ANY federal office, up to and including for president. Now, we can’t stop them from running if they fail, but their Constitutional certification should be prominently displayed everywhere. If someone like Ben Carson fails it, a big red F should appear clearly on every ad.
Unfortunately, we can’t hold those running for state office to the same standard, but when the people see how much better federal officials seem to understand the country’s founding document, maybe they’ll pressure their state to follow suit.
The existence of such a test may put the Republican Party at a disadvantage for a short time, but I’m sure they’ll catch up, when they get rid of the wingnuts. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that politicians who swear an oath understand that oath, do you?