Thursday, January 22, 2009

...and on we go

President Obama re-took the oath of office with Justice Roberts yesterday, in private. I can only assume it was to avoid any kerfuffle about the 'wrong oath' and to fulfil the ritual requirements of inaguration for personal reasons. Just to get it right (and to silence the critics who say it wasn't valid).

And you know what? A few of the nutjobs are back -- now they are claiming that the oath wasn't valid because he didn't take it with his hand on a bible.

Let's get a little clarification here. First off, they argue that by saying 'execute faithfully' vs 'faithfully execute' (with a split infinitive no less), he didn't take the oath as specified in the Constitution, and thus it is not valid and he's not rightfully president. They are apparently ignorant of the fact that Obama is president, legally and lawfully whether he says the words or not, whether he says the right words or not. His term began as 12:00, when the previous president's term ends. Period. He was elected. Everything that he has done since that time is valid, legal, and permitted. (See Amendment 20: The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January...; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.) There is no need, as some news people have suggested, that he needs to RE-validate what he's done up until the point when he retook the oath.
But there is another issue here, that they are ignorning (and which falls in line with the new complaint of no bible at the oath). Wait, I thought the argument was that he hadn't been a stickler for the rules as set forth in the Constitution. Right? Shouldn't they be arguing that the oath, as administered, is still wrong?

Here you will find a copy of The Constitution of the United States, in it you will find that the oath taken by Obama is not the oath contained in said Constitution.
Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States."
You will notice that the words "So help me God" are not there. They are not part of the "official oath". So, even if he repeated the oath word for word from Roberts, Obama still hasn't said the 'right oath" -- don't hear the wingnuts complaining about that. Can you imagine the hysterics if a President ommitted them?

The National Archives says George Washington added the words "so help me God" when he took the oath at his 1789 inaugural, and most presidents have used it since. However, some have argued that the first eyewitness account of a president using those words came at President Chester Arthur's inauguration in 1881. I have no problem with adding it -- a devout person affirming or swearing on their belief in god is fine. It is meaningful to them, regardless of how meaningless it is to me.

But now to freak out about the fact that no bible was used in the repeat of the oath starts to stray into different territory. If they're so concerned with being 'true' to the contitution (and for some of them, I wonder if they are familiar with it at all), then they should know that there is no mention of the bible for the oath in the constitution. They should drop the 'so help m god', and be done with it. If they want to be consitutionally accurate, that is.

They should reacquaint themselves with the fact that the only real mention of religion in the Constitution is this:
Article VI, 3: ...but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
I thind the whole thing is a non-issue, really. Bible, no bible, split infinitive or no split infinitive. It makes no difference except to fill airtime on the hundreds of news shows. My real interest is the swirl of conjecture, conspiracy theory, and nutty ideas that are being floated out there. It's fascinating and irrational and amusing.

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