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SENTRY JOURNAL » Uncategorized » Finding meaning in an oath

Finding meaning in an oath

Five times in my military career I raised my right hand and took an oath to support and defend the constitution.  Each time was a very special moment for me because I understood the meaning behind the words and the promise I was making to the American people.  You see the oath is not something that should be taken lightly.  When you raise your right hand, you pledge to support and defend a document that was crafted to limit the government’s ability to encroach on individual liberties and rights.  Many elected officials take the same oath or a close version of it when they swear into office.  From Governors to Presidents, each swears an oath to support and defend the constitution.  They are making a promise to the American people that they will not support, create, or enforce laws that undermine the constitution and infringe on the individual rights each of us are born with.  And if any law has been deemed unconstitutional by the federal courts or Supreme Court it’s their duty to the people not to implement or enforce it.  This is the real meaning and commitment behind the oath.

Yesterday Alaska Governor Sean Parnell decided that the oath he took was something more than just words to be recited.  He sought advice from his attorney general on whether implementing and enforcing the federal health care overhaul would violate of his oath of office after a federal judge in Florida ruled that ObamaCare was unconstitutional in its entirety.  You can read the entire story here>>

Some will say this is simply a political ploy by a Republican designed to call out the Obama administration and force their hand.  Other will claim his actions are sincere and he wants to do the right thing.  As for me I believe it’s both.  I do believe he is trying to make a statement and he trying to elicit a response from the administration.  On the other hand I also feel that Governor Parnell believes in his heart that by enforcing a law that has been struck down by a federal judge is in violation of his oath.  Perhaps he has found meaning behind the oath he took.

The real the question is does the oath matter to our elected officials or are they simply words to be recited?  I’m not sure what the answer is.  What I do know is that the actions of the 111th were in direct conflict with the oath they took.  The bills they crafted and policies they supported went beyond the scope of their constitutional authority and they didn’t seem to care.  When Nancy Pelosi was asked by a reported where in the constitution did it give them the authority to force ObamaCare on us, she replied “are you serious?”  She simply didn’t care about the limitations the constitution placed on her and her colleagues which means the oath has zero meaning to her.  A number of her fellow Democrats echoed her contempt for the constitution by making similar statements all through the debate.  They do not respect the document that protects our liberties and limits the power of an imperfect government which means they don’t respect us.  They made a mockery of the oath that I took so seriously when I was in the military.  And for me this is not only a very sad thing but absolutely unacceptable.

We the people need to hold them to their word and the oath they took.  By not honoring their oath they are breaking their promise to each of us with every unconstitutional bill they craft that steals our liberties.  All the Senators that voted against the repeal of ObamaCare even after the Florida ruling do not respect our constitution or the people.  Those that are up for reelection in 2012 need to reminded that there is indeed meaning behind the oath they took; if not for them, for us.

The 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.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!


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  • Karen Howes February 4, 2011 at 5:00 AM

    Wow, thought-provoking words, John.

    Most pols probably don’t even think or care about the words of the oath they take, unfortunately. But for me, like you, an oath is something to take very, very seriously.
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    • John Carey February 4, 2011 at 6:55 PM

      Thanks Karen. It is more than words, it is a promise…a pledge.

  • Steve Dennis February 4, 2011 at 5:28 AM

    I am afraid that most politicians do not even really listen to the words in the oath–they are already thinking about what they are going to do next. Maybe if some of these politicians took the time to really look at the words they are reciting they would take their duties more seriously.
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    • John Carey February 4, 2011 at 6:58 PM

      I doubt it Steve. It takes something that many of these politicians don’t possess…integrity.

  • Bunkerville February 4, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    I wonder how many of Obama and his minions think about or are willing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance

    • John Carey February 4, 2011 at 7:01 PM

      My guess is not many. Most probably feel the pledge is offensive and represents all that’s wrong with America.

  • Jim Gourdie February 4, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Great post, John. As I read your post, I was fantasizing about how great it would be if impeachment charges were brought against those that failed to uphold their oath.
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    • John Carey February 4, 2011 at 7:07 PM

      The constitution authorizes impeachments it’s just not really utilized anymore Jim. It’s not the politically correct thing to do.

  • Forgotten Liberty February 4, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Great post. Unfortunately for our country, most politicians who take an oath to uphold the Constitution, don’t even know that the Constitution says. Thank you for your service in the military.
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    • John Carey February 4, 2011 at 7:17 PM

      Thanks FL for the comments. Most people today don’t realize how remarkable our constitution is. They see it as something that is outdated unable to address the issues we face today. This mindset shows how ignorant they truly are. That government’s march towards tyranny is a natural thing no matter what the age and that the constitution checks that march. That makes the document timeless and applicable for all ages.

  • 5etester February 4, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    John, I’ve taken that oath just as you and I took it the only way possible. I was willing to give my life if, if necessary, in the defense of our country. Politicians aren’t required to sacrifice their lives under oath, but nowhere in it does it say they are simply allowed to attempt to uphold it. It says you swear that you will and that you do it freely. No wiggle room. No mis-interpretation. No I will do my best. Its high time these people paid the price.

    • John Carey February 4, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      Thank you for your service 5etester. In order to hold them accountable people need to wake up and stand up for their liberties again. I’m afraid that will is lost and blind. We must continue to talk to neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers and remind them how special their liberties are.