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Nate Jackson / March 8, 2016

‘I Do Solemnly Swear…’ to What?

Aren’t oaths supposed to be the other way around?

“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.” Several presidential candidates are still campaigning to be the one to take that solemn oath of office next January, as prescribed by our Constitution. Yet Donald Trump is on the stump demanding oaths from his supporters.

Indeed, Trump had people at a rally raise their right hands and repeat, “I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions — if there’s hurricanes or whatever — will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.” And then he immediately reminded them, “Don’t forget you all raised your hands. You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”

Now, surely this is all in good fun, right? In a telephone interview with the “Today” show, Trump said innocently, “[U]ntil this phone call, I didn’t realize it was a problem,” but “I’ll certainly look into it because I don’t want to offend anybody. It’s been amazingly received.” (Doesn’t want to offend anybody? Please. That’s what he lives for.)

We’re not here to draw any comparisons with any other right-hand-raising regimes, but stop and think for a minute: Isn’t this worrisome? There’s no doubt Trump has some devoted followers — we’ve heard hateful, profanity-laced tirades from plenty of them in response to our well-reasoned opposition to Trump. But we’re electing a president, not a king. We’ve endured seven years of a guy who thinks he’s a divine ruler. No matter what or who we’re discussing, we’re going to stand for principle, as we have for 20 years. Even if that means having the audacity to say it’s not the man we owe allegiance to; it’s the Constitution.

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