Posted by: Jim | January 22, 2009

Oaths and Superstitions

Wednesday night, President Obama (wow that sounds nice) retook the Oath of Office. Many people heard the flubbed lines and thought Obama messed up—he didn’t. Chief Justice Roberts screwed up the oath, and President Obama paused because he knew it, and he was wondering whether he should repeat it correctly, or be polite and read it as Roberts said it. He took the polite path, took the Oath incorrectly, and now yesterday they did a “do over” just in case.


But here’s the line in the article that stuck in my craw:


The president said he did not have his Bible with him, but that the oath was binding anyway.


Oh really? Was it now? Thanks for clarifying. I might not have known. I suppose it might be a good thing that a Bible wasn’t used, but that line rubbed me the wrong way.


But here’s the other thing about the Oath that bothers me: it is meaningless. George W. Bush took this same Oath to protect and uphold the Constitution and ended up defiling the Constitution like it was a two-dollar hooker. The Oath is meaningless except that it gives people the illusion that someone is now saying something that they really really really mean. Well, when a politician says something that he really really really means, that’s a signal that he is probably lying. Manipulative people learn early in life that is you say “I’m telling you the truth,” that 95% of people will believe that you actually are.


The Oath of Office is play acting for superstitious and fuzzy-thinking people. What matters is The Law. And if that Law is not enforced, then even The Law’s meaning becomes eroded.



  1. Agreed.

    The reason Cheney could not be President is that the sight of The Bible bursting into flames as he touched it would be a giveaway.

    I say – forget about putting a hand on the good book and go with the polygraph.

  2. Also, nowhere in the Constitution (that thing G.W. peed all over) does it state one must use a bible to be sworn in as President. He could have used Grimm’s Fairy Tales if he wanted….oh, wait… that’s the same thing! 🙂

  3. Funny. The first reaction I always have to someone looking me straight in the eye and saying “Trust me” is “(S)he’s a liar for sure”. I find it strange that so many would tend to be comforted and reassured by the statement.

  4. Every single U.S. President has taken an oath, and every single U.S. President has failed in one aspect or another. To single out GWB is shallow thinking. Your issue still seems to be with GWB, and less with the oath. It’s obvious.

    It doesn’t bother me which book the President places his hand on and swears “So Help Me God.” It could be The Hardy Boys and the Yellow Feather Mystery. The words are what matter, not the icon.

    And I know you know, but Obama will also fail in some regard. That is, if the media will let him.

    Obamamania is alive and well, people.

  5. Todd,

    I didn’t single out GWB–he singled himself out by rapaciously disregarding the Constitution. You are wrong that every President failed to keep the oath. Those SOUND like logical words, but the onus is on you to prove it. Please tell me how the other 43 Presidents broke the laws of the Constitution.

    Good luck.

  6. I would agree that the oath is not as important as the actions and that the law is the most important. Why take an oath if it doesn’t really matter, tradition? If a president breaks his oath what are the consequences?

    You’ll probably love this softball question, but what exactly (facts) did GWB do to disregard the Constitution?

  7. Todd, classic right-wing play, absolve Bush by saying everybody else did it. Or just “Clinton did it!” of course.

  8. Swinging at first pitch: avoiding FISA court procedings to approve warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. Violation of the fourth amendment.

    First swing: Home run!

    I’m Babe Ruth, man! Want more??

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