Tag Archives: oath of office

Let’s compare apples to apples

Five days ago, Donald J. Trump posted a message on Twitter that proclaimed for the umpteenth time that his poll numbers are “better” than those posted by former President Obama.

He wrote: Presidential Approval numbers are very good – strong economy, military and just about everything else. Better numbers than Obama at this point, by far. We are winning on just about every front and for that reason there will not be a Blue Wave, but there might be a Red Wave!

The raw polling data can be disputed. However, I feel the need to look briefly at the comparative moments in time of both men’s presidencies.

Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009 while the nation’s economy was in free fall. Banks were closing. Investment firms were collapsing. People were losing their jobs by the thousands daily.

By August 2010, the economy had not yet made the turn, but it was starting to show signs of life. It got so good that Obama was re-elected in 2012 and the jobless rate continued to decline right up until the end of his presidency.

Enter Donald Trump, who took the oath on Jan. 20, 2017. The economy was in far better shape than it was when his immediate predecessor took office.

I give the president credit for the great job numbers that have accrued since he took office. But it’s good to understand that he started with a much higher benchmark than the one Obama inherited eight years earlier.

I just hope that Trump’s damaging trade wars with the EU, China, Canada and Mexico don’t undo much of the good that has occurred. I fear there the damage is beginning to stretch our economy at the seams.

Trump is violating his oath of office

Donald J. Trump took an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution and to protect our system of government from those who would seek to pervert it.

The Russians sought to pervert that government and our electoral process. The FBI got wind of it in real time during the 2016 presidential election and sought to use a confidential informant to get to the bottom of it.

Donald Trump’s response? He now accuses the FBI of “spying” on his campaign. He has lashed out at the FBI for doing its job, for seeking to do the very thing Trump’s oath called on him to do — which is to protect us against foreign interference.

The president has tossed that oath aside. He doesn’t give a damn about it! He doesn’t care that the Russians interfered in 2016 and are likely doing so in 2018; they well might try again in 2020.

Trump’s assertions and allegations against the FBI are virtually unprecedented in presidential history. Imagine for just a moment any president making up conspiracies. How should we react to the notion that our head of state is so dismissive of the FBI that he would put a confidential informant in jeopardy by referring to him as a “spy” empowered by the FBI to do political damage to his campaign?

The president is violating his oath. He is putting this country in the path of potentially grave peril.

Trump is proving a point I have sought to make since he announced his presidential campaign: He is categorically unfit for the office to which he was elected.

Still waiting for sign of hope for Trump

Of all the men who have become president of the United States without my vote, I’ve always harbored hope that they would do the right thing for my country, that they would rise to the occasion.

Until now, that is.

I cannot reach that level of hope and optimism for the 45th president.

Donald J. Trump takes office in 19 days. He’ll raise his hand on a holy book, swear to uphold the Constitution, defend the nation against its enemies and follow the laws of the land.

That’ll be his solemn, sacred promise.

So help me, I cannot yet make the leap that allows me to believe he’ll do all those things.

I’ve voted in 12 presidential elections. I have voted for five men won. Of the men who became president, I have relied on my optimistic nature and my belief in our political system to suspend my own misgivings about them.

I am waiting for that moment to arrive as I watch Donald Trump tweet himself silly over this issue and that. I await that moment when I can actually believe he is giving serious and thoughtful consideration to the myriad issues that await him.

Yes, I hope for the best but as of this moment — on the eve of a new year — I fear for a lot less. I won’t fear for the absolute worst, because the worst is too frightening to ponder.

Happy new year, y’all. Let’s all hang on together.

How about changing the oath of office?

IN THE NAME AND BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, I, John Q. Public Servant, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of county clerk of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.

That, right there, is the oath of office county clerks must take before they can perform their duties on behalf of the people they serve in their respective counties.

In Texas, all 254 counties are governed by state statute, which means the state sets the laws by which county residents — and their elected officials — must abide.

I found it on the Texas Secretary of State’s website. It’s kind of a generic oath that county officials must take. Granted, some county officials take longer oaths, but it must include this particular pledge.

Just as an aside, I attended the swearing in on Jan. 1 of newly elected Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner and the oath she took was tantamount to the “War and Peace” version of the mandatory oath given to county officials.

I mention this oath in light of what Republican presidential candidate — and Texas’s junior U.S. senator — Ted Cruz said about how county clerks “absolutely” should be given the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Texas. He said the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage amounts to a declaration of war on religious liberty.

As I look at this oath, I don’t see any reference to the faith of the person taking it. I see nothing in there that enables the elected official to not follow all “the laws of the United States and of this State.”

I read the oath as requiring that those who take it must adhere to it — to the letter.

A majority of the justices on the Supreme Court has declared that gay marriage is now legal everywhere, in each of the 50 states. That includes Texas.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another GOP presidential candidate, said that we could save a ton of money if we just got rid of the court. I don’t know how serious he was about that suggestion.

Sen. Cruz, though, seems to be dead serious in encouraging county clerks to violate their sacred oath, which does end with “so help me God.”

Hey, let’s just change the oath and have county clerks affirm that they’ll uphold only those laws that do not trample on their religious beliefs.