That's the wording of the oath of office taken by members of Congress, used yesterday as Chief Justice John Roberts "presided over a closed-door ceremony in the offices of the soon-to-be House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, to swear in his staff a day before Republicans are scheduled to take control of the chamber."
I'm linking to the NYT, where the first comment is "did he cry?" Boehner, famously, cries easily, and I think the oath actually is the sort of thing that would move him to tears. Read it. Seriously. Does it reach you in a deep place that gives rise to tears? If not, why not?
How many members of Congress take that oath with mental reservation and purpose of evasion and don't even feel a twinge of conscience when they say those words? How many members of Congress take that oath and it's just words — written more than a hundred years ago — and they don't even have a spark of awareness of what they are promising to do, so the purpose of evasion doesn't even flicker across a synapse?
IN THE COMMENTS: The Crack Emcee says:
And, after all that, you're surprised how I talk about marriage?Strangely, the news that Russ Feingold will teach a course at Marquette Law School got me looking back at a post I wrote in 2005 about a lecture he gave at Wisconsin Law School, and I see that the lecture focused on the congressional oath and I brought up the issue of the marital oath:
I would never have said this out loud, but I couldn't help thinking how interesting it was that Feingold shaped his whole lecture around the sanctity of the oath, when just a few days ago he announced that he was getting a divorce, his second. Was I the only one who thought how strange it was to hear a man piously invoke a passionate fidelity to an oath when he had -- so conspicuously -- gone back on the marriage oath twice?\
But I like Senator Feingold. I do think he's a good man. I don't presume to know what happens to people in their marriages, and I am divorced myself. Nevertheless, he could have discussed his devotion to the Constitution from some perspective other than the fact that he'd sworn an oath. Taking an oath to the Constitution, after all, is not the strongest reason to support it.