An Essay on Oaths and Duty to Country — And How We Are Being Failed Today

The oaths I took upon joining the U.S. military and, later, the Civil Service of the federal government were remarkably similar to the one taken by every senator and congressman. But do members of Congress take seriously those words that they recited? Do they truly accept the responsibilities they supposedly acquired when they swore or affirmed their oaths of office?

The actual requirement for members of Congress to take an oath is derived from this:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

— U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3

You will note that the constitutional requirement above is also required of state legislators, members of the executive branch (which is why I was required to take such an oath upon entering both military and civil service), and the judiciary. (As a side note: attorneys are considered ‘officers of the court’, and thus also take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States)

The oath that these congressional representatives take is:

“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.”

For a member of Congress to openly condone ongoing attempts to overthrow a legitimately elected president is in direct contradiction to that oath. That is an act of commission.

Members of Congress standing by in silence while witnessing such attempts constitutes ignoring that oath. That is an act of omission.

The former likely amounts to treason, or something remarkably close to it. The latter, in addition to being an abject example of pure political cowardice, might very well be considered by some an act of sedition, as it involves abrogating one’s oath to ‘support and defend’ in exchange for political expediency. At a minimum, remaining silent completely disregards the requirements outlined in the oath of office, which is itself disqualifying for the office held.

As things stood on 5 December 2020, an incredible 222 congressional Republicans, a full 89% of the GOP congressional contingent, either publicly supported President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overthrow a free and fair election in contravention of the Constitution of the United States, or have remained silent while those attempts are ongoing. Many more at the state legislator level across the nation have likewise forsaken the duties which they swore or affirmed to uphold.


Two current members of Congress, both senators, are currently in runoff elections in Georgia. They are actively campaigning for votes while simultaneously endorsing President Trump’s attempt to invalidate completely the election conducted by their own state on 3 November 2020. In other words, these two senators are vying for votes in a state in which they are both on record as not respecting the will of the majority of the Georgia electorate. Advocating for an attempt to overturn the collective will of Georgia voters while at the same time seeking to garner the votes of those same citizens is just absolute, mind boggling hypocrisy on an almost unimaginable scale. It is also, as I have already noted, a complete abrogation of their oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

You will note that this essay is not about court challenges, frivolous as they may be. The judiciary are so far taking seriously their oaths, even if the Trump legal team may not. Judges — local, state, and federal — are roundly rejecting unsubstantiated claims unsupported by evidence, as they should. I have full faith that the U.S. Supreme Court will act similarly, and on a unanimous basis.

Rather, this essay references other attempts beyond courts of law. I refer here to conspiratorial attempts to legislatively throw out the election results in multiple states, and substitute for the will of the citizens of those states that of the current occupant of the White House. I contend that this is in direct contradiction to the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. These faithless elected officials must at some point be held accountable. If not by the electorate, then by the law. There is simply no room in a representative democracy for representatives who refuse to protect that democracy.

© R. Doug Wicker All rights reserved:
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