When you cast your vote or express concern about an issue to an elected official, what are your expectations?
Do you anticipate receiving support and consideration? Is the person you vote for someone whom you wish to represent your needs and your interests? Do you believe an official, paid by taxpayers, is supposed to take action on the behalf of taxpayers?
I imagine that regardless of your and the representative’s party affiliation, you always expect some kind of support. That is why we call our elected officials our “representatives.”
When a person who is elected swears that he or she will preserve and defend our laws, our Constitution and to act on our behalf, we expect loyalty to these ideals and the democratic process.
All Santa Clarita City Council members take an oath when being sworn in to office:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”
What is missing from this and other American oaths of office are any loyalty or fealty to an individual.
During World War II when Nazi officers were sworn in, they took an oath of obedience not to the Reich but to Adolf Hitler himself.
When new British citizens pledge allegiance it is “to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.”
In the U.S., we commit and promise allegiance not to a person but to a set of concepts and ideals in a document called the Constitution.
How awkward it seems if we sub out the term “Constitution” for, let’s say, “Donald Trump.”
While dangerous and even seditious, this loyalty to Trump over law, fortunately, is only temporary. Trump won’t be a political commodity for much longer. His advanced years are clearly revealing cognitive decline and numerous pending criminal and civil actions are about to hit Trump with full tidal force.
More awkward and much more treacherous, however, is if one’s pledge and total commitment is to interfere with the progress and to obstruct the good intentions of the opposition party.
Stopping the other side from doing anything, even if it seems good or worthy, is a misguided and self-serving cause that contradicts democracy itself.
Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell is the Senate minority leader and as so is the most powerful Republican holding public office.
On March 5, McConnell stated, “One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.”
As I have written recently, socialism is “defined as when government or the community as a whole owns or controls the means of production, distribution and exchange.”
Socialism is not moving funds and resources to those who need support. That we call compassion.
McConnell and most Republicans are claiming that to prevent socialism, the Joe Biden administration must be stopped at every turn.
Funny how none of the current Democratic endeavors, such as the pandemic recovery act, the Green New Deal, the infrastructure bill and voting rights act impose no enactments that meet the definition of socialism.
Still, McConnell is simply singing the same song but on a different record.
McConnell under Barack Obama prevented 128 federal judges and a Supreme Court justice from being appointed. During the Obama administration, Mitch also blocked more than 395 House bills from being brought to the Senate floor for discussion and debate.
He bragged about how he stopped Obama from getting anything done.
In his drive to obstruct every attempt to offer ways to improve our lives, prevent resetting the corporate tax rates, and refusal to discuss moving forward with infrastructure investment and the revitalization of the American economy, Mitch carries the same spite and self-righteous recklessness as Trump.
The Grand Old Party is still old, but no longer grand.
Vowing to stop progress for the common good is not only shameful but also shows allegiance only to holding on to power and to a person instead of to our national well-being.
Recognize we are asea in one vessel and that rowing backward while our destination is ahead and offering loyalty to a former captain banished and now ashore could drown us all.
Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations agency, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the COO of an acting conservatory, a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.