Obligations of Citizenship in America
Loyalty Oath and Bond
An array of provisions in constitutions and laws require public officers and employees to swear oaths to support the constitution, and in some cases to qualify for and perform the duties of the office. Consider the following prominent oath obligations.
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US Constitution Article VI Clause 3
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.
4 USC § 101 - Oath by members of legislatures and officers
Every member of a State legislature, and every executive and judicial officer of a State, shall, before he proceeds to execute the duties of his office, take an oath in the following form, to wit: “I, A B, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
Florida Constitution Article II Section 5. Public officers.—
(a) No person holding any office of emolument under any foreign government, or civil office of emolument under the United States or any other state, shall hold any office of honor or of emolument under the government of this state. No person shall hold at the same time more than one office under the government of the state and the counties and municipalities therein, except that a notary public or military officer may hold another office, and any officer may be a member of a constitution revision commission, taxation and budget reform commission, constitutional convention, or statutory body having only advisory powers.
(b) Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of (title of office) on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.”,
and thereafter shall devote personal attention to the duties of the office, and continue in office until a successor qualifies.
(c) The powers, duties, compensation and method of payment of state and county officers shall be fixed by law.
Florida Statute 876.05 Public employees; oath.
(1) All persons who now or hereafter are employed by or who now or hereafter are on the payroll of the state, or any of its departments and agencies, subdivisions, counties, cities, school boards and districts of the free public school system of the state or counties, or institutions of higher learning, except candidates for federal office, are required to take an oath before any person duly authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments for public record in the state in the following form:
I, , a citizen of the State of Florida and of the United States of America, and being employed by or an officer of and a recipient of public funds as such employee or officer, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida.
(2) Said oath shall be filed with the records of the governing official or employing governmental agency prior to the approval of any voucher for the payment of salary, expenses, or other compensation.
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Does an Oath Constitute a Bond?
The US Constitution mistakenly implies that an oath binds a person. The Florida Constitution requires public officers to swear an oath of loyalty and "give bond as required by law." So apparently an oath does not bind a person, but a money bond might, if the Legislature decides to require it.
Unswearing Oaths in Advance - Kol Nidrei
In the face of all these oaths, we find that some groups of people encourage the foreswearing (advance unswearing) of future oaths. Take for example the Kol Nidrei which all devout Jews declare as part of the Yom Kippur observation at every September's end (English equivalent of Aramaic text):
"All vows, and prohibitions, and oaths, and consecrations, and konams and konasi and any synonymous terms, that we may vow, or swear, or consecrate, or prohibit upon ourselves, •from the previous Day of Atonement until this Day of Atonement and ...• ♦from this Day of Atonement until the Day of Atonement that will come for our benefit.♦ Regarding all of them, we repudiate them. All of them are undone, abandoned, canceled, null and void, not in force, and not in effect. Our vows are no longer vows, and our prohibitions are no longer prohibitions, and our oaths are no longer oaths."
Wikipedia explains how this has bothered non-Jews for centuries:
"The Kol Nidrei prayer has been used by non-Jews as a basis for asserting that an oath taken by a Jew may not be trusted. Historically, this accusation was leveled so often and so persistently that many non-Jewish legislators considered it necessary to have a special form of oath administered to Jews ("Oath More Judaico"), and many judges refused to allow them to take a supplementary oath, basing their objections chiefly on this prayer. As early as 1240 in the Disputation of Paris, Yechiel of Paris was obliged to defend Kol Nidrei against these charges. The Russian government, in 1857, decreed that the prayerbooks must include, as an introduction to Kol Nidrei, a Hebrew explanation to the readers of the limited nature of the vows that could be released by this ceremony."
Who Needs an Oath Bond in Florida?
Apparently, the sovereign citizens from whom all government sovereignty flows in Florida have decided to ignore the Kol Nidrei declaration and similar declarations by others. They have let the Legislature decides who has to have a bond. Florida Statutes require a bond for sheriffs and their deputies, tax collectors, public service commissioners, clerks, and others who handle money or property. No statute requires a bond for judges. Florida's government "self-insures." The Risk Manager for the CFO backs the financial risk of judges, probably because judges have conferred immunity on themselves.
No law punishes a public employee's violation of loyalty oaths except by virtue of statutes, rules, and regulations forbidding specific behaviors that might or might not constitute oath violations. It's a dice-roll.
Does the Loyalty Oath Really Matter?
As a consequence of the idea that an oath constitutes a bond, the judges need no bond, and that the law ignores Kol Nidrei and similar declarations, oaths mean pretty much nothing, except in the minds of those who swear them. And that probably explains why Florida's constitution and laws require judges to swear no 6 oaths to become functioning judges. They include the bar oath, elector oath, candidate oath, candidate loyalty oath, public officer oath, and public employee oath. In 2008 the Florida Supremes ruled that the public officer oath constitutes compliance with all oath statutes for judges - they stand above the fiat of law.
Moreover, you might have noticed the words "and Government" in the foregoing oath text. By swearing to support governments, the public officer promises to ignore the Constitution because loyalty to a government official who has gone rogue constitutes loyalty to an enemy of the Constitution. Loyalty to Government means loyalty to people in government, not to the ideals of good government. Such language creates and perpetuates the "good old boys network" that all Citizens rightly despise and fear.
Take heart, though. Among Florida's loyalty oaths, only the Public Officer's oath has such idiotic language. As you can see above, the public employee oath in Florida Statute 876.05 and officer's oath mandated by the US Constitution and 4 USC 101 do not contain that language.
We all should realize that we reduce the need for oaths when the voters elect honorable people for government and demand oversight with tools to toss oath violators.
The Bottom Line of Loyalty Oath Enforcement
WE THE PEOPLE have to FORCE people in government to behave constitutionally. When they don't, we start a gradient approach to creating enough displeasure in them to overcome their flippant disregard for and make them adhere to the Constitutions of the US and State.
The "gradient?" Figuratively, we look over at the drawer where the book of matches rests, then back at them. If that doesn't get their attention, we walk over to the drawer and put our hand on the drawer handle. If that doesn't get it, we pull the drawer open and look into it, then back at them. If that doesn't work, we proceed step by step till we have them boiling in a giant cauldron of soup. Then, in front of all the other public officers, we pull out our silver spoons and eat the ones in the cauldron. That's the ONLY way to do it that make sense. Heads on a pike in full public view, so to speak.
In order for us to become competent at the job of exhibiting the sovereignty of citizenship, we must put wise and competent governors in place, watch them like a hawk, and boil those who attempt or usurp power we did not give them.
We Must Study to Become Good Citizens
In order to understand whether public employees violate their loyalty oaths to support constitutions, and find out how to hold them accountable, we must set out on a course of study. We must learn the ideals of good government through history studies, then the constitutions, then the nomination and election process, then the court system, then litigation practice, then the rules of court procedure and evidence code, then relevant laws and court rulings.
We Must Observe and Talk to Government Employees
One cannot control what one does not monitor. Therefore we must watch public employees, particularly elected and appointed officers, like a hawk. And we must communicate to them our pleasure or displeasure with their performance.
Of course we must recruit our family members and fellows, and teach them the same.
Political Activism: Not An Option
And above all, we must become politically active - learning about politicians, encouraging good people with good knowledge and sense to run, preventing the evil ones from getting elected, and kicking out those who do a bad job in government. We must run to support those whom government employees have abused under color of law, INVESTIGATE to learn whether abuse occurred, and ACTIVATE to excise the abuse and abuser from Government.
Constitution Tweaking Required
A Constitution must serve the ideals of good government AND evolution of civilization. And we must realize that those who went before us probably put wrong things in the Constitution. So, we must tweak our Constitution to remove its bad elements and put better ones in.
For example, our Constitutions grant suffrage to utterly irresponsible people, and that simply must change in order to create and maintain a great republic. We cannot let children, indigents, the stupid, the abysmally ignorant, and recipients of welfare vote. Only the smart, self-sufficient, industrious, educated, and responsible Citizens should have the right to vote.
We must not permit businesses and governments to contact, lobby, support, or campaign for elected and appointed public officers. We must police the election process to make and keep it fair and honest. We must re-empower the non-government grand juries, impanel them with well-educated, responsible voters, and establish mechanisms for them to investigate and indict public officers for crimes and malfeasance, and establish extra-government trials of those indicted. We must eliminate abusive taxation, deficit spending, participation of the bar and its members in government, and all forms of sovereign immunity. We must restore the voice of state legislatures in the federal government, via the US Senate. We must strip of all government authority and money those in and out of government who violate their loyalty oaths And we must insist that schools teach all of the above principles to children as part of the standard public education.
The Critical Importance of Civilization Citizenship
I consider the above as the minimum obligations of American Citizenship. But our public obligation does not stop there. We also must work to reform and improve the American Civilization. We ought to find ways to improve the quality of our gene pool by dramatic reduction of the number of people with IQ below 85, who cannot graduate from high school. Presently upwards of 85 million people in the USA suffer with the affliction of such low intelligence that they simply cannot compete for good jobs and mates, and they ultimately become a serious public burden.
We need to overhaul the public education system so that it matriculates responsible, well-educated or well-trained adults, ready for immediate and productive employment. We should require our low-intelligence children to attend special schools that teach academics to the 7th grade and them put the students into apprenticeship programs where they learn a trade or simple productivity that does not frustrate them. The system should educate the smarter students all the way to PhD levels if they have the aptitude. And the schools should balance academics with practical work in school factories and farms where they make their own food, clothing, furniture, and computers, selling the excess into the community. Schools should run 11 hours a day 6 days a week 11 months a year, and teachers should work 3 12-hour days per week and go on sabbatical every 7th year. All students tutor junior students. Schools give no homework, allow no soda pop, candy, or junk food, and feed the children breakfast and lunch of raw, fresh, organic nuts, grains, fruits, berries, and vegetables daily. The system should rate students and teachers based on statistical performance, and post the results publicly for all to see and understand.
I won't go into the myriad problems the above education model would solve, as anyone with common sense should intuitively imagine them.
Conclusion - Get Off Your Butt
The USA's founders did not sit on their butts and leave government up to others. They wanted to, of course. But the king's abuses rose to the level of intolerability, and the colonists had to rise up against those abuses. The leaders, fortunately, did not wait to get an education in the basics till it had become too late. Today's Americans, however, have waited. Most haven't a clue about the ideals of good government, or of law. Many ignore the political process.
To all of you, I say "Get off your butt!" Get the necessary education now, become politically active along the ideals of good government. If you see a problem, get busy and correct it. Work to improve our nation and civilization. Don't expect the next guy to do it because he might be a Communist or Fundamentalist Muslim, both of whom want to destroy our republics.
If you don't do this, WHO WILL?
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WARNING. Bob Hurt does NOT practice law, give legal advice, or function as a licensed counselor and attorney at law. Construe comments as conjecture or education, and NOT as legal advice. Consult an honest, qualified attorney on all questions of law.