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Ramblings of a Conservative Cow Doctor: The Oath and the Gift

by pete on January 14, 2011

From the Western Ag Reporter

Written by Rep. Krayton Kerns, DVM  Reprinted here with his permission and approval

The Oath and the Gift

     Words mean things.

     When arranged and projected properly, even the simplest words can shock the meekest of patriots to their feet.  General George Washington tagged the phrase “Victory or death!”  as the watchword to launch the staggering remnants of his Continental Army into the freezing darkness of a winter storm and across the Delaware River.  Our fledgling republic had declared her independence not even six months earlier.  Now her very survival depended on whether each emaciated, bootless, and nearly frozen American patriot could fight with the hidden strength known only to God.  Truly it was “victory or death.”  For 234 years, all the world has reaped the harvest of American freedom sowed that Christmas night in our War for Independence.

     Words mean things.

     Around noon on Monday, January 3, 150 citizen legislators will stand in the Montana’s capitol, raise their right hands and swear their oath of office.  In just 41 words, as written in Article III, section3, of Montana’s Constitution, we declare:  “I do solemnly swear that I will support, protect, and defend the constitution of United Sates and constitution of the state of Montana and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity, so help me God.”  The oath is a short and incredibly powerful statement.

     Words mean things.

     Reread the oath… take your time; I’ll wait….Equally powerful to the words which ARE there are those NOT there.  Astonishingly absent is any reference to reaching across the aisle to compromise for the good of the whole, or dipping into the treasury for programs for the people of your home district; both statements are more congruent with the Communist Manifesto than our constitution.  Such phrases don’t exist in the oath of office by the direct and purposeful omission of our founders; the basis for our constitutional republic is freedom and freedom alone.

     Words mean things.

     If we legislators truly honor our oath of office, then every decision before us becomes:  “Is this bill constitutional or unconstitutional?  It either ‘supports, protects, and defends the constitution’ or it does not.”  There is no maybe.  I was a couple weeks through my first legislative session when the floor orations of Rep. Rick Jore shockingly reminded me that my allegiance belonged to my constitutional oath.  From then on, every piece of legislation that hit my desk became the clearest of black and white; it either served the cause or it did not.

     Words mean things.

     Or at least they should.  On January 3, after taking their oath of office, all legislators are given a special gift.  The very second they verbally place the period after “so help me God,” they receive a 100% constitutional voting record, a temporary and frighteningly short-lived commodity.  The freedom endowed by our Creator is the most fragile of gifts and once it is surrendered or compromised, it is gone forever.  Pray your legislator will treat His gift with the sacred reverence it deserves.  To do any thing less diminishes the sacrifices of each bootless and starving American patriot marching in the snow 234 Christmas Eves ago.

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