Members of Congress, before taking their seats, swear the following Oath of Office:
I (name) 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.
With little exception, every Republican (and a handful of Democrats) in congress signed a conflicting pledge before taking the oath of office, this one to the so-called “Americans For Tax Reform”, a creation of lobbyist Grover Nordquist and a bunch of right-wing corporations.
Taxpayer Protection Pledge:
I (name) pledge to the taxpayers of the state of (name) and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and: TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson succinctly described this pledge; “No new taxes even if your country goes to hell.”, And therein lies the conflict because depending on circumstances, new taxes may be required and old ones raised in order to defend the nation.
Revenue from taxes underpins the essential strength of the nation. No taxes, no army, no navy, no air force, no marines. No taxes, no support for anyone, no infrastructure, no health care, no nuthin’. How can elected officials, sworn to; “Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” simultaneously support a pledge which forbids that exact activity?
Exactly where does their allegiance lie- to the nation they swore to defend or to a power-hungry lobbyist who has no interest in supporting; “True faith and allegiance.” A refusal to even consider the need for new or adjusted taxes under the circumstances of economic crisis or war in my view constitutes treason to say nothing of a conflict of interest.
Through his extensive network of corporations and private wealth, Nordquist controls the political fate of the vast majority of Republicans aspiring to office. Sign his pledge and receive support; walk away and see your opponent suddenly receive unlimited campaign funds. Revolt while in office and see your opportunities for advancement shrivel, wither and die. This is blackmail pure and simple. Even worse it corrupts and perverts the entire concept of open and free elections, to say nothing of its influences on the conduct and decisions of Representatives and Senators.
So what to do? I’m going to copy and paste this article into a letter to my members of Congress, with another to the White House. I have no problem raising a little hell- after all, it’s my government and my country which is being corrupted. It’s yours too, so think about what you can do to bring an end to this obvious insult to our precious democracy.