“A LIGHTER LOOK”
BY RICHARD E. MEYER
Each time Kentucky elects a governor, it happens. The rest of the country doesn’t notice, and in Kentucky, it fits with so many other absurdities (think Mitch McConnell) that people take it for granted.
Every governor, indeed every state officer or member of the Kentucky bar, promises to faithfully execute his or her responsibilities and swears or affirms that “I, being a citizen of this state, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this state nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as a second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending.”
The state constitution requires this oath.
If you’re inclined to think McConnell is a bit odd, consider this: Andy Beshear, the most recent governor to make this affirmation, said afterward, “Kentucky’s oath of office may sound a little outdated to some, but speaking it’s words created in me a sense of gratefulness, humility, excitement.”
Yes, that’s what he said.
Requiring a Kentucky governor to swear that he hasn’t dueled – and, by implication, won’t – is as silly as compelling a Texan to swear that he doesn’t brag, or an Oklahoman to swear that he won’t throw cow chips. Cow chips? They’re Frisbee-shaped gobbets of dry manure. Every year, Oklahoma hosts the World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest.
It’s a spring dung fling.
Indeed, we should be careful about oaths of office. What if Donald Trump had to swear that he would tan himself under energy-efficient light bulbs? “It doesn’t make you look as good,” he says. “Being a vain person, that’s very important to me. It gives you an orange look. I don’t want to look orange.”
Sorry . . . too late.
Or swear that he will use water-saving toilets. People who do, he says, “are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.”
What is he eating?
Or swear to bathe under eco-friendly shower heads, which, he says, do not offer a “full shower flow.”
Maybe he should bathe more often.
Presidents take this oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
If Kentucky can require governors to swear they don’t fight duels, maybe the United States could require presidents to respect those who risk their lives to defend the Constitution – something their current commander in chief too rarely does.
Worse, sometimes he shows them as much respect as Oklahomans do to cow chips.
Less than a year into his presidency, Trump met with his top commanders in Room 2E924 at the Pentagon.
“There is no more sacred room for military officers,” write Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, reporters for the Washington Post, in their book, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America.” It is “a windowless and secure vault where the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet regularly to wrestle with classified matters. Its more common name is ‘the Tank’ ”
There, in the Tank, on July 20, 2017, after a lengthy rant at his top brass, the president declared, “We don’t win any wars anymore. . . . You’re all losers. You don’t know how to win anymore. . . .
“I wouldn’t go to war with you people. You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”
It was “the gravest insult,” Leonnig and Rucker say, that “he could have delivered to these people, in this sacred space.”
Oaths of office, even in Kentucky, presume respect.
At least “Sir” and “Ma’am.”
The Last Laugh:
The U.S. populace issued a call Monday to let Joe Biden rub women’s shoulders again after seeing what he will do instead . . . “We didn’t realize the Pandora’s box that we opened by making him stop,” said [one Loveland, Colorado, resident after] seeing the 77-year-old biting his wife’s finger during a campaign event.
From The Onion
RICHARD E. MEYER
Meyer is the senior editor of Blueprint. He has been a White House correspondent and national news features writer for the Associated Press and a roving national correspondent and editor of long-form narratives at the Los Angeles Times.