JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON OBAMA’S TAKING THE OATH TWICE   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

This would be funny, but it does point to something in American society that is not funny at all.

The worry here clearly was that a slightly incorrect version of the words might invalidate the Constitutional requirement for the oath.

Where general good will prevails in a society, such a matter would cause no concern.

But this event is the oath-taking equivalent of lawsuits based on the use of a preposition in the fine type of an agreement.

And, as we all know, there is plenty of that.

I’ve always thought it a bizarre dichotomy in American society: the sense of the land of the free and a reputation for a mostly free-and-easy lifestyle and at the same time an almost scholastic enslavement to papers and documents and formalities like this oath.

Your tax forms are almost indecipherable. Visa and green card application forms are like something from a nightmare lawsuit in Dickens, immensely complicated and demanding. The stack of legal papers to be signed when getting a mortgage – about an inch thick – is like nowhere else on earth.

Could all this point to what the noted American historian, Page Smith, called schizophrenia in the national character?

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