Arizona's Student Constitution
Are civilians required to protect and defend their Constitution? Is it a responsibility of all Americans to fight in America's name? Well, according to a bill recently proposed to Arizona's legislature, they are...and that requirement starts before you even graduate high school.
In a recent TV commercial for the United States Navy I was flashed dozens of inspiring and incredible pictures of what sailors participate in. The voice over on the commercial started out with, "I am a United States sailor. I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America." First two lines tell you who they are and what their primary objective is. Cool.
The bill proposed in Arizona by a group of Republicans would demand all hopeful high school graduates to recite the following oath:
"I, ________, do solemnly swear 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 these duties; So help me God.
I will note that Arizona state Rep. Bob Thorpe and other supporters of this bill have plans to revise the conclusion of the oath so as not to offend the non-believing parents and students of public high schools.
That's so weird, right? How the oath that NAVY SAILORS make is so similar to what this Arizona Rep. wants HIGH SCHOOL students to make? Yeah…weird and unconstitutional. The whole idea is painfully ironic.
You're going to force students to pledge allegiance to a country that promises them they won't ever be forced into servitude? Logical. You're going to require these kids to become an on-hand militia when the country they are defending is the same country that defends their right not to be part of a militia? I don't even understand why this is relevant. Republicans trying to bolster patriotism in high schoolers think this is an appropriate action? Yeah, just what I want, to be denied my hard-earned high school diploma because I won't swear to uphold a Constitution I may or may not agree with.
I hate to be the one to educate you, Thorpe, but my rights as a citizen do not teeter on the see-saw of my willingness to serve in the US armed forces.