A go(o)d question: Shouldn’t people swear on something important to them?

by lestro

There was a multimedia display in the NY Times this weekend called “The Inauguration: At Last.” It’s a bit trite and simple and the art seems very childish and slap-dash to me, like it’s designed for an artsy-fartsy childrens’ book as opposed to adults.

But there is this and it is an excellent question:

The answer, I suppose, is that you want the person to swear to uphold the Constitution on something that is special and important and means a lot to them. Something they hold in high esteem.

The Kids in the Hall made a joke about this years ago in a very funny courtroom sketch:

Bruce: [walks towards Dave] Did you kill Henry Tilsen?

Dave: No. [laughs; drinks]

Bruce: [picks transparent plastic bag containing a gun off a table] Your Honour I’d like to present Exhibit A. [to Dave] Is this your gun?

Dave: No.

Bruce: Yes it is.

Dave: No it isn’t.

Bruce: We have your name on the registration.

Dave: No you don’t.

Bruce: May I remind you that you’re under oath?

Dave: Oh right. And I would never lie under oath – not to God. [laughs]

What’s odd is that so many presidents (say, Nixon or Bush) are such liars that, like Dave Foley in the sketch above, god obviously doesn’t mean shit to them. Though I suppose in the case of those two, the Constitution wouldn’t matter either.

But in general, people should be forced to swear to something that is important and holy to them, whether for the presidency or in court.

like, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you Zeppelin IV?”

“I do.”

“Rock on.”


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