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Raise your right hand and repeat after me, ‘I, state your name…’

By Staff | Jan 10, 2009

There sure seems to be a lot of swearing going on lately.

No, I am not referring to all of the swearing at the ice that hit the state last weekend. Although I am sure there are many folks who are sick and tired of it. After taking a spill on Monday morning, I must admit a swear word ‘may’ have escaped my lips.

I am also not referring to the swearing that probably came out of the mouths of Vikings fans last weekend, as they watched their favorite team suffer another melt down in the second half of a playoff game. The last minutes of the game were nearly painful to watch as this group of highly paid professional athletes were unable to move the ball down the field.

No, the swearing I am referring to is being done by newly elected (and re-elected) government office holders. In cities, counties and legislatures, the successful candidates for office are all raising their right hands before a lawyer or judge, and swearing to uphold the laws and constitutions, and to carry out their assigned duties to the best of their abilities.

That is where the point of it all comes in. Did we elect officials who are going to uphold the law? And did we elect people who have the ability to pass resolutions and laws which will actually work?

On the local level, most of the people elected to office really do want to do whatever they can to help the community they are elected to serve. Some have more talent in this pursuit than others, but all want to do what they think is the right thing.

I am not sure that always translates to the state and national level. Many times party politics enter into the equation, and I wonder if what happens is really best for the local constituents.

As we have painfully learned over the years, not all of our elected officials follow the laws they have sworn to uphold, either. A few leave office in disgrace, because they forgot what it was they swore to do when they went into that job.

At the U.S. Senate swearing in ceremony, there were a few senators missing. One was from Chicago, and he was knocking on the front door and not being let in. One was in Minnesota, wondering if it was him or the other guy who was going to win the recount and get that certificate of election that would send him to Washington.

When Minnesota’s second senator is sworn in, he will be standing alone, and not in the crowd of senators who took the oath last Tuesday.

(Did you notice that one of the senators being sworn in was Sen. Joe Biden? Why was that done, I wonder, when two weeks later he will be sworn in as vice-president? But I digress.)

At the start of each football season, I always hope for the best. I am always optimistic and think that this year, the team is going to perform well, and make it to the big game. At the start of each new year, I always have hope that this year will bring good news, and great things will happen.

So it is with these swearing in ceremonies. There is hope that our governments – be they local, state or national – are going to function well, and really get some positive things done.

This year that may not be easy. They have some big problems to solve. On the local and state levels they are going to have less money to play with. That means our cities and counties will have to be a bit creative in how they solve some budget issues.

On the national level, well, they seem to be solving a lot of problems by throwing money at them. And then printing some more.

So as the elected officials raise their right hands and swear, we hope that later their constituency is not swearing at them.

There is enough swearing already, even if the Vikings season has come to a close. After all, there is still the Minnesota winter weather to contend with – and swear at.