I Swear This Country Drives Me Crazy Sometimes


A councilman in the Florida town of Tequesta refuses to take a standard oath of office–the Korean War vet Basil Dalack's adamant opposition to the Iraq War makes him leery about pledging to "support, protect, and defend" the government right now because he thinks it implies blanket support for policies he can't abide. And why shouldn't you be able to hold down a local government job without such a pledge? And what constitutes such support, protection, and defense–unquestioned support toward every policy, or a larger support for principles or the Constitution? If the latter is the case, certainly a great deal of what the U.S. government does now deserves no such support, protection, and defense.

Dalack is trying to sue over the whole mess, alas–the proper way to handle this, I daresay the American way (in the best vision of America), in our spirit of on-the-fly Yankee-Doodle can-doism and open-hearted adjustment to eccentrics and opposing views, would have been to quietly allow him to take office without reciting that part of the oath. Then everyone involved should have played a pick-up softball game and quaffed some lemonade. I guess those days are gone.