When I was fresh out of the Marines in the 1990s, I thought President Clinton should resign because he had committed adultery, which is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and commanders (including the Commander-in-Chief) are expected to set the moral tone. I now think that was youthfully naïve of me, and I now have great respect for the former president, but that’s how I felt at the time, because I believe that sacred vows are, in fact, sacred, and that the law is the law.
There are probably people around the world wondering if there could be a coup in the U.S. What they don’t know is that this could never happen. They do not know, as I know, that all members of the U.S. military solemnly swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Officers take this oath for life, “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.” We all swear to “bear true faith and allegiance” to the constitution. We will die rather than violate that oath. I will take those words to my deathbed. This is probably naïve of me, but it is a mature naivety.
I look with hope to the future, and I am proud to be an American at a time when the whole world gets to watch how much power the most powerful man in the world has over the constitutional process—none at all.
Pete Swisher is a pension consultant and former Marine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.