The inauguration of our president-elect, Donald Trump, as the 45th president of the United States will take place on January 20, 2017. Section I of Article II of the US Constitution states that Trump cannot actually become president unless he takes an oath of office, publicly committing himself to uphold the Constitution and perform to the best of his ability while in office.
There seems to be an opinion of many citizens of the USA that maybe there should be a candidate truthfulness oath. This would certainly change the atmosphere of how candidates conduct their campaigns.
Take for example the recent campaigns of the presidential candidates. Many promises that were made will probably be impossible to carry out.
The questions asked of Hilary Clinton were belatedly answered, vaguely answered, or were right out lies.
The American voters should demand that candidates adhere to a basic code of conduct. One simple way to do that would be to demand that all candidates take an oath to be truthful and responsible in their campaign rhetoric and conduct.
In American society and political culture, the oath has a rare status. Testifying in a court of law or before a committee of the US Congress, witnesses “solemnly swear, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Doctors take the “Hippocratic Oath,” pledging first to do no harm. Students at many universities swear to uphold an honor code.
President-elect Donald Trump will not be alone in taking his oath next month: at around the same time, new members of the US Congress and Trump’s cabinet will make a similar pledge. Other elected candidates from local, county and state offices will also be taking oaths to uphold the integrity of the office.
Let’s make the process of electing our officials a process of dignity. Implementation would not be difficult. While the presidential oath is required by the US Constitution, a candidates’ oath wouldn’t have to be. Political and market pressure would be enough, if print, television and social media simply refused to carry campaign advertisements from candidates who refused to take the oath.
The political advantage should not go to the most mendacious candidate. For the sake of democracy, we must take action to solidify basic norms of decency and transparency in vital election campaigns. We can start with the modest step of demanding a truthfulness oath from all future candidates.