Threatening To Shut Down Government Are Breaking Oath To Uphold The Constitution

Readers' Forum

To The Reader’s Forum:

We have the right of freedom of speech in order to persuade each other, to learn from each other, and to hold elected leaders accountable.

We have a republic in which our elected legislature votes to pass laws, and it is assumed that the majority of votes wins. Our constitution does not state that the majority of votes wins, but it does say that if the vote is tied, then the chair votes to break the tie (“The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.” Article 1, Section 3, paragraph 4). That is our clue that the majority vote passes the law.

So when there is the issue of the national budget or the debt limit, when elected leaders in the legislature turn away from free speech (persuasion) by threatening to shut down the government, they have broken their oath to uphold the constitution. They threaten to harm rather than convince others, like a bully or despot. So not only do they threaten instead of using free speech, they don’t want a majority to win the vote, they want their minority opinion to win by the use of threats. Instead of threats, they need to be better persuaders or present better ideas.

So any elected leader who uses threats to shut down the government if they don’t get their way are going against democracy’s standard of the majority rule, and they go against free speech. Thus they should be put out of office for breaking their oath to uphold the constitution.

Timothy Hoyer



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