Opinion: ‘I do solemnly swear’

Kammi Foote submitted the following Op-Ed piece:

When I was elected to the office of Inyo County Clerk-Recorder, my first official act was to take an Oath of Office. Not only have I taken the Oath, but one of my responsibilities as a County Clerk is to administer Oaths of Office to other public employees and elected officials.

Inyo County Clerk/Recorder Kammi Foote

Inyo County Clerk/Recorder Kammi Foote

All public servants, from the President of the United States, to the part-time file clerk, take the Oath in one form or another before assuming office. In California, the Oath includes the affirmation that we will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. By swearing to defend the Constitutions against domestic enemies, we are promising to administer the laws as decided by the body politic and not to undermine our system of governance by acting under our own sovereignty.

Lately we have seen a number of examples of officials unilaterally making decisions, contrary to the rule of law, based on their personal beliefs and aspirations. People must always seek to live by their values, but every public official makes a promise, before they ever take office, not to be a sovereign.

So when Presidents engage in military action without first getting the requisite approval from Congress, City Council members vote to thwart federal immigration laws, County Clerks refuse to recognize judicial authority, or elected officials here in California run end games around the legislative process, are we upholding our promise to the people?

The act of declaring allegiance to our system of government has been carried forward from the first colonial compact to modern day. In the beginning, the new immigrants swore their loyalty to King James, but today we do not have Kings in the United States. Instead we swear to support Constitutions, which replaced the Monarchy as our supreme law of the land.

One thing has been constant since the establishment of the United States –we do not always agree on how we should be governed. In fact, our country was founded on the principals of debate and compromise, which depend on our officials having opposing viewpoints.

When we take the Oath, we are not swearing that we agree with every regulation that exists at the time we take it, nor are we promising that we will personally approve of every governing decision that may come to pass in the future. Instead we are swearing allegiance to the rule of law and the civil society that governs us. As society changes over time, legislation will be amended, repealed, passed and tested against our Constitutions. Our multi-layered system of government is designed to entrust individuals at every level to preserve this system for society as a whole.

Nothing would suggest that upon taking the Oath, you must give up your constitutional First Amendment rights to have personal opinions contrary to our laws. An individual is free to believe however they choose – a right ardently defended and upheld by multiple institutions. However, when it comes to public servitude, there has always been a higher standard to which our representatives must strive; to hold the public’s interests above our own. This means that not only do we expect the average citizen to obey the law, but also the lawmakers.

Oaths have withstood the test of time dating back to ancient Rome, and from the day George Washington placed his hand on the Bible and recited the Oath, this promise to stand vigilant by doing our duty, even in the face of our personal beliefs, has been an important symbol of this country’s endurance and longevity.

And when we consider the ideals and ambitions with which this nation was born and the sacrifices it has endured, we should have confidence that this is a political organization that is worthy of our support and defense.

Elected and public officials have been entrusted with a legacy of our nation’s commitment to the Constitution and the liberty and freedom it gives all citizens.

Our Republic is one of the longest standing in world history because of our dedication and commitment to the Constitutional form of governance. We should not take this role lightly but with strength of purpose, love for our nation, and deep respect for the rule of law that gives it authority.



21 Responses to Opinion: ‘I do solemnly swear’

  1. Low-Inyo October 18, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Gary Trotman……But what about my two dogs running wild around town as I’m sitting in jail and behind bars for God knows how long….even though my guns are all registered and legal,and have no police-history or felonies on my record ?…Do you think maybe the ICSO will cut me a break and catch my runaway dogs and put them in the cell with me while I’m rotting away in prison ?

  2. Gary Trotman October 16, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    When they come for your guns do not worry , Your friendly neighbors at the INYO County Sheriffs Dept will be there to escort them to your doorstep and provide back up for poor poor Uncle Sam and his Jackbooted Thugs.

  3. Low-Inyo October 16, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    John…..If they just come bursting in without knocking,a good chance my two dogs will run off through the shattered front door when they taze me, throw me to the ground and cuff me.

  4. Jara Halfen October 14, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    Well said Kammi.

    • John October 16, 2015 at 5:08 am #

      just so you’re not surprised, they don’t knock on the front door.

  5. Leon Ames October 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    Kammi is an elected official who clearly will not bend to any foam-at-the-mouth neoconservatives who want to run government the way it was run during The 3rd Reich era.
    Lots of that sort of thing trying to pass for government today.
    “For the good of the fatherland.”
    This movement is clearly dead in the water. Real Americans won’t put up with it.

    • tourbillon October 14, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      This may hurt Leon, but the real fascists in America are on the left. Obama avoiding the Constitution by calling a treaty with the murderous mullahs in Iran “an executive agreement”. Obama ignoring the Constitution by rewriting ObamaCare as needed to remedy its blunders. Left wing climatologists demanding criminal investigations of scientific dissenters.

      The moral outrage by which you apparently live is apt. But it is blind and thus unhinged from the reality of what a “real American” is and should be.

      • Low-Inyo October 15, 2015 at 6:30 am #

        tourbillion….I’m still waiting on President Obama to show up on my doorstep with the military and his SWAT teams (that Jade Helm 15 thing ) to break down my doors and take my guns away,so they can implement martial-law on this Country….leaving the citizens defenseless to the Governments actions and desires….wasn’t that all supposed to go down last month ?

        • John October 15, 2015 at 9:08 am #

          When they come to take your guns they’ll come in black helicopters.

          • Low-Inyo October 15, 2015 at 9:49 am #

            John….Do you think they will land those helicopters in our little local airports,and then deploy the troops to the streets in the armored vehicles….or are they going to land the choppers right in our local neighborhoods with the troops exiting and then into our homes ?….just curious,so I will know what to expect and it won’t take me by surprise.

      • Pedro October 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm #


        Take a hard left or a hard right and refuse to change course if needed and you run head on into the fascists from the other side.

  6. Betty White October 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    Ummm, I guess she does not agree with the lady who wouldn’t give marriage licenses to the gay couple. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Give gays and lesbians another name for their licenses. Problem solved.

    • Eastern Sierra Local October 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

      I have a better solution….why don’t we just forget the concept of “government marriage” altogether, make everyone get civil unions from the government and if you want the title of “marriage” go to your church and get that title. Otherwise the government shouldn’t even be in the “marriage” business in the first place-only the civil union business; since it is an institution of religion.
      Image how quickly and cheaply the “gay marriage” issue would’ve been solved if the government just said “we’re not doing marriages anymore; from now on civil unions for everyone.”

  7. earl duran October 10, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    Kammi you are right, we need more people like you.

  8. High Water October 9, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    I will say that I completely agree with the writer. But, the oath has been trampled on since the start. Since 9/11 THE oath, and the constitution were thrown out the window.
    The elite corrupt politicians take their oath to the highest bidder.
    We now know that ISIS was created by the U.S. Govt. To create chaos in the middle east and put fear into us at home. Thank you Putin.

    The Oath takers are playing us like fools. They love that we continue to believe that the oath means something. This corruption festers down to local and city. We as a people need to unite and throw them all out.
    It’s embarrassing to watch our President fly to Oregon and preach to us about how bad guns our. He never leaves home without an army full of weapons, and then Flys over Chicago and forgets to stop, @ the murder capital of the USSSA. (HYPOCRITE?)

    oh yeah! An AC130 gunship blew up doctors without borders in Afghanistan. Obama apologizes. A whack job in Oregon kills and it’s time to take our guns. His oath was to follow the constitution. 2nd Amendment says SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. When the President doesn’t obey his oath, what do we have?

  9. Jeremiah Joseph October 9, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    That was great! I haven’t read a story from start to finish in a long time… LOL, but really, hats off to the true leaders…

    We are a constitutional republic, not a business, and we are granted our individual liberties through a representative government…

    Again, Hats off to the true leaders…
    Thank You Kammi!

  10. Yuri Parisky October 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    If you circulate it beyond the Eastern Sierra, try the South, Kentucky comes to mind. Well written and authoritative!!!!

  11. Nancy L. Smith October 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Very nicely and clearly stated Ms. Foote. Wish this could go viral to show what a responsible civil servant understands their job to be; leaving political party, prejudice, and religion behind the front door of an elected official’s home. Hats off to you.

  12. tourbillon October 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Nice letter Ms. Foote. Suggest you circulate it beyond the Eastern Sierra. First address at which it might be amiably received for being helpful and refreshing: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

  13. Leon Ames October 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    Uh – oh! I wonder what elected or public official tried to go around Kammi ?

  14. Bryan Curt Kostors October 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    We’re extremely lucky to have Kammi in a public office here in Inyo County; this kind of contemplative reasoning, logic, care, and dedication is what’s so often missing in so many governmental circumstances. Brava, Kammi! You are a role model for many.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.