Your oath, your duty - Go vote!

  • Published
  • By Capt. Michael Pierson
  • 509th Bomb Wing Assistant Staff Judge Advocate
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ..."

As service members we all share many bonds, but one particular universal bond is the oath we share. We all recite it, are obligated by it, and tasked with carrying out its demands. While certain core demands of our oaths are prescriptive obligations, meaning lawfully enforced, there are several obligations that are not prescribed.

One of those obligations, not prescribed, yet imbedded within our oath, is a duty to vote. By voting we act to support the functioning of the Constitutional design our forefathers envisioned and which we now defend by blood, sweat, tears, and a vote.

Our forefathers became experts in governmental design before drafting our Constitution. Their research took them to antiquity where Polybius, a Roman, argued that a mixed government was most beneficial to society. Polybius characterized three parts to a mixed government: democracy (the people), aristocracy (the nobility), and monarchy (the king).

John Adams, in Thoughts on Government in 1776, endorsed the idea of mixed government stating, "there was never a good government in the world, that did not consist of the three simple species of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy."

This idea carried forward into the Constitution itself. To serve the democracy element the people were given the task of electing the lower house (The House of Representatives). To serve the aristocracy element, the Supreme Court would be filled by appointment of the President, and the Senate appointed by state legislatures. Finally, the monarchy element was fulfilled by a single executive to oversee the function of the government.

James Madison, discussing the assignment of functions in the Constitution, stated the essential requirement that the "government [be] derived from the great body of society."
He further stated that as long as certain elements of the government are appointed by the representatives of the people, there is no concern regarding the republic's true standing. Thus, the essentiality of "the people" in the function of our Constitution was acknowledged both before and after its creation.

How does this create a duty to vote? To truly accomplish a mixed government, the foundation of the Constitutional design, the people must take their role. We, along with our fellow citizens, do this by casting our vote for federal offices every two years.

Thus, because we all took an oath that obliges us to support and defend the Constitution we should take our part in fully ensuring its proper function. We should give support by carrying out a simple yet hard-fought for act -- a vote.