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Grasshopper Soup: Don’t swear around the children, please

Bob SweigertSpecial to the Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. – In America, our presidential oath of office has an expiration date. It is only good for four years. When we re-elect a president who is already president, we make him swear again to uphold the Constitution, etc., etc., etc., to the best of his ability, so help him God.That’s the disclaimer. To the best of his ability. That leaves every president an easy out when he makes a mess of things. We like to be nice to our presidents. If the president is ever guilty of high crimes, misdemeanors, treason, adultery, daydreaming, being late for work or missing work altogether, we let him say, “Hey, that was to the best of my ability!”President Obama was already sworn in when Supreme Court Justice Roberts swore him in again on January 20th, and then swore him in again the next day. That makes three swearing ins if you count his first term. I’m not sure exactly what time of day the first one expired – midnight, 4:30? There’s no need to be specific when you’re a politician.Obama was sworn in privately, according to the law, then he swore in again, in public no less, one day and tens of millions of dollars later. That’s a lot of swearing!It’s not the first time a presidential term began with lots of swearing and spending.Every president gets called bad names. One of the worst names you can call a president is “politician,” but we always elect one. Then we swear at him for being one.Call the president a typical politician if you really want to hear him swear.We should know what we are getting, yet, each president always seems to find a way to be a different kind of politician than he said he would be, typical or otherwise.Speaking of differences, what’s the difference between an ammunition clip that holds 30 bullets and three ammunition clips that hold 10 bullets? Five seconds, 10 seconds, fewer mass murders? Doesn’t it seem more than a little peculiar that, while we know it is already against the law to murder people, we are talking about what kinds of weapons and how many bullets we should make available, or unavailable, to commit murder with?This is what happens when our emotions are full of curses. We count bullets.There is humor and truth in everything if you look hard enough. I swear, I feel like I’m watching a Federico Fellini movie, where it’s hard to tell fantasy from reality.Like fast food, we demand instant gratification by imposing restrictions on the freedoms of all the people who were not, and never will be, involved in mass murders. We punish the innocent for the mass murder of the innocent. And it makes sense to us in our fervor. We forget – we are not gods, we are children.It is politically expedient to make everyone feel better, so, when tragedy strikes, that’s what politicians do. They mollify their children for the moment. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and the mass murderers are given different choices as to which weapons they can use and how many bullets they can shoot in a slightly different amount of time. The choice is not much different than the choice they had before the last tragedy. They can still arm themselves to the teeth like many mass murderers in recent history who didn’t need to use, or were unable to use, all the weapons they brought with them.Meanwhile, I hope something is being done to reduce the number of mentally unstable people who have access to guns and prevent them from using them, but managing the human factor, the primary cause of murder, is the most complex part of the solution. It’s easier to address secondary, and tertiary, cosmetic concerns.Another good, even better way to keep the memory of the children killed at Sandy Hook alive is to take an oath to live more like children for the rest of our lives.We’re off to a pretty good start there, but let’s not overdo it.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.


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