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Between the lines of loyalty oaths

May 10, 2008

Re "Enduring oath still testing loyalties," Column One, May 2

I'm with lecturer Wendy Gonaver in spirit; loyalty oaths are absurd because whatever "traitors" are, an oath won't stop them.

However, Gonaver chose the wrong battle. By giving up a chance to teach, she deprived her would-be Cal State Fullerton students of a much-needed perspective. The reality is that being scrupulously honest about one's beliefs tends to sap one's political power -- something the left needs to learn from the right.

I say, in the future, just sign the stupid oath. Don't add anything. Put yourself in the best position to fight. Then, if some lifelong dissent-buster hates your ideas and reminds you that you promised to defend the Constitution (which includes free speech), you can reply, "Exactly!"

David Meadow

Los Angeles

It puzzles me why a pacifist teacher would object to swearing to protect and defend the Constitution. Has any school administrator, while providing incoming faculty with a handbook, manual and other job-related material, ever foisted a firearm on the new instructors?

Ralph Goldstein

Altadena

Why should a job-seeking, typical citizen be required to sign an oath to "defend" the U.S. and California constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," while our own congressional representatives sit idly by as this president shreds the U.S. Constitution?

Bette Balliet

Mission Viejo

It is not just employees who must sign a loyalty oath. Volunteers at the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens are required to sign the pledge. I had to swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic" so I could pull weeds.

Lynn Fumey

Riverside

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