Where To Swear Your Oath : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Where To Swear Your Oath

by at 9:53am

December 15, 2017    2 Comments

As a sort of minor and mildly entertaining footnote to Tuesday’s Congressional election in Alabama, there was a CNN interview where the spokesperson for the Republican candidate made a spirited argument that Muslim politicians should not be allowed in Congress because they’d be required to swear on a Christian bible.

The CNN host went on to utterly decimate the spokesperson’s assertion by letting him know that not only is it not required to swear on a bible, if you are swearing an oath of office, you can technically swear on anything.

Something about that pesky separation of church and state, I suppose.

Look, I’m not here to wade into political waters. What I am here for is to wade into this debate:

If you became an elected official, upon which book would you swear your oath of office?

As a lover of books, this question intrigues me. One might suggest that the book used for an oath of office would have some meaning, some gravity. Something that matters to you.

So where to start? I mean, what are the books that made me who I am today? That have, to me anyway, a sacred meaning. Something upon which an oath would really matter?

Okay, I’ve had a noodle on this, and decided that here would be my top five picks, in no particular order:

  1. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

    This is the book that made me want to be a writer. It’s seminal to my creative life and had particular meaning for me years ago to read an author from the west write the west (and not some east coaster’s idea of the west, I’m looking at you Cormac). This book is in my DNA and it’s the perfect book upon which to swear, because Gus and Call do an awful lot of swearing in the story.

  2. Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford

    When I was a kid, my mom suggested I read this book and I am so glad she did. I’ve opined plenty on this book, and it’s perfect for swearing an oath because this was the first book to make me feel like it was not only okay, but pretty damn cool, to be a New Mexican. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s no one knew where or what New Mexico was, nor cared. Heisenberg putting us in the media spotlight was years away. This book is me and I am this book, I give you my oath on that.

  3. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore

    The story of the Son of God, as told by his best friend Biff. It’s historical and hysterical. This book will make you laugh right out loud as our man Biff pulls his somewhat clueless friend Jesus out of scrape after scrape. It’s outright blasphemy which makes it the most logical choice to swear my oath of office.

  4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

    As noted before on this blog, Las Vegas is something well woven into the fabric of my life. I got my start in life there and spent an awful lot of time there as a kid. I have a much different view of Vegas than most. It’s a strange sort of indescribable thing. This book is on my list because, uh, it’s Hunter S. Thompson. What better FU to the whole swearing an oath to the government?

    But mainly, it’s because of this part:

    “A little bit of this town goes a very long way. After five days in Vegas you feel like you’ve been here for five years. Some people say they like it — but then some people voted for Nixon, too. He would have made a perfect mayor for this town…” — Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    C’mon! This is the perfect oath of office swearing in book.

  5. Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, or maybe Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, or possibly Ball Four by Jim Bouton, or, or, or… It’s a long list.

    The right choice for swearing in because baseball is my religion.

Okay, now that the book question is sorted, the next item to tackle is what music is going to be played at my swearing in? I’m going to assume I will be elected to a low-level office with no budgets for live acts. So, assume a bumpin’ sound system. Who gets to warble under my swearing? Ooooh, that’s a good one…..

If you have a mind to, holler at me here or on any of the social medias and tell me what book you want to swear your own oath on. I’d love to cuss and discuss.


The exact moment where the one on the right realized his whole argument was just verbally punched to the ground

Story source.


2 Responses to “Where To Swear Your Oath”

  1. Mama Billie says:

    Karen, I loved this piece which gives more insight into how you came to be such a remarkably creative and authentic woman. It also causes me to reflect on books that impacted me.

    Want to share with you that I also loved Red Sky at Morning when I was young and it’s a book I specifically bought for my grandkids to read. I dont think they have read it yet, but you’ve renewed my zeal to compel them to read it. Reflecting back, the first “chapter book” (I’ve heard kids use that term) I remember reading was Blue Willow. It took me a long time to read as a little girl and I just loved it. I just now looked it up and see that it was written by Doris Gates and is referred to as the “juvenile Grapes of Wrath.” Didn’t know that, just know it comes up in my memory as my first childhood pleasure reading. I’m thinking it should be recommended reading for kids now—builds empathy. It might be a good swearing in book for me. I must admit that as a kid I had a goal of reading The Bible the whole way through, but it hasn’t happened. That’s not a commemtary on religion, just saying it’s not an easy read.

  2. Karen Fayeth says:

    Billie – I am so happy to hear you have given Red Sky at Morning to your grandkids and I do hope they read it. It’s a bit old fashioned, but still relevant.

    I have not heard of Blue Willow, I need to look that one up.

    I too read the bible and got really bogged down in the Old Testament. Had to skip a lot and move over to the New Testament to be able to finish. And boy what a crazy finish to that book….:)

    Thank you so much for the comment!!!