Our democracy is being driven off the road by the guardrails of common sense, inaction and ignorance having been broken down.

Isn’t it common sense that Congress should have a rule summarily dismissing a Congress member for violating the oath taken when the person took office? It reads, in part, “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.”

All professional jobs come with guidelines that, if violated, result in automatic expulsion, not a vote that includes buddies.

Demanding the execution of anyone, let alone the person third in line to the presidency, is NOT a violation of the First Amendment. It is downright illegal because the amendment does not cover, in part: “fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action, solicitations to commit crimes.”

All have been uttered by the former president, his son, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Marjorie Taylor Greene, etc. Not taking action against those who violate their oaths is unacceptable. Ignorance might explain why insurrectionists think allowing guns in the Capitol violates their Second Amendment. It does not. In fact, under federal, state and local laws, guns are prohibited or restricted in “sensitive public places.” Don’t representatives know that? Five people died because people didn’t seem to know that or chose to ignore it.

One of the many guardrails needed could be: a civics and constitutional quiz added to the slim requirements. Why? To serve in Congress, one need only be 25 years old, a seven-year U.S. citizen and an inhabitant of the state they wish to represent. The time to rely on the morality and honor of elected officials to behave respectfully in carrying out the laws of our country for all has passed. Americans are supposedly gathered as “one nation indivisible” — unless we run off the road.

Retired professor Winchinchala von der Vogelweide is a Wampanoag Native American from Massachusetts. Years ago, she became a plumassier, a feather artist in Santa Fe.

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