The State of Illinois asks candidates to affirm a ‘Loyalty’ Oath when filing signature petitions for ballot access. The oath would likely be uncontroversial and inconsequential except that when Illinois Government established this oath it was more interested in stamping out dissent and trampling the first amendment to the US Constitution than to actually verifying loyalty. Therefore the oath itself becomes a bizarre trick question where affirming the oath actually does “indirectly … advocate [an] unlawful change in the form of the governments thereof by … unlawful means.”  The Federal Courts have even confirmed the oath itself skirts the US Constitution, so the oath itself is an unlawful means to change the form of government in the United States to occlude dissenting viewpoints from our republican form of government: thus undermining a key Constitutional guarantee. Even making it optional is questionable since it is using the power of a governmental election authority to malign political viewpoints which are unpopular and against the established rulers.

So let me break it down to see just how anti-American this loyalty oath is.

I, _____, do swear (or affirm):

  • that I am a citizen of the United States and the State of Illinois,
  • that I am not affiliated directly or indirectly with any communist organization or any communist front organization, or any foreign political agency, party, organization or government which advocates the overthrow of constitutional government by force or other means not permitted under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State
  • that I do not directly or indirectly teach or advocate the overthrow of the government of the United States or of this State or any unlawful change in the form of the governments thereof by force or any unlawful means.

Imagine instead if the Illinois Legislature wanted to grind an axe against the Republican Party – to infringe upon the first amendment rights of the Republican Party instead. Then we might have seen a loyalty oath like this:

I, _____, do swear (or affirm):

  • that I am a citizen of the United States and the State of Illinois,
  • that I am not affiliated directly or indirectly with any Republican Party organization or any Republican Party front organization, or any foreign political agency, party, organization or government which advocates the overthrow of constitutional government by force or other means not permitted under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State
  • that I do not directly or indirectly teach or advocate the overthrow of the government of the United States or of this State or any unlawful change in the form of the governments thereof by force or any unlawful means.

The Illinois Loyalty Oath demonstrates a greater desire to grind an axe against communist and communist leaning citizens of the State of Illinois at the expense of actually preventing any unlawful undermining of the constitutional governments of the United States and Illinois. Note too that the loyalty oath includes the word ‘foreign’ implying that a domestic organization “which advocates the overthrow of constitutional government by force or other means not permitted under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State” would be perfectly acceptable and loyal to Illinois election authorities.

While it may be somewhat questionable whether any Loyalty Oath is constitutional or appropriate at all if it asks for anything other than the Constitutionally inscribed requirements for the office sought (after all we have several Tea Party / Republican party candidates advocating second amendment remedies and other violent overthrow as part of their campaign), at least a Loyalty Oath without an axe to grind could simply read (without the red text added):

I, _____, do swear (or affirm) that I am a citizen of the United States and the State of Illinois, that I am not affiliated directly or indirectly with any political agency, party, organization or government which advocates the overthrow of constitutional government by force or other means not permitted under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State; that I do not directly or indirectly teach or advocate the overthrow of the government of the United States or of this State or any unlawful change in the form of the governments thereof by force or any unlawful means.

The imposition of the Illinois Loyalty Oath with such repugnant language (the language in red above)  is a tactic we would expect only from a fascist government and stands in stark contrast to the ideals of the US to prohibit government from infringing on anyone’s ability to speak their own views or associate with others holding dissenting views.

I did not submit the optional loyalty oath. I think to do so actually exhibits a contempt for the ideals of the United States. Even worse we get candidates from time-to-time who proudly chastise their opponents for not swearing or affirming an oath which actually unlawfully undermines the US and Illinois Constitutions while swearing not to do so.