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I Do Not Live in Arizona

Arizona has a loyalty oath.

Typing that sentence boggles my mind. I thought loyalty oaths went out with Joe McCarthy and the House Unamerican Activities Committee.

But not in Arizona. Where Jim Sallis, a world-class mystery novelist who made his mark writing and teaching SF earlier in his career, resigned his teaching position at Phoenix College rather than consent to sign.



I've met Jim Sallis a few times over the years (most recently in Gijon, Spain a few years back, where we were both guests at Semana Negra). We're hardly close friends, but he's a good writer and a good man, and I applaud his stand.

A compulsory loyalty oath? In 2015? And... here's the funny part... an oath that not only requires you to swear loyalty to the country, but also to the state. Presumably so they know they can count on you to defend the homeland if Arizona is ever attacked by Utah.

Only in Arizona. The state that led the way in making brown people show their papers on demand. Arizona is a beautiful state, and they have that really nifty canyon, and some great cacti, and an NFL team that looks pretty decent this year... but please, folks, do not confuse my own beloved New Mexico with 'Zona (as people back east are always doing). If Donald Trump ever does become president, I have no doubt that Arizona will be the first state to sign up to build that Wall of his. New Mexico, I can assure you, will be the last.

Anyway... hurrah for Jim Sallsi! If I had a college or university, I'd be sending him a job offer right now. His students should be demanding a refund on their tuition.

As for all the other teachers... the hundreds who meekly signed the Arizona Offical State Loyalty Oath... all I have to say to them is, "Shame, shame, shame."



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Oct. 1st, 2015 05:15 am (UTC)
More widespread than you think...
I don't know if this is still true, but when I began grad school in NY in 1994, at a SUNY school, I distinctly recall having to take/sign a loyalty oath to uphold the constitution of the state of NY (and probably the US as well, but I particularly remember the state part). I highly doubt anything has changed; it's just not getting any press.

Ironically, I now live in Arizona and work for a public institution here, but have no memory of ever having signed a loyalty oath for my current position, although its possible I just forgot.
Oct. 1st, 2015 11:21 am (UTC)
Re: More widespread than you think...
One of the large private universities in New York, one with a progressive reputation, still makes its faculty sign loyalty oaths as well, or did when I was adjunct faculty there less than a decade ago.

Shaming academics, many of whom have undergone years of advanced study only to find themselves in a dismal and exploitative job market, isn't very fair. Sallis may have more options than many of his former colleagues; the shift on the part of institutions to staffing increasingly with non-tenure track and adjunct faculty positions puts many college instructors in situations where they are essentially powerless. The shortage of academic jobs overall means that to turn down a hard-won job offer, quite probably the only one that a highly qualified candidate received, because of a dated and ridiculous loyalty oath, is something many cannot afford to do.
Jacob May
Oct. 1st, 2015 05:56 am (UTC)
To be fair, some of those meek teachers need jobs to survive. Standing on convictions is nice, but it does require ground to stand on. I'm not saying they were right (they weren't), but bills, debt, and a small income can do a lot to a person's resolve.
Oct. 1st, 2015 03:28 pm (UTC)
"Pride is all very well, but a sausage is a sausage." -Gaspode
(no subject) - grrm - Oct. 1st, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Jacob May - Oct. 1st, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Oct. 1st, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Jacob May - Oct. 1st, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ericturner29 - Oct. 1st, 2015 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Oct. 4th, 2015 11:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cashcraig - Oct. 1st, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dannydemiurge - Oct. 2nd, 2015 01:23 am (UTC) - Expand
David Zahn
Oct. 1st, 2015 05:57 am (UTC)
Loyalty Oaths
For citizens of the state and country in question, I don't have a problem with loyalty oaths to constitutions so long as they can be peacefully and democratically amended. You can be an advocate of a total rewrite of the US constitution and not be in violation of an oath to it because there are constitutional means to achieve that. If the essence is "I will not engage in an attempt to violently overthrow the US Constitution" then only folks like Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee would fail and that's really not much of an imposition. However, I would think requiring such an oath from a foreign citizen would not be appropriate.
Oct. 1st, 2015 05:59 am (UTC)
Did you read the oath?
Why should the people of the state of Arizona employ anyone at public expense who will not sign an oath stating he will "support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona"? Why should people who do not support the constitution of the United States or the laws of the state in which they live be able to feast at the public trough from taxpayer funds? We may disagree with certain laws, we may even want to amend the constitution in some way, but if a person wants to change the constitution by unconstitutional means, or change or ignore or break the laws by illegal means, then they are traitors for criminals respectively and have no business being on the public payroll.
Oct. 1st, 2015 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Did you read the oath?
"I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office."

The very fist clause is ok. Then it goes off into fantasyland.

No one in a professional capacity should be asked to pledge to anything mentioning 'faith'. And the whole defending against the enemy thing is pretty much ridiculous.
(no subject) - garseironjade - Oct. 2nd, 2015 12:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you read the oath? - James MacHaffie - Oct. 2nd, 2015 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you read the oath? - grrm - Oct. 4th, 2015 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - garseironjade - Oct. 1st, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Did you read the oath? - grrm - Oct. 2nd, 2015 05:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you read the oath? - Christina Johnson - Oct. 2nd, 2015 08:39 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Did you read the oath? - grrm - Oct. 4th, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you read the oath? - shawnbrock - Oct. 3rd, 2015 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:12 am (UTC)
Even in Texas
I grew up in Texas and every morning growing up they would make us pledge to the Texas flag along with the American flag. Insane.

“ Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible. "

I never understood how you could pledge allegiance to a state.

Edited at 2015-10-01 06:13 am (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Even in Texas
Maybe because it's the United STATES of America. Beyond that, Texas was an independent Republic once. "Lone Star" means something.

States trump most of Federal. People have flipped that the other way around over recent decades and not much good has come of it.
Re: Even in Texas - n_overstreet - Oct. 1st, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Even in Texas - dannydemiurge - Oct. 2nd, 2015 01:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:52 am (UTC)
California's got one too

A teacher was fired in California for refusing to sign it in 2008. She agreed to sign as long as it was accompanied with a document that said "Signing the oath does not carry with it any obligation or requirement that public employees bear arms or otherwise engage in violence."
Oct. 1st, 2015 07:18 am (UTC)
A multimillionaire author who never had to worry about paying for children shaming community college teachers for wanting to keep their jobs, because they signed an oath that, however philosophically odious, will likely have no practical effect whatsoever on their daily lives. How can this not go down well? Ideologically, I also dislike the oath, but I am capable of recognizing that it's much easier to criticize others for not taking a stand when it's not your money/livelihood at stake.
James Mitchell
Oct. 1st, 2015 08:06 am (UTC)
Wait a sec
What is so shameful about public employees - recipients and spenders of public money - promising to uphold the laws of the state? Would we want the opposite? And since we are are all culpable for following the law - whether we like it or not - isn't this a simple reminder of their responsibility? Shall we have a world without oaths? Wouldn't the Seven Kingdoms be a little better with more oaths to constitutions instead of oaths to men? If we look closely at the text of that "loyalty oath", don't we see a revolutionary idea about the social order of the human species.?
Oct. 1st, 2015 08:19 am (UTC)
At least there are people talking about this issue now that this happened. What happened to Sallis is horrible, but maybe now this can start some important discussions about loyalty oaths.

And yes, Arizona would definitely be the first to back Trump if he were (by some god forsaken accident) to become president.
Oct. 1st, 2015 08:27 am (UTC)
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Oct. 1st, 2015 10:57 am (UTC)
Why did he resign? He could have just dug in his heels and refused, and forced them to play out the game, probably getting the ACLU to help him.

A co-worker and I once refused to sign a "Drug-Free Workplace" agreement when we worked for the state of Maryland. In addition to the intent of prohibiting illegal drug use that interfered with work, the wording of the document would legally prohibit using OTC or Rx medication that would "affect performance at work", so to comply I could not take an aspirin for a headache. After several rounds, we were allowed to sign the cover, acknowledging receipt but not agreeing to the content. That was good enough for us at the time, although it could have been interesting to go further with the process. I would have if I had known just how common pre-employment drug tests would eventually become.
Oct. 1st, 2015 11:58 am (UTC)
Well said. You've written some beautifully eloquent passages on the the subject of oaths. I'm thinking your character Jaime Lannister could tell them a thing or two about oaths.
Oct. 1st, 2015 12:19 pm (UTC)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag..."

In any developed country apart from the USA, that is some seriously messed up totalitarian crap right there. Normal modern democracies don't force their children to recite loyalty oaths on a regular basis. This Arizona nonsense is just the cherry on top.
Oct. 1st, 2015 12:28 pm (UTC)
I'm in the middle of a Catch-22 reread and have this problem where once I see something successfully parodied I imagine that no one will do it anymore. I wonder if these oaths will slippery slope like Captain Black's.

I had the same problem with Parks and Rec's Pie-Mary and then months later Bobby Jindal and Hillary Clinton actually baking cookies........
Oct. 1st, 2015 12:47 pm (UTC)
Kingdom of AZ
When you want to establish residency, they send Sheriff Arpaio over and make you swear fealty on his sidearm.
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George R.R. Martin
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