Before I begin this month's column, I wonder if I might ask you, readers, to carefully read and sign the pledge below.
Fabulous. Now that that is taken care of, we can move on to my column for this month, which coincidentally is about the taking of oaths. Specifically, the one Virginia Republicans almost had to take to vote in this month's presidential primary. It all seems so silly now because it was squashed like a bug by right-thinking Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, and because the Virginia primary will have as much impact on the nomination process as the wind does on Callista Gingrich's hair.
But there was a time back before the new year when this seemed like a dandy idea to some in the Virginia GOP. Granted, a lot of things might seem like a good idea when you and all your buddies meet up at the Homestead, yet this stinker was actually packed up and brought home to Richmond after the GOP State Central Committee's annual winter meeting at the posh resort. Perhaps what happened at the Homestead should've stayed at the Homestead.
The idea (which was attempted and flopped in 2008, by the way) was to prevent the sabotage of the primary voting process by independents or — gasp ! — Democrats who might dare to vote in the open primary. As a state in which voters are not required to register with a particular party, the open primary system has always faced the prospect of, shall we say, infiltration. The Virginia GOP has avoided this kind of thing in the past by holding statewide conventions some years instead of primaries, specifically to avoid possible contamination by the votes of the aforementioned mudbloods. But this year they concocted the brilliant idea of having voters in the primary take and sign an oath promising that, regardless of the candidate they chose that day, they would support the eventual GOP nominee in November.
"I, the undersigned," the oath was to have read, "pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president."
Failure to sign it would have gotten you barred from voting, but what did election officials intend to do about voters who agreed to sign the pledge and then exercised their God-given, constitutional right to do whatever the hell they wanted in November? However did they intend to enforce this ridiculous pledge? Make you wear a scarlet "L" if you got caught voting for President Obama?
Being that only two names — Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — will even appear on those ballots makes it all the more comical. Getting a Ron Paul voter to sign, much less stick to, an oath like that would be like asking a Tech alum to promise to adorn his SUV with Wahoo decals if the Hokies fall out of contention. In other words, an utterly futile and useless promise.
I remember as a kid that a boy named Johnny in my neighborhood started a kids' police force. Every kid in the neighborhood wanted in on this thing. Part of the initiation was that you had to go into Johnny's garage and take part in some secret ritual, which included a loyalty oath to the force and all its secrets and information. I am guessing you had to swear on a Bible as well as some vital body part of your mother's. I was going to go over there and do it, but I lost my nerve and turned for home.
At 9, I took my swearing and my mother's eyes very seriously. But I'm not 9 anymore. And thank goodness, neither are Virginia voters, who thankfully weren't duped into the political equivalent of a pinky-swear.