Petition for Testing on Constitutional Knowledge for Advancement.
Posted on: August 23, 2021
As a K-12 student, one learns about the US Constitution and the letter sent to King George (aka The Declaration of Independence). We memorize and recite the preamble to the Constitution. We learned the Constitution set forth the plan for how the federal government should operate, the three independent branches of the government, and the initial 10 amendments (aka The Bill of Rights). Sadly, we learned nothing more about the Constitution.
In comparison, when a person from another country immigrates to the US and wants to become a citizen, the person must go through a process known as Naturalization. The Naturalization process requires a minimum of at least five years as a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the US with continuous residence and reached age 18 prior to submitting the Application for Naturalization. The person must show that s/he is of good moral character and have been of good moral character for at least five years immediately before the date s/he files for Naturalization. Additionally, the person must take a test proving knowledge of history and principles of government of the US; along with a basic knowledge of English. Finally, the person must swear an Oath of Allegiance to the US.
Rumor suggests that the Civics portion of the Naturalization test provides significant challenge that High School students couldn’t pass the test.
Questions a High School student may miss are:
- Why do US Representatives server shorter terms than US Senators?
- Name three ways people can become US citizens.
- Many documents influenced the US Constitution. Name one excluding the Declaration of Independence.
When people join the US military, they swear an oath that says:
“I, ___________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that 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; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Further, when a person joins the National Guard or Air National Guard for his or her State, the person swears an oath similar to the following:
“I, ___________ , do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia; that I make this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ___________ in the National Guard of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia, upon which I am about to enter; so help me God.”
Notice the distinction between this oath and the oath given by a US service member. Members of the Guard swear defense of the State Constitution and the US Constitution.
How can a US service member or a Guardsman faithfully support and defend the US Constitution and/or a State Constitution when that service member lacks a full knowledge of the contents of the US Constitution and/or State Constitution? We can’t.
We the undersigned petition the president of the United States and governors of each state/territory to require the following:
- All US service members (officers and enlisted) be tested on their knowledge of the contents of the US Constitution and its Amendments at each step of advancement in rank.
- All members of State National Guards and State Air National Guards be tested on their knowledge of the contents of the US Constitution, its Amendments, their respective State Constitution and its Amendments at each step of advancement in rank.