I think about the oath now and realize that it was instituted during the McCarthy era in the 1950s to eliminate teachers who belonged to the Communist Party. (The oath, because of court decisions, has been revised to exclude firing because of membership in any club or organization.) I am part of the white privileged group in the U.S. who doesn't often experience the fear that can erupt when questions about our thinking, our origins, our family history, and/or our political positions arise.
|A cartoon that appeared in the company newsletter where|
my dad worked as an engineer for a short time during WWII.
Many people involved in the entertainment industry were denounced, even without proof, to the House Un-American Activities Committee during the 1950s. My dad was a widely-published comic strip artist by then. He knew of one artist who couldn't find work because of suspicions about his loyalty. My parents worried about the threat of being accused of being members of the Communist Party, even though they were not politically active. I remember as a child feeling that fear from my parents.
One Saturday my family climbed into the car and drove to Alhambra to shop. My dad, as he usually did, left the car unlocked with windows open. When we returned, a flier had been thrown on the front passenger seat. My mother picked up the paper, which was an invitation to a Communist Party gathering, and hid it under her purse. At home, she put the flier on the entry desk with the intent of disposing of it later. Before she had a chance to do that, a friend came over. The flier was still on the table though no one mentioned it.
When the friend left, I remember the look of fear that crossed my parents' faces when my mother picked up the flier off the table. If the friend reported seeing the invitation, my dad could lose his job. Luckily for them, the friend either didn't see the flier or didn't care. The incident was soon erased when the paper was torn up and put in the garbage. But that sense of fear has never left me. I had an inkling of what some people live with every day and I haven't forgotten that.
|My dad loved to draw horses and the freedom they represented.|
"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter."
In 2013, two artists from Britain went to Normandy to commemorate International Peace Day by marking the beach in honor of the men who were killed during D-Day of World War II.
Their blog, reached by clicking on the link below, describes what they did: a beautiful example of caring about sacrifice, loyalty and honor.