On Sept. 17, the University of Tulsa’s Honors Program welcomed Phi Beta Kappa Carl F. Cranor Visiting Scholar Corey Brettschneider to talk about his latest book, “The Oath and the Office.” The book explores both the current and previous presidents, members of cabinet and the different ways each one handled scandal, both in office and the turmoil at the time. “The Oath and the Office” also went into detail about how much power POTUS actually has, what is considered abuse and the accountability of their actions. It’s not just the president that deals with this responsibility; it’s the men and women that are involved in the executive power, too.
Brettschnieder’s book is eye-opening. The research that was done is tremendous, and necessary, especially with current political tension. Though the book answers many questions, it’s also open ended, leaving the reader wondering what will happen this upcoming election and what we are not seeing for ourselves as a nation.
During the seminar, Brettschneider’s passion for politics was magnetic. He was straightforward and had a clear insight into our current cultural moment and the historical context leading to it, all without introducing partisanship into the conversation.
He stated concrete facts. However, he did leave the audience with many open ended thoughts about the current political climate, the future for U.S. politicians and the future of our law. Aside from the presidential history, Brettschneider also discussed the U.S. constitution as well as the different amendments and the different debates and protests they’ve caused. As he spoke about these issues, he pointed out how they were used by the government, destructively (abuse of power) and constructively (for the good of the public). Each time he spoke of something new, you could feel the intensity of his thoughts.
Throughout the event, he was not only engaged in his work, but in the questions that audience members had. Each time a question or a statement came up, whether it was about the book or his thoughts, he always encouraged the individual to think outside the box, to think critically and to look at the concrete and abstract details that were surrounding the issues. This came in handy as it was mentioned — especially towards the end — that the questions that were asked were also questions to keep in mind for future research projects. The students were encouraged to push forward with their findings and to keep in mind a specific argument. “The Oath and the Office” is available wherever books are sold.