An article recently published by David Boaz on the the Cato Institute website is a good reminder of the limitations of the office of POTUS. We the People have acceded too much power to the head of the federal government in a way that is contrary to the Constitution. In the article, Mr. Boaz states:
[I]t’s important for our understanding of a constitutional republic to be clear on these points. The president is the chief executive of the federal government. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces, not of the entire government and definitely not of 320 million U.S. citizens.
We have afforded quasi-monarchical status to the office in recent years: this is not a new notion. We must remember that there were those who wanted General Washington to be the king of the United States; he flatly refused. He set a precedent that the President be limited in power. We must remember this if we are to remain a Representative Republic.
Likewise, “Commander-in-Chief” is a martial role. It represents the President’s role as the head of the military, but he does not have the power to declare war; that power is reserved to Congress, although they have abrogated that responsibility since WWII. That being said, the military has no obligation to Congress, per se, as affirmed in the Oath of Enlistment:
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.
The oath for officers is slightly different:
I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ 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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.
Officers do not swear/affirm obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over [them]. They are to make conscious decisions to give lawful commands in accordance with the Constitution.
Natural born citizens do not swear/affirm such oaths as this, but naturalized citizens must swear/affirm a similar oath:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
While there is no allegiance to the President, there is in all three oaths two common elements: 1) the person will uphold and defend the Constitution and 2) the person solemnified the oath “so help [them] God. With this affirmation, the person binds himself to the laws of the land and invokes the name of the Almighty to assist them in doing so.
As Southern Gentlemen, we have an obligation to obey those in authority over us. We are not, however, serfs of the State. We must maintain our dignity and ensure those elected to lead in all levels of government remain faithful to their offices and remain within the bounds set forth for them in the Constitution.