It's only 35 words carefully crafted by the Founding Fathers as part of the Constitution and uttered by fewer than four dozen men during our nation's history.
The words have gotten muffed a time or two, most notably by former President Howard Taft after he became chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and was swearing in Herbert Hoover. You'd think a former president would have done better, but the basic meaning was the same.
As scripted by the 18th century's BFFs (Best Founding Fathers), the presidential oath of office goes: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Brief and to the point, but it is not the words repeated by President Barack Obama at Monday's inauguration that create consternation. The problem is the way some people hear the words or think they understand what he's really saying, especially the "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" part.
They are sure they heard him say he would "faithfully execute the office of dictator" and will work to "shred, trample and commit unspeakable acts with" the Constitution. That's because they have been certain from day one of his administration that he is going to gather up everyone's guns.
So far, the only thing that has happened is gun sales have soared. The invisible black helicopters have not come knocking, but the National Rifle Association insists it's all a ruse and Obama has been lulling people into a false sense of security, sort of like the one they get from buying more guns. His plan all along has been to get the guns during his second term.
As he embarks on another four years, just as the NRA predicted, Obama is calling out his jack-booted minions to ... require more background checks for those seeking to buy a gun. He also wants to eliminate the high-capacity ammunition clips designed for military use. See! Wake up, America. The helicopters are coming.
I'm reminded of a song from about four decades ago. See if you remember this one.
"Remember when we told you that Obama would be coming for the guns our Founding Fathers said were guaranteed?
"Well, you didn't listen and so things got worse and worse and now you see he's going to take them all away.
"And, he's coming to take them away, ha-ha. He's coming to take them away, ho-ho, he-he, ha-ha.
"And the magazines with a hundred rounds for shooting deer, like Bambi's mom,
"And he'll be happy to take our Uzis and nuclear arms because
"He's coming to take them away."