OK, so I’m going to be a bit heavy here, but it all ties in to where we are as a nation and the whole discussion of “seceding”, “rebelling” and “who’s in the right here.”
First off, speaking as a foreign born American, I do believe that I have a different angle on the issue. Not because I’m “better”, but because I wasn’t born to the Pledge. I had to take it, of my own free will. It wasn’t something I was just expected to do because I’d already been born here, much like I wasn’t expected to do a thing to be a Danish Lutheran because you’re pretty much that if you’re born there, and I was expected to give something up that had been my birthright in order to become an American. In other words, it cost me something. I gave away something, I got something, and I signed up for some obligations sworn in blood that were forever.
And I got a fantastic deal. I just want to emphasize that. Because otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.
But it’s different, I believe at least, when you have to make a trade rather than just pledge to the status quo.
So what’s the 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.”
The first part is really important to an immigrant and, obviously, different from what a natural born American has to swear. You’re handing something over, you’re giving something up and, more importantly, to an honorable individual at least, you’re placing yourself in a difficult situation.
Because should, Heaven forbid, your native country ever find itself in a conflict with your new home, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. You can’t simultaneously honor both oaths, you have most surely given a similar oath to the country you were born in, and Hell has a special place for oath breakers and turncloaks, for very good reasons. A man, or a woman, makes no difference, is no better than the value of his or her word.
It took me a long time to take that final step and take the oath for that very reason, and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to be an American with all of my heart, I just knew what I signed up for and an oath is an oath, no exceptions or exemptions. And still it was comparatively easy for me, seeing as how history and the current geopolitical situation makes it highly unlikely that my native country and my adopted one will ever find themselves in armed conflict. I can only imagine how hard it must be for, say, my formerly Russian and Chinese fellow citizens, to have taken that oath. And I know that they’ll stand by it. But they have a much harder burden to bear, given how the world is.
But I gave it gladly and honestly, and I am bound by it forever. Without reservation or purpose of evasion.
Lest I be a turncloak and a traitor.
Then there is the second part I want to touch upon: Against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That doesn’t just mean “that stupid c*nt Barbara Boxer in Californikate”. That means every enemy to that document that you just swore to protect with your sacred honor (including your life, if need be), including that nice neighbor of yours that you’ve had plenty of beers with who once baby-sat your kids when you and the missus wanted to go have a night out on your own.
That one we all share, at least those of us who ever wore a uniform of this country or occupied an office of this country. Which is most of us at least.
Yes, that does mean that if it comes to open conflict between the Prozis (or whatever they choose to call themselves) who want to bury the Constitution as a hateful document that is no longer appropriate for the times we currently live in without following the proper procedures for amending it, then you are honor bound to, should then refuse to yield, strike them dead. You have to, or you will be an oath breaker. You can’t make exceptions for “being a generally nice fellow” or “being dumb”, you’re bound by it.
You will have violated your word just as much as you would have if you let the daughter that you swore to protect be raped without as much as trying to seek justice against the one who raped her.
That’s why I always try to calm the waters when it comes to righteous anger against the imperial presidency. It’s not because those who rail against it are wrong, it’s exactly because they’re right. But once you cross that river, you can’t go back.
You just have to be really, really sure that you’re willing to cross it before you do, because there’s no going back once your feet are wet.
And it’s also the reason why I’m done talking about “seceding.” I’m not the one “seceding.” I’m not the “rebel”. I’m among the ones who’ve decided to uphold their oaths and telling the others to either fuck off or die. Because the flag I swore an oath to, the principles that I swore to uphold with my life, no matter where the threat against them might come from, belong to me and my blood brothers and sisters, not them.
They don’t own Old Glory. They don’t own the appellation “American”.
And all we have to say to them if they want it is: “Come and get it.”