I got into a discussion over Facebook that has stayed civil (for now) over the Pledge of Allegiance. Since, to steal a line from Tam, I hate using good material at an away game, I'll share my thoughts here.
I personally feel that the 'under God' clause at this point ought to be removed, even if for no other reason than the fractious nature of the debate. For those who object to that clause, I have no problem with them forgoing that phrase. While this country is founded on a great many religious principles, adherence is expected to the principles, not to the religion.
The real problem here is that the American people doesn't exist anymore. We have a great many people who live in the USA, but truly don't hold any allegiance to it. Do I think they should be afforded the privileges of citizenship? Absolutely not. There's a reason that the Pledge is part of the naturalization procedure.
Let's actually break it down a little. It's a remarkable oath.
"I pledge allegiance" This is important. A pledge is an act of putting your honor on the line. Allegiance is not obedience. Allegiance is an alignment of will. You stake your honor on aligning yourself with what's to come.
"To the flag of the United States of America" Also important. This does not say "to the government of the USA". Governments are made of people, and are therefore fallible. The flag is a symbol, as expanded in the next part.
"And to the republic for which it stands" Not just a governmental system, but THIS republic, and the philosophies and ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. There's a lot wrapped up in that little statement.
"One nation" Here's where it falls apart today. According to Wikipedia, "A nation is a large group of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history." We don't have that today. The immigrant nature of the American people means that ethnicity, descent and history can't be sources of our nation. Instead it is the American culture and the english language (YES I will take flak for this but it's the language of the land de facto if not de jure) that can give unity. Both have been rejected.
Allegiance to the one nation means a sense of unity with the other people of America. It means casting aside other identities and calling yourself an American, and knowing what that means.
"Under God" I would not expect someone who didn't believe in God to stake their honor on God. This phrase was added much later than everything else and really should be stricken. It is divisive, which is interesting considering...
"Indivisible" This again is One Nation. I won't reiterate.
"With Liberty and Justice for All" Foundational principles to the United States. Note, not liberty and justice for Citizens, or "the right folk", All. Again, an unpopular thing today, whether or not people want to admit it.
This oath is not about obedience to a group of people. It is about allegiance to principles. I think the misunderstanding of what this oath IS has contributed a lot to its lack of popularity. It's almost subversive in its nature, since no obedience is owed the government, merely the principles. Indeed, it is an obligation on your honor to act to keep the government in line with these principles.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I have been accused of having an anti-authority streak many a time. While I most certainly see where that is coming from, I don't think it's quite the right word for my attitudes. I am a big fan of authority, provided it is duly constituted and properly executed. I am no great fan of authority that seeks to control me against my will.
That is what Islam has become today. I know people who call themselves Muslim, many of whom are lovely people and many of whom are just as frustrated at a lot of the stuff I'm going to be talking about as I am, often moreso. This is not directed at them.
This is however directed at every person who calls him or her self a Muslim and does not speak out against Isis, Al Qaeda, and all their ilk.
I am an active member of a proselyting faith. I think things would be better for people and the world as a whole if those people were to join. As such, I work towards educating people about my faith, and giving people the opportunity to decide if they care for it. The difference is simple. I don't chop anyone's head off if they decide that I'm full of baloney.
Similarly, I'm not suggesting bombing Islamic civilian centers. I'm not interested in invading and getting them all to renounce Islam. The only situation in which I am interested in using coercive force as regards them is to protect America and our friends, particularly Israel in this specific instance.*
We just passed the 13 year mark on the September 11 attacks. It, and many other smaller incidents ever since, marked Islamist attempts to control us. They cannot control us all by force, so they choose to allow us to control ourselves with fear. They seek to make themselves the bogeymen behind every door and at every border.
In that sense, for many people they won. Benghazi was blamed not on problems of Islamist aggression, but on a youtube video no one saw. Even if the organized militia shelling rockets and rifle fire on the embassy was in fact a pure response to this video, we did terribly wrong in ever blaming the author of the video.
This simply places the burden on us to not offend them, rather than on them not to commit acts of war. Is that not precisely what they want? It is a tacit acknowledgment that we are evil and deserve what they would do to us. I don't know about you, but I find that a highly offensive notion.
This is a concept that is very popular today. Every heinous act is explained away as "he was abused as a child" or "she had a hard time making friends" or other bad experiences in the past. While these can certainly help explain the motivations, in no sense does it excuse the acts.
I want to make one last comment before closing for the time being. Note I have not called these people at any time 'extremists'. This is, quite simply, because the world's muslim population seems by and large to accept it, even if not actively condone. For those who would say Islam is a peaceful religion, prove it. Speak out against this. Make the case that this is not the true face of Islam. For those who say nothing, know that you tacitly agree to allow Isis and their ilk to be the face of Islam.
These people only have what power you give them.
*Not because Israel is different than any of our other allies, but rather because I don't think South Korea for instance is at quite so much risk from Islamist states.
Posted by The Scribbler at 5:57 PM