Like many others, I’ve been contemplating in disgust the celebrity “pledge” video for Barack Obama (warning, viewing may induce vomiting). And thinkers and writers from our own aglanon to Andrew Brietbart have written wonderful and appropriate responses to the celebs in question. So I’m not going to do that here. Not really.
Instead, I’m simply going to share what I learned from the video. Or, rather, not from the video per se, but from my and others’ reactions to it. And that is simply the answer to the question, to whom are we loyal? To what are we pledging when we pledge our allegience? It is clear from the content of the above video that those celebrities involved cannot but pledge their allegience to a leader (a term I use in the loosest possible sense) — somebody who will tell them how and when to act, and what they ought to think.
But regular individuals? True Patriots? Men and women who echo our Founding Fathers? I think for most Conservatives, our Pledge of Loyalty is to God and Country.
Our Country. No matter who is at her helm, it is our Country which makes us Americans. It is our Country which makes our chests burst with pride. Our Country, the love of which brings tears to our eyes.
When we pledge our allegience to her flag, it is to the standard and symbolism of our country — the Republic for which it stands — the symbol of pride in one nation (formed of many individual states and, indeed, many individuals), under God and Indivisible. And it is to those inseperable ideals of Liberty and Justice.
In the waning years of the 18th century, a group of men turned to revolution — not, at first, to get out from under the heel of the King, but merely to gain the status and favor of any citizen of that Kingdom. In 1776, those men realized that the only way to truly be gain those freedoms to which they believed themselves to be morally entitled — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — was to not simply battle the Kingdom on their own behalf, but to sever their ties to it, and most importantly, to forge a new nation.
And this new nation — the first of its kind — would be built, not on the mortar of aristocracy or serfdom, but on those same endowments of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It was from this single idea — “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” — that this country was born. Her governance, her Constitution, her life’s blood.
Just like a charter, in a very real sense, is itself the organization for which it was drafted, the Constitution of the United States is the country herself. This Country — the United States of America — does not exist without her Constitution. As parts of the Constitution are threatened, so does America lose a piece of herself. If the Constitution of our country is allowed to die, the United States of America will be destroyed — without a single bomb dropped or airplane hijacked.
A Country is not defined by its name, nor by its geography, nor even by its citizens. Citizens make up a nation, but a Country is defined by her ideals. When Communists took over Russia, they recognized this very fact, and noted it by changing the name of it. When Communism was routed from that same area, a name change again denoted the passage of one country and the birth of a new one (or, rather, several new ones).
We have a new President; one with whom I disagree strongly about the direction and leadership of this country. But Barack H. Obama is indeed my President, so long as he presides over my Country. I pledge myself in his service, not because I agree with him, nor even like him, but because I pledge myself to my Country. I (unlike certain celebrities mentioned at the top of this post) have never seriously threatened to flee this country based on who helms it — because it is my country. This doesn’t mean President Obama will find himself free of dissent. My Country holds my loyalty — the President is merely Head Servant.
But I also serve notice. My Country is founded upon a Constitution. A Constitution which was forged with certain intent. And no matter how legislation or executive order is worded or spun, I recognize when that Constitution is being undermined. And on the day the Constitution is negated, that is the day my country — that to which I pledge with my forebears my life, my fortune and my sacred honor — will cease to exist.