Term Of Allegiance
Editorial by Boyd Evan White
How is your allegiance officially given and taken in the United States of America in 2018?
It is either obtained via the citizenship test and Naturalization Oath upon immigration or a person is natural born and their allegiance is assumed.
If a person is natural born they and their parents, while the person is underage, are subjected to many offers which upon acceptance connotate an acknowledgment of allegiance to their government: birth certificate, social security number, applying for licenses, registering for the draft.
Allegiance deserves more consideration than the opaque promises obtained via the Naturalization Oath or to be assumed from a Natural Born person. Allegiance also requires the mature acknowledgment that giving it means you are no longer entirely free since you are bound by the association thereof.
During the 1990’s there was a movement called “Contract With America” which could be interpreted as a petition for allegiance in exchange for a set of promises. This is not a comprehensive example since it had a partisan political foundation.
Looking to the U.S. Constitution, since it is the highest law, this has been said:
“The constitution not only binds nobody now, but it never did bind anybody. It never bound anybody, because it was never agreed to by anybody in such a manner as to make it, on general principles of law and reason, binding upon him. It is a general principle of law and reason, that a written instrument binds no one until he has signed it. This principle is so inflexible a one, that even though a man is unable to write his name, he must still ‘make his mark,’ before he is bound by a written contract.” – Lysander Spooner “No Treason No. 6: The Constitution of No Authority”
Conversely, if you have signed the U.S. Constitution, that would indeed be a good example of giving your allegiance.
However, some logic gaps then need to be addressed:
1) What of the people living within the boundaries and jurisdiction of the country who will not sign? Answering this question has led to some horrible massacres noted throughout history.
2) When will the offer to sign and give your allegiance be presented? A logical assumption would be at a coming-of-a-rite like those of the past; moreover, this affirmation of adulthood does not seem like a bad thing compared with an arbitrary entry into adulthood.
3) Will the giving of your allegiance be a onetime static declaration? That does not seem reasonable nor practical. Which exposes the underlying fact that once allegiance is given it can be retracted.
Now, the actual exercise of allegiance in our daily lives probably most resembles the observation, “Long periods of inactivity followed by short bursts of extreme activity.” That being said, when the time comes, having your allegiance in prime shape is of great value. A more melodramatic interpretation of allegiance, but no less accurate, would claim that it is lived with every heartbeat and every breath. Once again, since the time between each heartbeat and each breath is so immediate, having your allegiance in prime shape is of great value.
To make sure we have given the matter full consideration it also must be observed that your allegiance should not be harried, especially if you hold your allegiance as close as a heartbeat or a breath, by constantly being asked, “Do you want to sign the Constitution? Do you want to sign the Constitution? Do you want to sign the Constitution?”
To solve the logic gaps noted above, a civilized mature treatment of allegiance should allow people to say “no” or “not sign” without being subjected to being killed or classified as lesser class citizens, it’s declaration or lack thereof should be obtained starting as an entry into adulthood, and it should not be a static declaration.
Note, in the USA we would be discerning the status of allegiance to our Republic; however, the instrument or tool would be democratic in nature to learn the societal count as well as give individual respect. Consider today, how many would “sign” or say “yes” giving their allegiance and how many would “not sign” or say “no.” For perspective, some signed the Constitution on the last day of the Federal Convention of 1787 and some did not sign; moreover, some voted “yes” to accept the Constitution during the State Ratifying Conventions and some voted “no”.
This brings up another important point, that being the quality of a person’s “not signing” or saying “no”. We are discussing a mature treatment of allegiance which allows people to “not sign” or say “no”…but turn your mind’s eye and memories to the exact quality…from all the people and things you have seen…and assess how people have been saying “no” to America for the past 50 years. Not a very civil quality at all.
Yes, Democracy is dangerous and is not to be compared with our Republic; however, it is dangerous as well to confuse a civil “not signing” or saying “no” with violent invective laden declarations of dis-allegiance under the guise of Freedom.
Which brings us to a civil “Term of Allegiance”. Using the conventional age of eighteen when the Constitution would be presented for a “yes” or “no” declaration of allegiance, then, using as an example a term of four years, the option to say “yes” or “no” to the Constitution would again be presented, continuing throughout their lives.
At any one time the status of allegiance in the United States of America could be ascertained by the current percentage of those who are in the “yes” state and those in the “no” state.
There is a mitigating aspect to the finality of this method of determining the status of allegiance in the USA which is that the Term of Allegiance date for citizens would correspond to the citizen’s birth date. Therefore, the actual count of those who have given their allegiance and those who have withheld it would change from day to day.
The obvious question is, “Why would we need to determine the status of allegiance in the USA?” Consider, at what point would there have to be an official acknowledgment there is something wrong…for example, if 50%…75%….85%…90% of the adult population withheld their allegiance and did so for longer than many years?
Which turns the spotlight on what could happen during the life cycle of a Term of Allegiance that could impel a person to switch their official allegiance? That is a pertinent question due to the fact an Amendment could be passed fundamentally changing life under the U.S. Constitution that would make people want to toggle their allegiance immediately. Not to mention Laws, Treaties and Presidential Executive Agreements. Since the proposed Term of Allegiance would be an orderly four years people would not immediately be able to toggle their allegiance tempering their expectations and emotions. Reality is sometimes not elegant; however, reality should be dealt with some ratiocination.
Criticism against a Term of Allegiance ranges from “Another level of bureaucracy would be required to keep track of the declarations” to “Officially obtaining a declaration of allegiance is anti-freedom”. These observations cannot be denied. That being acknowledged, accepting nihilism, apathy and violent invective laden dis-allegiance as normal or as an aspect of freedom can be criticized as well.
Another dangerous point is the easy identification of those who say “no” and withhold their allegiance even if it is just for a term of four years. No matter how much gloss of philosophy and reassurances are given this aspect is not only dangerous but scary; spotlighting the evil in the phrase “Government is a necessary evil”.
What other assets and liabilities to saying “no” can be discerned? The most obvious being, “Whoo hoo, I said “no” so I don’t have to pay taxes or drive limited to 65 miles per hour.” Sorry chum, this is about allegiance, not about the making, following and enforcing the laws.
On a more positive note, implementing a Term of Allegiance for all adults would go a long way to obtaining Gender and Racial equality of allegiance.
For instance, a person must be thirty-five years old to be elected President. If the first Term of Allegiance is presented at eighteen years of age that means at least five Terms of Allegiance would have transpired before a person could be elected President. Since it would be a matter of public record how a person’s allegiance progressed throughout their life they could be questioned about how they officially gave or withheld their allegiance.
And for those immigrating, what if a person passed the citizenship test, took the Naturalization Oath, then, promptly said “no” civilly for every Term of Allegiance thereafter. Would their “no” be any worse than a Natural Born anarchist or religious person who tries to abstain from the ways of the world? Of course, it should be made clear to the immigrant that capability to say “no” at a Term of Allegiance does not give them license to be criminally anti-American.
Universally, a truly felonious act, not an administrative felony, should be held as much more than a crime; it should be held as treasonous to allegiance.
John Quincy Adams once said, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
Of how much greater value is your allegiance, given or withheld, than voting?
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