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No to the American's Creed

I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.
— The American's Creed as quoted in Embracing the American's Creed

Regarding the creed.


So here is this marvelous piece of 1917 poetry, and I said no. Why?

It's the difference between the Dream and the actuality.

One topic I've been debating recently is the emergency powers of the President. If you accept that the President has the power to declare emergencies, it's not exactly “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It's literally what one man said, not subject to debate or dissent. Theoretically it can be revised by Congress, but in practice it never is.

It doesn't stop there. Some agencies have power to regulate the people and the states. While sometimes these powers are subject to Congressional review, usually these regulations have the power of law without actually being law. What's worse is that the agencies often have administrative courts with different requirements. It's outside the normal court system and not subject to the rules of law. These regulations do not come from the "consent of the governed."

America has not been “a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States” since at least the Civil War. Everything from education to Prohibition to the EPA has been forced on the states, often in direct violation of the wishes of the citizens of the states. There's very little way to opt out.

America was never meant to be a “a perfect Union, one and inseparable;”. The phrase comes from the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, but somehow the creed left out one word that changes the meaning. We're not meant to have a perfect union, we're supposed to have a more perfect union. As in we haven't done it yet, it's a work in progress. We're still arguing over what that means and how we can do it.

And yes, that means that if people don't like it, they can leave it. Even whole states.

Those ideals of “freedom, equality, justice, and humanity” are mutually incompatible. Specifically, freedom and justice aren't about equality or humanity. For most of the 20th Century, the idea of equality was used to rein in exceptional and unusual people. They couldn't be allowed to challenge the status quo. I don't know what the ideals of humanity are, but I am pretty sure we don't agree.

Speaking of justice, there are unjust American laws. Mandatory minimum sentencing, civil forfeiture, eminent domain, vice laws, laws and regulations preventing the use of precious metals as legal tender, mandatory union dues, "free speech" zones, zoning laws, the list goes on and on.

Nobody, no person, no institution, and certainly no nation deserves love without reservation. If you do not question what your nation does, you have failed as a citizen. The Constitution is not perfect and certainly the law is not perfect. And lest we forget, this nation was founded on the biggest and most polite "screw you" in human history. You can't choose liberty unless you embrace the right to walk away.

That's it. That's why my response is a simple word.


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