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Published: Thursday, 11/22/2012

False allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Note the word “indivisible” in the Pledge. It means the nation cannot be split into parts. Yet that is exactly what hundreds of thousands of voters who were disgusted by President Obama’s re-election would have their states do.

Secession. Didn’t the Civil War to preserve the Union put that idea in its grave? Would some Americans ignore the sacrifice of the nation’s forefathers who set the United States on the path to being both a superpower and a bastion of freedom?

Incredibly, the answers may be no and yes. More than 750,000 people in every state but Vermont have signed online petitions to leave the Union.

The would-be secessionists are nothing if not impertinent. To register their anger, they are using a White House Web site called “We the People,” which allows Americans in the spirit of the First Amendment to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

But there are grievances and there is what might be called poor-loser syndrome, with its imaginary grudges.

The ironies are thick: Believing their own propaganda about President Obama being a “socialist” — and born in Kenya, of course — some on the far right seem ready to betray their own principles.

Conservatives have long held the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to be a litmus test of patriotism. (George H.W. Bush pilloried Michael Dukasis in the 1988 presidential election for allegedly insufficient devotion to it.) Now, some would regard its words as nothing more than a meaningless ritual.

They treat the flag as a sacred object, yet some would carve out a new nation under a different flag. Although their love of country is supposedly huge, the most disaffected would turn their backs on the nation the Founders created.

This is crackpot stuff. Secession has no hope of succeeding, and would materially hurt a lot of states that did leave the Union. This movement would be funny if it were not symptomatic of irrational, deep-seated hatred in the land.

What can bring patriotic Americans who would renounce this nation back to reality and their senses? Maybe they should recite the Pledge of Allegiance as if they mean it.



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