Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I Oppose Pledging "Allegiance" to the Georgia Flag

“I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.”
Certainly seems innocuous enough, right? Who could possibly disagree to the principle of Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation? Not to mention fidelty to the state which you serve? Well, there's plenty wrong with it when you look into the history of such a pledge.

In 2009, Sens. Pearson, Rogers, Williams, Wiles, Mullis, and Seabaugh introduced SR 632 - A RESOLUTION affirming states' rights based on Jeffersonian principles; and for other purposes (http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/search/sr632.htm). Sens. Williams and Rogers are the key leaders controlling the Senate at this point, and this pledge is part of their radical "states rights" agenda.

This resolution restated controversial propositions of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Among other things, this established Jefferson's belief that states had some kind of extra constitutional veto over federal legislation or action a state believed usurped its authoirty under the shared sovereignty doctrine of the Constitution. What the resolution fails to mention is that 10 states specifically condemned KY and VA for passing those resolutions and the ideas contained within them. South Carolina explicitly relied upon these resolutions in 1832 when it tried to nullify the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832. President Jackson had to make preparations to invade South Carolina by force before a political compromise cooled the situation and South Carolina backed off.

The Constitution makes the laws of the United States the supreme laws of the land. Anything a state does contradictory to federal law is null and void. States have no nullification rights, and it's attitudes like those of the GA GOP Senate caucus that led to the Civil War, which honestly answered the question forever. We are AMERICANS first, citizens of the United States of America. We are citizens of our state and locality second. How can you pledge loyalty to the United States of America while at the same time pledging the same loyalty to the state of Georgia without diminishing BOTH pledges? I argue that you cannot.

Further, under our constitutional system, it is not up to the state legislature to interpret the US Constitution. We have courts for that, and the Supreme Court is more than willing to throw out federal laws that overreach federal authority. Implied threats of violence inherent in nullification and secesstion should not be tolerated. This is this spirit of nullification and threat of succession which is driving this "state pledge" idea. Even State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) said that the pledge to GA was needed, “given the usurpations of Washington.” I understand that Franklin doesn't like the outcome of the elections of 2008 or any of the laws LEGALLY passed by the Congress now ending. But there are legal ways to attack such laws, and nullification/secession is NOT included.

What this pledge does is try to drive a wedge between Georgians and the United States Government. It says, "Sure, I pledge allegiance to the United States...only so long as it doesn't piss Georgia off." We are ONE nation, under God, INDIVISIBLE...as the national pledge says. Taking a pledge to Georgia does seem harmless, but the ideas driving it are dangerous and sinister. As a result, I would hope that my state Senator, Jason Carter, wouldn't participate.  However, much to my disappointment, it appears that he will.


Hawaiian_Maile on Y! Msgr said...

From: http//card.LY/hawaiian_maile
[islandofkauai -at- yahoo.com]

Reference your "...first, citizens of the United States of America. We are citizens of our state and locality second."

Sir - I get what may feel like short shrift that we are citizens of USA before we are citizens of our state. But I don't agree. I still feel that federal authority, now greater than the states', derives from the states.

The authority the originally independent states possessed to accept the constitution and that they have to modify the constitution plus other designs which acknowledge that authority (10th, 17th AMDMTs and Sovereign Immunity " ...as the Constitution's structure, and its history, and the authoritative interpretations by this Court make clear, the States’ immunity from suit is a fundamental aspect of the sovereignty which the States enjoyed before the ratification of the Constitution, and which they retain today (either literally or by virtue of their admission into the Union upon an equal footing with the other States) except as altered by the plan of the Convention or certain constitutional Amendments." from WIKIPEDIA).

Jason said...

I have to disagree with your reading of the history of the Constitution. The states were fully sovereign entities who banded together during the revolution under a confederation structure. This structure was a disaster, and by 1787, the nation was on the verge of falling apart either into 13 separate nations or into 2-3 regional confederations.

The states knew this would weaken the United States and undo the revolution ultimately, so the states appointed delegates to a national convention in Philadelphia with the purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation.

The men appointed to this convention realized (as did most people) that the confederation was broken beyond repair, and they needed to just start over. But to do that, you had to wonder where ultimate sovereignty came from. Did it come from the states? Or the PEOPLE?

The Constitutional Convention firmly believed that sovereignty lay at all times with the PEOPLE, and the people were free to give some of that sovereignty to their individual states as well as the national government. That's why our Constitution opens with "We The PEOPLE", not "We the States" which is how the Articles of Confederation read.

It was the people who elected conventions in each state to consider the Constitution for ratification. The states did not ratify the constitution; the PEOPLE of the states did. They knew that they were setting up a unique system of dual sovereignty where in some areas, the Federal Govt was supreme, and in others, the States.

Originally, the state legislatures elected senators. And state immunity is an explicit acknowledgement that the states did retain *some* (but not all sovereignty). The 10th amendment was clever to reserve rights not listed to the states, OR the people. That's an acknowledgement that the people retain ultimate sovereignty.