Beyond Tribe

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.

This is the time of year when we revel in our tribal comfort.  Once a year, we set aside our differences to join hands in unity.  But this is a little like the sons of Abraham joining hands in unity and pretending they do not represent a tribal religion.  Ironically, when they join hands in unity, they represent the ultimate in tribal religion.   Americans are seldom more tribal than when we are united under the red white and blue banner.

While it is true that tribal impulses played a part in our evolutionary progress, that time has long passed.  We have graduated from caveman school, and a lot has changed.  There is a lot of psychological baggage we need to jettison for us to successfully advance to the next stage of human development.  Tribalism is one of them.

The Pledge of Allegiance:  a doctrine I have long refused to publicly proclaim, is America’s ultimate statement of tribal dedication.  It, like all such tribal creeds, is full of hidden contradictions and self-deception.  There is nothing there that inspires confidence in one who calls home, any square of land outside of these blessed borders.  I am left to conclude that even if we achieve this mythical union that we hold so dear, we would not necessarily have promoted a greater humanity.

I pledge allegiance to a greater humanity.  It doesn’t have a flag.  The United States does not represent humanity.  It’s flag is too small.  My allegiance includes the idealism of an empowered citizenry.  However, that republic remains only an ideal.  It does not yet exist.  What passes as a republic of empowered citizens in America is a lamentable joke, and receives no portion of my pledge.

One nation under god is a target for war.  I will go to war against such a country.  To hell with such a country.  When nationalism becomes Zionism, becomes theocracy, your time has past, if it ever was.  When one nation under god is replace with, one world under humanity, sign me up.  Till then, one nation under god can only survive as long as it does not encounter a stronger nation under a stronger god.  We know how that story ends.

As far as the rest, indivisible, liberty and justice for all, who really believes that we have achieved all that, or that the flag represents all that?  Outside of this holiday, we are as divided as any country in the world.  We do not offer liberty and justice for all, even when limited to our own borders, nor have we ever.  This has always been more fantasy than fact.

Today, I wear my Repeal HB56 T-shirt, with my LBGTQ button binned to it to remind me just how far from the mark we are.  At the Unitarian Church where I attend, when the pledge is spoken, (if it is) I will not just remain silent; I will walk out.  It is my intention to do the same wherever this action is feasible to do.  I will not be seen as joining in while my tribe pounds their chest in defiance against other tribes.  I separate myself from such behavior.  I will stand outside of, and beyond tribe.  This is my protest.  This is my pledge.  This is my prayer.


David Johnson


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