I know that there are a lot of people out there who have taken a military oath, whether officer or enlisted.
I was thinking about that oath I took when I enlisted into the United States Navy. It is just not in the nature of myself to swear to do something that I don't understand, so I made it a point to know it before I took it. Yet after all of these years there is something that suddenly jumped out at me which I've never spotted before. And it really is something quite striking when you think about it.
Let's take a look at it.
"I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
This oath is to the Constitution. It says so right there in very plain unambiguous English. When taking this oath you are not swearing to support and defend the president, the officers, any politician or political party. This was pointed out to me many years ago and I've long since grown accustomed to the idea.
So envision this if you will. You are being sworn into the military by a uniformed officer, likely on a military facility, surrounded by people in uniforms. What is likely going through your head, and admittedly what was going through mine, is that you are promising to defend the United States of America. Right? That's what you're thinking.
If it is what you think you are doing, you would be wrong.
Look at this part of the oath again; "I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;"
Now tell me where it says to protect the physical United States?
That's right. Believe your eyes because it's right there in front of you; conspicuous only by its total and complete absence. This oath isn't to defend Ohio or Texas; although I think they should be defended. The promise isn't to defend New York or California; and well, the jury is out in my mind as to whether that would be beneficial or not. Be that as it may it isn't even a promise to defend the country!
The oath is nothing more or less than a promise to support, defend and bear allegiance to only the Constitution.
Now there is this other part you have to deal with. The second part where it says you will, "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
Knowledge of the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice is not exactly something that I'm particularly strong on. So I will leave the specifics of that part to anybody who has considered this oath to do their own research. My general understanding is, this is where they gain the authority and organizational structure to use you to defend the physical country; assuming the president decides that that's in the Constitution's best interest. After all, the president and the officers above you also swore to support (or protect) and defend the Constitution didn't they?
That is their job isn't it? And all of the three oaths; presidential, officer and enlisted are not to the physical country called the United States. They are to the Constitution; that set of ideas documented and agreed on by all States who decided to enter it, rather than the lines on the maps that outline where the states all are.
This is very important, so get this; the only part of this country that the military and president are promised to support, protect and defend, by oath, are America's founding principles which are documented in the Constitution.
In other words The United States of America is not a physical location on a map. It is an idea that people can be free and grow under a limited government. It is a very philosophical viewpoint.
If that seems like a radical concept I invite you to look at it more closely. When the Constitution was originally ratified there where only nine states in the country. The next four joined fairly soon after because the idea had already spread there. As the new country prospered more and more people formed states and entered, but their entry was the direct result of the spreading of a set of ideas embodied within the Constitution rather than physical force.
So it doesn't matter much where the lines of the States are drawn. They could be nine. They could be thirteen. They could be any number between thirteen and fifty. Guess what that means? They could also be a hundred. They could encompass the whole world and as long as the people within those lines believe in the ideas in the Constitution, it will be the United States.
America is not a set of borders and names on maps. America is an idea. It is the idea of freedom through limited government, wherever it happens to be on any map.
With this understanding of what the country is, I invite you to consider one of the more important points in the oath. Just what does it mean by, "all enemies, foreign and domestic"?
Foreign and domestic are pretty easy words to understand. They simply mean, "over there" and "over here." Or better yet, within the United States physical boarders or outside of them.
What is an enemy when what we are talking about, as something to be defended, is a set of ideas written in the Constitution on how the federal government is supposed to be run? In my way of thinking it would be the people who are entrusted with constitutional power of some sort who are either not following it and/or people who teach others that it shouldn't be followed.
The most egregious of these is the former. The person who would assume a federal office at any level is no better than Benedict Arnold if he violates the Constitution. He has been given a trust to defend and has sworn to do so. When he doesn't uphold his oath he betrays the country.
So here's the deal in other words; I swore to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. A person in office not following it is a domestic enemy.
This might seem to some that I am rather anti-government. Well, if the shoe fits I would only wear it when the federal government or anybody sworn to defend the Constitution violates it. I would be very much for the federal government if it stuck to doing only what it is supposed to do.
This, emphatically, does not mean that we should revolt and shoot them; at least prior to the point of their becoming a physical threat to us. What it does mean is that we should never provide support or defense to a person in political power who will not understand and follow the Constitution. We should vote against them and speak out against them at every opportunity. We have to make it fully and well known that the only people we will support are those who will follow it. More important than that we have to be able to teach our ideas to others.
Because the Constitution is an idea, our primary battlefield is in the arena of ideas. Our strength is our minds. Our weapons are our ideas. Our ammunition is our words. Because the Constitution is such a great idea, if you can become adept at defending those ideas from all enemies the real estate would take care of itself.