On Humility and Respect for Democracy

Like millions of non-Americans around the world, I have had enough of the US elections dominating the world headlines over and beyond the prescribed period of ballot counting. The situation the (non-)United States of America finds itself at present makes a mockery of the 244 years the American people have invested in their history to build up a nation that established the very definition and standards by which many other democracies around the world are patterned after.

Every American citizen recites the Pledge of Allegiance by heart, the precious words that are the heart and soul of what being an American is all about:

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

I take personal interest in the Pledge of Allegiance, having learned it by heart at 12 when I attended the American School in Mexico, and later on during my brief stint of university studies in the USA, and eventually as USA Girl Scout Leader. Reciting it in a group, a class, or even as an entire campus is unequivocally powerful and the words resonate down to your bones, even if I wasn’t an American. The sense of commitment and willingness to defend the flag and the nation at any cost, against all odds, is at the very least, intimidating. The Philippine Panatan Makabayan, patterned after the American Pledge of Allegiance, is far more flowery and poetic, emotional if you may, and reads more like the Ten Commandments instead of a powerful patriotic oath that instills fear and determination.

If every American, young or old, natural born or naturalised citizen is beholden to these words, how much more so the men and women who serve in the House of Congress, the Senate, the Pentagon and in the White House? Is the President not first in line to lead by example and honour the Republic? Is he not primarily accountable to the people and the states maintaining the “indivisibility”? Did he not swear an oath to country and God to defend the liberty of all citizens and uphold justice?

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Not only does the current POTUS seem to have forgotten his Presidential Oath of Office, but he has completely turned his back on the Pledge of Allegiance since November 3, 2020. He has mis-interpreted of the word “execute”, taking this to mean hire and fire at pleasure and leisure, and his actions neither preserve, protect nor defend the Constitution of the United States.

With great power comes an even greater obligation to embrace an even greater sense of humility, respect for institutions, values and beliefs that come with the territory of being a public servant and the leader of a nation. POTUS forgets that he is in office to serve, not be served, to uphold democracy, not dismantle it, and to respect truth. That’s the catch though, the current POTUS was never a public servant, so it is no surprise that he has no inkling nor respect for the oath of office either, which every senator, congressman and federal employee takes and has been taking since 1884:

“I 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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Faithfully discharging the duties of the office also includes accepting defeat. Even if he can’t do it with humility, then at least with last remains of dignity he can possibly scrape at the bottom of the slimy and delusional barrel. Time to walk away.

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