Essays on Rebuilding America: The Oath – Our Founding Fathers

Columnist : Jonathan Williams

by Col. Frank Ryan, USMC Ret.

Having just seen the Department of Homeland Security’s advisory relating to right wing extremists and how the word extremist is being used towards anyone not agreeing with the President, I am concerned about the continued deterioration in our personal freedoms as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Just this week, I was told during a tea party rally by someone opposed to the rallies, that anyone who disagrees with President Obama during an economic emergency as they described it should be detained and labeled a traitor. I was stunned by the anger in the person’s voice and their abject intolerance to those who disagree.

Then upon learning of Barack Obama’s exhortations that we are an arrogant people and a nation only of citizens, I find myself in a position of having to remind the President that he is responsible to and works for all of the people of the United States. He, as all Presidents before him, is a servant to the people. As prior presidents have protected the rights of dissidents so to is it Obama’s responsibility to protect the rights of those who disagree with him.

Our very Bill of Rights and our Constitution are tributes to our personal freedoms. In light of the recent “detentions” of persons by TSA due to libertarian affiliations and since Obama has never served in the United States military, I thought it wise to provide him with the Oath of Office that all Officers take in the U. S. Military.

That oath is: “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.”

I hope that all in government who intend to trample the rights of our citizens will read these words clearly. The oath which I took and as all officers take is to the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution only without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. We take this oath very seriously.

As I defended the rights of Jon Stewart to attack President Bush when he was President and as I opposed many aspects of the Patriot Act, I will protect the rights of the tea party patriots when they protest. Protecting a protestor does not only mean protecting the rights of those we agree with. It means protecting the rights of all citizens to dissent.

Just as Barack Obama’s presidency is testimony to how far our nation has come in the form of civil rights, so to will our military defend others rights to swear off the tyranny of any government program that fails to uphold our very Constitution. Military personnel have the responsibility to only obey lawful orders of their commanders. The very essence of the Nuremberg trials was that using the defense of “I was ordered to do it” was no defense.

The very fabric of our freedoms as Americans is held together by those willing to sacrifice personally for the better of the entire nation. As our young men and women so gallantly gave their lives in service in Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Normandy, Tarawa, Inchon, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, the very memory of their ultimate sacrifice should rally us to defend the rights of all to dissent whether we like their opinion or not. It is what we as a Nation are all about.

Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security would have put George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln’s names on the terrorist watch list. They so challenged the status quo and serve as examples of leadership in the face of tyranny. In light of the current attacks on free speech I would encourage the Department of Homeland Security to add my name to the list of those who will fight to protect your freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and right to seek redress from government. It is my duty. It is your right. Semper Fi.

Frank Ryan is a member of the Lincoln Institute Board of Directors and lectures for the AICPA and BLI on management related topics. He can be reached at [email protected].