One of the television programs I recently watched included a scene depicting the swearing in of a number of people as US citizens. As is the case every time I see one of these ceremonies, I am close to tears at the power and emotion of the proceedings.

What would happen if we Americans who were born into our citizenship had the right or opportunity to reaffirm our allegiances? How many would elect to participate? What form would that take?

Every time I see a bible-banging, flag-waving, pseudo-patriot who babbles on and on about his country, his rights and his freedoms, I want to ask how much he truly knows about this country. One the most lucid recollections I have from my childhood is helping my grandmother study for her citizenship examination. To her, this was the most challenging but most important event of her life. But I strongly suspect that for those who never had to fight for their status as Americans, this victory will never be understood.

It would be useful and enlightening for many Americans to know everything that is required for citizenship. How many could pass the exam? Could the majority of our fellow countrypersons be able to discuss the preamble to the Constitution, the number of senators per state and the three branches of government?

While I consider myself a knowledgeable American, I would welcome the refresher into our history and the foundations of our government. On a daily basis, I am grateful for the privilege of residing in this powerful, heroic and distinguished nation. When you attempt to discredit or abuse it in any way, I take it as a major, inexcusable offense that cannot be allowed or sanctioned by its citizens.

If you call yourself and are truly an American, stand up, live by our rules and respect our flag. For those who have committed to public or military service in any form, thank you for your sacrifices and your continued dedication. But if you want to bad-mouth this wonderful country, break its laws or undermine its democratic principles, don’t let anything prevent you from leaving here as soon as possible. You won’t be missed. Shalom.


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