Random thoughts

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A special day?

January 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Today, January 15th, 2009, 476 people gathered at the Campbell Heritage Theater for their Oath of Allegiance. 476 new U.S. citizens from 62 countries. I was one of them.

The Immigration Officers on the stage kept on insisting this was a special day for us. It turned out to be, but not for the reasons they expected. They went as far as saying that, for some of us, today could be the “most important day of our life”. I would not really put it that way, at least for myself. I understand many people have not been as lucky as me, born in Italy with as much freedom as, and better food than, the United States of America. We didn’t have as much money, maybe, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Today is not the most important day of my life. For me, this transition happens subdued and with shame, somehow. I haven’t even told my parents I’m becoming a U.S. citizen; Italy allows for dual citizenship, so that’s not such a big deal anyway. Well… dual citizenship is something that must be allowed by both countries in order to make sense, and although I’ve always thought the U.S.A. have no problem with dual citizenship, the actual verbiage of the Oath of Allegiance doesn’t seem to leave much hope for it. It goes like:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen […] and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation […]

I absolutely renounce and abjure allegiance and fidelity to a foreign sovereignty? Like, for example… Italy? I’m a bit confused about the meaning of dual citizenship then, but I guess I don’t have any mental reservation, I’m just too dumb to understand what all this means.

The second piece of Oath of Allegiance that leaves me a bit puzzled is what follows right next:

[…] I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic […]

I’m not a law scholar, but does “support and defend the Constitution” imply that I’m pledging the Constitution to be the utmost uncontestable Truth? Do I automatically qualify as a “domestic enemy” if I disagree with something in the Constitution? Not that I do, I’m just wondering what makes a “domestic enemy of the Constitution”, because I tend to be critical and the blanket statement above sounds a bit in contrast with the famous freedom of speech idea. Again, no mental reservations, I’m just too dumb to know what’s a domestic enemy of the Constitution, but I definitely hope I’m not one if I think that “the right to keep and bear arms” at home might be a bit of an obsolete and dangerous concept in the present context. I just hope I didn’t lock myself out of any debate around the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Why was it a special day? Because of all the trouble around my green card. But I guess I should write a separate post on this. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun observing the process today. And that’s probably going to be yet another post, I had so much fun that I took notes!

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Markus // Jan 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Shame on you. LOL. And congratulations.