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Oath of allegiance

Posted June. 09, 2017 07:08,   

Updated June. 09, 2017 07:22


“I pledge, in front of the proud Taeguekgi flag… to loyally devote.” The “pledge of allegiance” is a globally heard oath not only in Korea, but also in other nations. When Koreans swear this pledge during public events or national courtesies, American students at U.S. public schools swear their national oath “I pledge allegiance to my flag…” before class every day. As the recitation may cause controversies over violation of the constitution, these schools claim they are making the oaths “voluntarily.” Still, it is a ritual still found in most of American schools.

History tells that under the common law, the allegiance to the ruler has been demanded everyone over the age of 12 since the ancient times. Indeed, it was an endless test to sort out betrayers or infidels. During the medieval feudal age, feudatories knelt before their overlords and swore loyalty. The Japanese organized criminal “yakuza” shared a cup of drink or even showed a fanatical performance by cutting of fingers to show their allegiance. After all, these rituals were intended to prevent the subordinates from turning their backs against their lords or bosses. However, the object of loyalty expressed in the “allegiance to the flag” in a democratic state are the nation, the people, and the state ideology, which the flag bears.

Right after he was inaugurated, U.S. President Donald Trump said “I want loyalty” to former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey. During that time, the new president has in fact demanded loyalty from Comey and pressured him to stop investigating behind-the-curtain contacts with Russia. Still, Comey answered that “you will always get honesty from me.” His answer may have implied that Comey was to fulfill his duty to the president as a faithful public servant, not a private one. Nevertheless, it was known that President Trump still insisted that Comey show “honest faith,” according to Comey’s recent testimonies.


For the real estate tycoon-turned president who is relatively new at the office and holds no experience in public office, demanding allegiance seemed a natural course. Furthermore, for a head of a national inspection body who knew the dynamics of power better than anyone else, Comey would have been tempted into side with the new president of the United States. However, Comey declined to pledge the “risky allegiance” to the ruler and chose the nation instead. Of course, the long history of the independence of FBI, which did not give in to authoritative figures will have played a great role in backing Comey.