Why is allegiance necessary? Who does one owe allegiance to? What does it mean to pledge allegiance? Is allegiance given with no strings attached or is there an underlying promise of benefits? In the light of Cindy Sheehan's recent resignation from being the 'Face' of the American anti-war movement, the word 'allegiance' gains a place under the spotlight. Many of us are familiar with Sheehan and her rise to fame after her much publicized protest against the Iraq War outside of Bush's ranch in Texas. We know about her irreparable loss, the death of her 20 year old son Casey, and about her courage and passion as a mother and as a vocal proponent for bringing our troops back from Iraq. After reading the contents of her resignation, I felt a sense of loss that I could not configure. It was definitely not a personal loss by any stretch of imagination; I had never heard of her until I saw her on TV, nor was her resignation a public loss, like at the death of Dr. King and John F. Kennedy. It was, perhaps, a loss of faith marked by a stellar incident; Sheehan's open letter of resignation. The loss of staunch faith the American people have in their identity as Americans who inhabit a 'land of the free', and take immense pride in it because it is 'the home of the brave'. Cindy Sheehan's words hit a bitter chord when she says, "The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."
Do we owe allegiance, and to whom? Do we pledge this allegiance in exchange for something, like Cindy Sheehan did; in the hope of "liberty and justice for all"!