Happy Loyalty Day!


Credit: Frances Benjamin Johnston/wikimedia

Today the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation announcing "Loyalty Day."

From the proclamation:

On Loyalty Day, we renew our conviction to the principles of liberty, equality, and justice under the law. We accept our responsibilities to one another. And we remember that our differences pale in comparison to the strength of the bonds that hold together the most diverse Nation on earth.

In order to recognize the American spirit of loyalty and the sacrifices that so many have made for our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 85-529 as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day." On this day, let us reaffirm our allegiance to the United States of America and pay tribute to the heritage of American freedom.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2014, as Loyalty Day. This Loyalty Day, I call upon all the people of the United States to join in support of this national observance, whether by displaying the flag of the United States or pledging allegiance to the Republic for which it stands.

Well, that's not creepy at all, is it?

This is not something President Barack Obama has come up with. Loyalty Day was first recognized in 1921 as a way to counter May Day, the day when lefties celebrate International Workers' Day (which Cato's Ilya Somin has sensibly suggested be renamed "Victims of Communism Day"). However, it was first officially recognized under the Eisenhower administration in 1958. Interestingly, it doesn't look like President Nixon ever signed a Loyalty Day proclamation.

The sort of suggested displays of patriotism mentioned in today's proclamation weren't justified during the Red Scares and they certainly are not justified now. I am still trying to get over the fact that it is considered normal in the U.S. for school children to pledge allegiance to the flag every day and for every sporting event to be preceded by the singing of the national anthem. Can't we assume everyone is a patriot until there is evidence to the contrary?