Note that word "indivisible" in the Pledge of Allegiance. It means the nation cannot be split into parts. Yet that is exactly what hundreds of thousands of voters who were disgusted by President Barack Obama's re-election would have their states do.
Secession. Didn't the Civil War to preserve the union put that idea in its grave? Would some Americans ignore the sacrifice of the nation's forefathers who set the United States on the path to being both a superpower and a bastion of freedom?
Incredibly, the answers may be no and yes. When the Post-Gazette's Tracie Mauriello wrote about this movement Thursday, more than 750,000 people across the country -- in every state but Vermont -- had signed online petitions to leave the union.
The would-be secessionists are nothing if not impertinent. To register their anger, they have been using a White House website called "We the People," which allows Americans in the spirit of the First Amendment to petition the government for the redress of grievances.
But there are grievances and there is what might be called poor loser syndrome with its imaginary grudges, which is closer to the case here. The ironies are thick. Believing their own propaganda about Mr. Obama being a "socialist" -- and born in Kenya, of course -- some on the far right seem ready to betray their own principles.
Conservatives have long held the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to be a litmus test of patriotism. (George H.W. Bush successfully pilloried Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election for insufficient devotion to it.) Now some would regard its words as nothing more than a meaningless ritual.
Likewise, they treat the flag as a sacred object, yet some would carve out a new nation under a different flag. Although their love of the nation's founders is supposedly huge, the most disaffected would turn their backs on the nation the founders created.
This is truly crackpot stuff, especially as secession has no hope of succeeding (and would materially hurt a lot of states that did leave the union). This movement would be funny if it were not symptomatic of irrational, deep-seated hatred abroad in the land. What can bring patriotic Americans who would renounce America back to reality and their senses? Maybe they should recite the Pledge of Allegiance as if they mean it.