The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states that “Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. We are a nation bound not by race or religion, but by the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality.” The website does not provide a concrete definition of a citizen. However, we can deduce a closer concrete definition based on their statement.

  1. That all Americans are citizens and all citizens are Americans.
  2. The American citizenry is not contingent on race, ethnicity, or religion.  
  3. The American citizenry is contingent on abstract values found in the U.S. Constitution. Personally, I would add the Declaration of Independence.
  4. Conclusion – Citizenry in the U.S. is an ideology.

What if an American citizen disagrees with the ideology? Would they cease being an American citizen? I believe a two-part answer is warranted.

  1. No, an American citizen who disagrees with our ideology does not disqualify the individual from being a citizen. By privilege and protection of the justice system, legally, the individual is still a citizen and will remain a citizen.
  2. Yes, if we accept the concluding definition of “citizenry in the U.S. is an ideology,” then the individual who disagrees with the Constitution’s abstract values is no longer a citizen. For lack of terminology for this type of individual, I will refer to this individual as an American Insubordinate Citizen (AIC).

The AIC is still a citizen by law, but the individual is not an American citizen ideologically. Being an AIC has consequences in our country for the rest of its legal and ideological citizens. For example, one of our rights as citizens is the right to express ourselves, so long as we do not infringe the rights of other American citizens in the process. If an AIC does not accept our American ideology, the AIC does not subject itself to our abstract rules and will infringe on citizens’ freedom of expression if it contradicts the AIC’s substitute ideology. We currently have instances of this behavior on college campuses that prohibit specific college students or visiting public officials from speaking because their opinions differ from the opinions of other students or staff.

Can anyone who read this think of any AIC behavior you may have experienced or witnessed by word of mouth or media?

Work Cited

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Should I Consider U.S. Citizenship? Web. 04 April. 2022. https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/should-i-consider-us-citizenship.

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