We have all seen the people carrying around banners, buttons, bumper stickers and signs proudly proclaiming that something done by the Government is: "Not in my name!"
Yes, scads of these nameless people are having things done for them that they just don't like and so they take to wanting to leave the commonality of We the People. That is, of course, their right, but once you do that and you have declared yourself to *be* a separate entity *from* We the People, you no longer have a say in the Government *of* We the People. Why is that? Well let us take a look at this thing known as the Constitution of the United States of America.
I have, of course, done this before and pointed out a few things that actually escape from notice because everyone is so busy looking at the body of the Constitution that they forget its outlay and outlook portion. That Preamble tells you much about those folks called We the People and what their common agreement is amongst themselves. It lays out those things that these We the People are to do, on their own, within the compact that will be given between them known as the Constitution. This is a social contract between all parts of We the People:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."This is a description of the outlook of We the People as a whole, which *includes* everyone who considers themselves to fall under that heading and being part of the Nation of the United States of America. Do we see, anywhere, in that sentence where one gets to say that this is NOT in their name? Any hidden proviso, clause or other some such that actually allows someone to de-obligate themselves from the Nation? The rest of the Constitution goes on to lay out outlook of one Government, the Federal, but does not encompass all Governments and is to act only as a referee to ensure that the People are governed, not ruled over. For all parts of that to be held, this Preamble that describes who is considered to be part of the social contract must be true.
What one does, then, in stating that an action of the Federal Government is "Not in my name!" is to disavow the Preamble and to, in point of fact say: I have no commonality with We the People and no longer wish to be considered part of We the People as the decisions by them are so bad as to be of no good to me.
That is what they are saying! You cannot read that declaration of "Not in my name!" any other way, save to say that the individual involved is no longer a part of We the People. These individuals have decided to leave the commonality of the compact.
By stepping AWAY from that commonality and no longer being part of We the People, they no longer can consider themselves to BE under the compact and the resultant Constitutional order that follows. Decry yourself to be fully autonomous in all decisions so that no Government speaks for you, and you are no longer part of that heading that starts: We the People.
There are many things that one can do under the Constitution to decry and petition Government. One can hold speeches on policy and debate such. One can post their beliefs and publish them in various venues. One can attend social gatherings to talk with other people about these things. In that way one becomes a constructive force for change in society by engaging fellow Citizens and doing the hard work of that first sentence that starts: We the People.
The genius of that compact is that the Federal Government does, indeed, speak in the name of We the People and for them in those few things that have been outlined as the common Government of We the People. As individuals we come together to form We the People in our diverse voices and outlooks, and abide with the understanding that the Government can do foolish things and even wrong and injurious things in Our collective name. The agreement amongst us, as We the People, is to work via the fully legitimate channels to change the outlook of our fellow Citizens through discourse and colloquy in many and diverse venues and forums. To that end We work together in helping "to form a more perfect Union" and ensure that Our responsibilities that We have agreed upon in that Preamble are looked after.
"No man is an Island" as John Donne pointed out and in this case the humanity in question is that of the common good of being together as We the People. While the feelings of those who disagree with the common governance are understood and listened to, the hand is ever held *out* to remain with Us and keep this social dialog going so that We may all be better in that doing. The heaviness of heart is seen at those that have decided to disdain all society and, indeed, remove themselves from that which is common: the Constitution.
One need not use the negative of "Not in my name!", but that requires thought and introspection upon what it is that your name is part of. That requires an understanding that those things that We the People have handed over to common Government are, indeed, done in Our name for good or ill. For that negative attitude is saying that you, indeed, not only do not wish to heed that common government, that you think that your way is best, but that one is also saying that the rest of We the People can take a hike as you are leaving Us.
This is not the voice of the lone individual put upon by society. That voice was given clear and explicit meaning against the individual being buried under officious government and the loss of individuality to that overbearing commonality, and yet did not declaim islandhood for the individual involved. It is, indeed, an assertive voice for individuality to be heard and to be separate and yet to still acknowledge that commonality even if its form is abhorrent. That is the voice for the individual to be individual, and yet remain part of society and have freedom for oneself.
It is longer and a bit less pithy than the negative, but is full of meaning for having been formulated in the modern era:
“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!One can persist in this and, indeed, *must* persist in this all during one's life. That is part of Our agreement, and as individuals we can be as cantankerous as necessary, decry the ills of government, and be a general pain in the ass to good and all. That does not de-obligate us from acknowledging that not only does Government speak in Our name, but that We are wholly responsible for ALL of its decisions in Our name.
My life is my own.”
--No.6; The Prisoner: Arrival
That is our agreement as a People.
When it is "Not in my name!" then those saying such are no longer part of We the People.
They are certainly no longer one of Us and may they fare well heading to some other People that they wish to be a part of, since they no longer consder this place to be Home.