One of the local school districts has decided to require that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited by all students, k-12, at least once a week.
I recited the pledge often as a child–at school and at events for certain social clubs. I consider myself patriotic. I love my freedom and democracy.
But sometime when I give the pledge my mind wanders and the voices in my head start asking questions. The pledge uses archaic terms–not really the language we use in everyday life.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America”
I am making a solemn promise to be true to the flag of my country. But am I being forced to make that promise? I know that the courts have held that people cannot be forced to make the pledge. But if I don’t will I get in trouble? Will the other students ridicule me?
Am I being coerced into making this solemn promise?
When I see hateful people wrapping themselves in the flag and yelling at minorities have I pledged allegiance to that flag? When the Bundys took over the Malheur Refuge they waved American flags. Am I making a pledge to them?
“And to the Republic for which it stands”
Why use the term republic and not democracy? Lots of nations are republic. The “R” in USSR stood for “republics.” Iran is a theocratic republic, for heaven’s sake.
“One nation, under God, Indivisible,”
There it is–“under God”. The United States in not a theocracy. We have separation of church and state, and that is a good thing. Why is that in the pledge? Is it because some people want us to become a theocracy?
“With Liberty and Justice for all.”
Why the term liberty? Liberty and freedom have similar meanings. But liberty is something that someone gives you–maybe even doles out to you. Freedom is something you take. You own your freedom, someone else gives you liberty.
I could not stop the voices in my head.
But I gave the pledge. Maybe because I did not want to disrespect those in authority, or maybe because I did not want to create any waves.
What, exactly, did I learn?