A Freshman’s Perspective on the Pledge.

Larissa came home tonight and told me that they were instructed to recite the Pledge of Allegience today at school. She said they had not been required, before today, to participate. She stood as instructed, but did not hold her hand over her heart or speak out loud. Her reason? “The pledge” means nothing today. She said that she did not feel like the patriotic intent was there. We spent some time discussing whether patriotism was to be loyal to a country, or if it was truly an inclination to be loyal to the individual self while protecting the freedom of another’s inclination. She explained that requiring the pledge has dulled its meaning. She, of course, knows that “under God” was not originally written, and she knows that America is very far from the spirit which inspired the words. She acted, in my opinion, very much as she should. She was contemplative and she dug deep into her own thoughts to determine why she would be required to recite words for good measure. She wondered why her pledge rather than her acts would make her a good person; an American. She questioned authority-respectfully. She questioned her role and she broke from the herd.

7 Comments
  1. The same thing almost happened in a community about thirty miles from where I live. I quickly e-mail a friend who lived there and started a last minute attempt to get her on the school board and offered to teach the school the Constitution.

    I don’t say the pledge because I think it violates my religion. No one has ever forced me and I am alway respectfull when I refuse.

  2. For those of you with “all-or-nothing” thinking, I thought the school district I grew up in had an interesting compromise. In grade school we were required to recite the pledge of allegiance every morning, and even received a grade on our report card for citizenship (at one point I was even on the voluntary boys group that raised and lowered the flag everyday). From the first day of junior high on, we were never again required to recite it, and at that age were encouraged to discuss ideas.

    I discovered libertarianism and the Libertarian Party from a Libertarian Party presidential campaign on a Close-Up Program trip to Washington, D.C. during high school before I took the required senior political behavior class (which included Libertarianism), and have been Libertarian ever since.

    Of course, at the college level professors should not seek to indoctrinate their students but should challenge assumptions and encourage free discussion and a search for truth.

  3. I guess citizenship and patriotism should not be taught anywhere at any cost at any time if taxpayer’s money is involved. Maybe this holds true for any reference to “God” on money or public buildings, monuments, or any other property owned or payed for by taxpayers.

    When do we start replacing all the marble and granite in
    Washington DC that references anything to do with “God”?

    What about libraries? It may be necessary to burn books that have any reference to “God”. This problem we have in this country may need an ongoing solution.

    Even the Declaration of Independence and all copies will have to be burned as “God” is in print in the very first sentence.

    Once this is accomplished, it will be necessary to go through the Library of Congress and purge all writings beginning with government documents that reference “God”.

    Now we begin with the individual States, work down to the Counties, then Cities and Towns and do the same thing. As time goes by, we can raid each citizens home and make sure no one is harboring anything referencing “God”.

    Oh, I almost forgot Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples, Shrines and any other place anyone may gather as a group or as an individual for the sole purpose of worshipping or paying respect to a “higher power”.

    All Twelve Step Programs will have to be raided and those at the groups arrested as these are sometimes held in closed session and depend on a belief in a “Higher Power”
    that most call “God”. Orwellian? you bet.

    Where is reason and ration in our country and among the citizens? Do you say this is too far fetched? I do not believe so.

    Some of you give lip service to the Constitution and its gurarantees. Read the background such as Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Franklin, and many others too numerous to mention to really understand the intent of the Constitution. It is not to remove “God” from public places, it is to give each person the “Freedom of Religion”.

    We are truly heading down a slippery slope if we continue to “shop” the Constitution. I believe I may not be a libertarian after all but a Constitutionalist. I will give this site credit for one achievement; it has motivated me to become very interested in Constitutional history and how the Constitution impacts our lives.

  4. Larissa actually believes in God, Julian. (Though she and I debate God’s existence every opportunity we get.) The reason I mentioned “under God” was to point out her interest in its history. She found it strange that her teacher required them to recite it yesterday and that everybody got up and did what was instructed without pausing to understand what it is. And then she did something foreign to many 14 year olds. She thought about its meaning.

  5. The Pledge was written by a socialist if I remeber correct.

    Julian,

    I agree somepeople wish to take God out of everything and I disagree with that. The declaration mentions God many times. One school actually baned it because it was unconstitutional.

    Congress shall make no law only means that “Congress” cannot create a church or establish religion. There is no seperation of church and state. I am not Congress and I can display the ten commandments or read my bible any damn place I please because any place I am is a free speach zone.

    I am more of a Libertarian than a constitution party supporter because the Constitution Party often wants to control morality such as pornography.

  6. To Jake,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bellamy

    A socialist he was, but his pledge was accepted by those of every political ilk. And now, it is questioned- not because of the “God” change, but for its merit. Her question to me did not go into political division, but it was a real question about the requirement of it at all. (Especially when prior to that day’s post, there was no prior requirement to participate.) Why pledge to a flag, and why swear allegiance to a country that is not what it set out to be. Is it OK to be loyal to the point of self-destruction? America is an idea more than it is land and people. And the innate character of that idea is being assassinated.

    I have much to learn here in the blog world, and perhaps I did not express myself well enough. I am simply delighted that there is the question at all.

  7. Michelle,

    I don’t say the pledge and probably never will not because it says God but because if you pledge allegience to a country that is facism, I cannot support many things this country is doing such as the patriot act, gun licenses, real id.

    If we are free then no one can force you to do anything against your will such as saying the pledge. I have also wondered why do four and five year olds say the pledge. They have no understanding what it means. I agree with her decision not to say the pledge for her reasons.

    You are doing a fine job blogging. Keep up the good work.

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