Last night, I had a dream that I was back in middle school and the president was visiting our school. For some reason, it was Obama and not Bush, but because this is a dream, we will ignore reality somewhat. We had a substitute that day, which turned out to be my aunt and she was giving us a grade out of 35 if we all said the pledge in front of the President. I refused, which of course got my aunt all mad that I was embarrassing her in front of the President. My analysis in the dream of why not was so eloquent and I wish I could write it down word for word, but I will at least get all of my major points.
First of all, I was born and raised in the United States. I am proud of being an American. However, the Pledge of Allegiance has always given me the heebee jeebies. Most people who have an issue with the pledge have an issue with two words: under god. These words were added later and for a country that is supposed to have freedom of religion, we sure aren’t very kind to the atheists when it comes to loving our country. While this exclusion of certain groups of people disturbs me, it is not my major objection.
To my knowledge, there are only a few countries or organizations that have young kids recite a pledge to be loyal to a certain group with the frequency that U.S. schools do and trust me, they are not groups that history or the U.S. look kindly upon. I would love to hear from you if there are groups that I am not aware of.
The part that really concerns me about the pledge, is that you pledge allegiance to a flag. Many people tell me that it is really about pledging allegiance to our country, but I disagree based on the wording: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…” If you are pledging your allegiance to the country through the flag, you wouldn’t also be pledging it to the republic for which it stands separately. The pledge itself differentiates the two. I am ok with pledging to a symbol if the symbol is meant to represent the idea as a whole, but that is not the case here.
So, call me un-American if you want. Tell me that I don’t love my country. The best part of the United States is that you are free to have your own opinions, and these are mine.