“I Pledge Allegiance…”

I recently thought of a little anecdote from my childhood that made me think about myself today.  I’m not sure why I thought of this instance recently, perhaps it is because I suddenly seem to have quite a few friends in the military (as a matter of fact, I’m leaving soon to go see one on home for leave!) or perhaps it is because of a heated discussion about equal rights that I just saw on Facebook, or perhaps it’s because it’s almost the Fourth of July.  Either way, I realized something interesting.  When I was little (three or four, I suppose) I got kicked out of preschool.  Yes, sweet little me, teacher’s pet, got told not to come back.  Why you ask?  It is because I refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  I refused, because they would not give me a logical explanation as to why I should.  Even toddler me had authority issues.

Adult me still has those issues as well.  People have told me if you want to travel and get paid for school, join the military.  The only problem is that I would not survive one week in the military.  Physical requirements aside (need I list my many disqualifying ailments?), my lack of ability to follow senseless orders would become a problem.  It’s not necessarily that I lack respect for authority, it’s just that I believe authority should be earned.  The people who do the best at their assigned tasks should be the ones who are promoted, not because of who they know, but because they are good enough at doing something to direct others in how to do it.  I take issues as well with people trying to boss me around when I’ve been doing my job longer than they have.  If I trained you in your job, who are you to turn around and tell me how to do said job?  Most importantly, I take issue with things that are illogical.  Damn intelligence won’t let me blindly follow people.  “Because I said so” is not an acceptable answer in my book.

All of that being said, I still do not say the Pledge of Allegiance, to this day.  Now before you start accusing me of being unpatriotic, or treacherous, or a terrorist- hear my logic against saying it.  At the same age when they teach you the Pledge, they also teach you things like not to lie.  I would be lying if I said I could always and forever provide my unwavering loyalty to a country I can’t necessarily predict the future of.  Think of all the little German children in the 1920s and 1930s pledging allegiance to their country- then being asked as adults to systematically murder millions of people.  What if I pledge allegiance now, and 20 years down the road some crazy president comes in and tells us we need to finish off all the Native Americans?  Would you hold true to your “pledge”?  Or would you turn your back on it, and fight against your country or simply flee to another one?  Either you hold true to your pledge and break your own morals, or you break your pledge to keep to your morals- which would then make the entire point of saying said pledge moot anyways.

At the end of the day, saying of few words makes you neither patriotic nor unpatriotic, it’s what’s in your heart that matters.  I still don’t see what the point of reciting it is.  Perhaps we need to spend those extra two minutes teaching kids math and reading so we do not breed a nation of imbeciles.  If someone can tell me a logical reason for how saying the Pledge of Allegiance makes you more productive/intelligent/etc.  then I will be willing to re-examine my opinion.  Until such a time, however, I choose to stick to my morals.  And I will love my country as long as it does not conflict with said morals.  And more importantly, I love all of you who continue to fight for our country so that I may continue to stick to my own morals and not those of some creepy guy thousands of miles away.

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