“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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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rogueoperator
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:10:48

    The main flaw I see in your reasoning is that The Pledge of Allegiance is not to “America” regardless of how it is comprised. The Pledge of Allegiance is to principle. “…and to the REPUBLIC, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE FOR ALL.” So one is pledging allegiance to the symbol of the flag because it stands for certain defined principles, not because authority tells you to do it, and not because the flag stands for whatever the authorities say it stands for.

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  2. kcolrehs
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 00:42:34

    Look here, I do in fact get your point, but common sense is asking here, “How do you even know that twenty years ahead that a President who would demand the genocide of Native Americans or any kind of other people which (if I remember corectly from my Gov’t class in High School) I don’t think has the athority to do so? Beside too, we are human, we have the ability (and disability) to learn from the past.” Also, you remind me a true story (I don’t recall the name I’m sorry to say) of a young African American in the 30’s who walked to and from school of a park, “there were swings in this park and ah, did I wanta swing… but we couldn’t cuse we were black. Every morning at school we all stand up in our classes, were we said prayers and sang the star spangle banner… One morning I decided that I wasn’t going to sing the star spang banner no more. Then finnaly the teacher noticed this and asked me why I wasn’t sing. “Because it said ‘…the land of the free and the home of the breave.’ And this is not the land of the free, and I don’t know who’s breave around here but I ain’t gona sing no more.” then asked “How come you want to stop now?” I told him about comeing though the park, and that I can’t sit in the park, I can’t stand in the park, but I can only walk though Sheakspear’s park, then it couldn’t be the land of the free, “….whose free?” he didn’t say anything. Then he said “Well, then, you could, pledge allegiace to your flag.” I said “But that’s not my flag, if the land is free, and the flag is mine, then how come I can’t play like the white kids?” And thus these started the civil rights movement.

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  3. Jenna
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 01:03:29

    I guess I didn’t realize how controversial this post would be when I made it. And I feel like a lot of you think I’m a really bad person. I swear I’m not! And I certainly don’t mean bad by any of this. It’s less of a patriotic thing and more of a logic thing. I guess my brain is always getting me in trouble (y’all don’t even know the half of it!) But you guys do make some very good points! Rogue, I like your point of pledging to the ideals the flag represents, not just the country. I think this is a very logical point. I also don’t thank many other people realize the separation between the two. When it comes to these ideals, I probably follow them more than anyone else. I’m very liberal when it comes to things like freedom and justice for all. And equal rights. And civil liberties. I also recognize that we are not one indivisible nation under God, for “God” is only one thing that divides us. The other is politics. And I feel like we are more divided now than before. I also do not feel like there is liberty and justice for ALL. Some people are less cared about than others. I do WISH that all of these things were true, however.

    AND, all of this being said, I do still stand with my hand over my heart in respect to the flag, and I do sometimes sing the national anthem (maybe one day I can hit that high note again!) Its just that I take pledges/oaths/vows/promises very seriously (I also don’t believe in divorce, but that’s a whole other subject unto itself!)

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