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I Pledge Allegiance...

Robert Franklin

Posted on August 1, 2019 18:13

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How often have you thought about the Pledge of Allegiance and asked yourself "why?"

When I was in high school, President Bush started the War in Iraq. I was deeply disturbed by this military conflict and found my animosity toward the emerging war and the Administration who started it blending with serious changes to my once-unflappable love of country. I had a hard time separating my country from its leaders and found myself not only becoming antagonistic of foreign policy under President Bush but antagonistic of "American" values in general.

I came to view my country, my home, as a bully, and a place where even the quietest utterance of Islamic terrorism activated every racist bone in people's bodies, while simultaneously holding too many heads under sand. To me, thousands of Iraqi's who never picked up a weapon against the United States were killed by "patriots," and it seemed, for a while, that no one cared.

Yellowcake or not, no one cared. This was about fighting back -- unilateral, extreme aggression in the face of an enemy with darker skin, a "different" religion, and different values, who may or may not (it didn't really matter) have been associated with the same people who hijacked airplanes and killed 3,000 people in a coordinated terrorist attack two years before.

This is why, as a junior in high school, I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn't even stand. It made other students uncomfortable. It made my teachers uncomfortable. It made my principal uncomfortable.

It got me suspended.

 

 

Despite that, I, to this day, have never recited it again.

What began as a protest to a war I thought was unjust and a reaction to conflicting views on my country has stayed with me since. But the argument against standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer just a political one. It's morphed, become less reactionary and more philosophical.

It has become more representative of a serious ethical dilemma permeating American culture -- vehement nationalism and its effect on children.

Is it appropriate to foster a nationalistic love of country in people who are incapable of comprehending the significance of that nationalism and further insist they ritualistically pledge their allegiance at a totem representing the source of that incomprehensible nationalism? Does this amount to coercion, as, in many schools, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is mandatory? Could there be harm caused to the students by teachers and administrators forcing this practice? Is the practice itself destructive?

Thorough, classically-philosophical answers to these questions require more words than any one TLT allows, so I can't provide too much by way of answers aside from basic summaries. I do believe that students, especially young students, being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance can be a destructive practice, much in the same way blind nationalism, to me, is a destructive practice. The freedom and the ability to question the motivation of rituals, even patriotic ones, is something everyone should be capable of doing, outside forces or not.

After all, that is the American way, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Franklin

Posted on August 1, 2019 18:13

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Source: The Blaze

The board of trustees president for a California community college ended the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings,...

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