January 10, 2006
Why to a Flag?
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Perusing a story about the pledge of allegiance, it struck me: why pledge to a flag? Yes, you're pledging to the Republic as well, but why to the flag? Because it's a convenient symbol? Maybe, but there's a big problem there: anyone can hijack the symbol. Why not simply make a pledge to the Republic alone? It can also be hijacked (witness the present), but at least it's quite a bit more difficult--and it's usually accomplished by hijacking the flag first.
Even better, why not make the pledge to the Republic and the Constitution upon which it is based? The flag can be twisted to represent all kinds of bad stuff, but the Constitution, that's got the foundation for a nation of laws printed right on it. A bit harder to grab that and use it as a symbol of crushing someone's rights and liberties. It specifically enumerates what we're supposed to do and how. More general symbols, such as the flag and the sacrifice of past generations can be far more easily subverted by claiming that they stand for what you want them to stand for; the Constitution is much less forgiving of people trying to create meaning out of whole cloth.
So hang a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on the wall of classrooms, and make a pledge to it. "I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the Republic based upon it: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all." Give the "Under God" bit back to the Knights of Columbus who got it stuck in there during the McCarthy Era by using fear and manipulation; there's no need for it in that pledge anyway, least of all for those true to their God.
And while we're at it, let's stop making kids recite the pledge until they can demonstrate real understanding of what it means. Mindless indoctrination was supposed to be something we're against, right? Why are eight-year-olds reciting it? Most kids don't have a clue as to what half the words mean, and I don't ever recall a teacher explaining them. Heck, for years I thought that I was pledging "allegiance" (whatever that meant) to an "invisible" nation. I thought it was weird, but then, the whole Pledge thing was, to me, back then. Still is today, to the extent that it's more a political tool than a meaningful pledge. Ergo my suggestion for changes.
Posted by: ykw at January 11, 2006 03:22 AM
Posted by: tmkane at January 11, 2006 05:32 AM
Posted by: Paul at January 11, 2006 10:42 AM
Posted by: Claus at January 11, 2006 08:06 PM
Posted by: Luis at January 11, 2006 08:55 PM
Posted by: Kate in Phila at January 16, 2006 05:14 AM