If there was ever any doubt in my mind that the Senate lives and acts only to keep up appearances, they've been washed away by this little drama. Ninety-nine grown men and women banded together to demonstrate what it really means to be loyal to God and Country: Real Americans recite American stuff.
Somehow, we are supposed to believe, the Pledge of Allegiance touched an essential spot in the hearts of these men and women when they were little brainless children, and that same naive, romantic notion of America's place in this vast, cold universe has remained alive and well among our elected representatives. Evidently these grown men and women find some kind of solace in the idea that our children are being indoctrinated in the ways of conformity. So much so that they all banded together for a giant show of conformity in reciting that god-awful pledge of banality.
Forgive me for being too independent-minded to appreciate the value of the ridiculous pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the mindset for which it stands. I guess I won't be invited to anyone's Superbowl party now.
Want to know what's meaningless - not to mention quite sick? Grown adults compelling children to make "oaths" they can't understand in words they can't pronounce to a bloody flag.
Childhood, that most creative, loving, and imaginative stage of our being, is being reduced to an opportune moment for indoctrination into behaviors of social conformity. When a child refuses to say the pledge the other children ostracize that child, and many Christophrenic adults are known to join that chorus of ridicule. Yet the non-conformist is in the right, for she is compelled to be true to her guts. The gutless children persecute the outsider because - essentially - society has taught them that they can get away with it.
Besides, the Pledge is even more meaningless to me as an adult. I mean, check out this little mantra:
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands
With Liberty and Justice for All.
Do I really pledge allegiance? First of all, no adult in his right mind would pledge allegiance to something first before getting some facts together. Is the USA something to which I would want to pledge allegiance? Should I pledge allegiance to the flag or to my fellow man? Perhaps I should pledge allegiance to my inner-voice. The Republic for which the Flag stands is known as a "noble ideal." Those who are indoctrinated into loyalty to noble ideals invariably betray the higher ideals that support them. The Senate's show of blind conformity is a case in point. They thought they were demonstrating their loyalty to the ideals that America stands for, but is banal pandering to conformity really what America was founded upon?
As for the epilogue:
One Nation: The settlers who displaced the indigenous Nation.
Under God: Implies that America falls under God's sovereignty or has some kind of special favor. Meaningless in the sense that God doesn't love Americans any differently than He loves anyone else, including the fleas and cockroaches.
Indivisible: Not so. All composite entities are impermanent by nature. America will disintegrate as surely as Winter follows Autumn. If this is meant to imply that Americans are inherently loyal and bound to other Americans, well I guess it's true for all those kids who've taken the oath, right?
With Liberty: We're all free to choose, so enjoy that Big Mac and Camel filtered while you study for your GED and scratch that lottery ticket.
And Justice for all: One could argue that those who suffer from poverty in America are merely receiving their share of Justice (in the divine sense). But I suppose this little bit refers more accurately to the striving of American Law to provide due process and fair trials for the accused.
The ideals espoused by the Pledge are noble. The messy reality is that human nature is imperfect, and thus our institutions are imperfect. There is a lot of laziness, insensitivity, cynicism, and class-bigotry in this land of the free and home of the brave. There are a lot of unjust things that the Republic (for which the flag stands) has done in the name of preserving Justice for All.
I say, pledge allegiance to the flag if you understand it to be true to the ideals of your heart, but realize that we all leave a certain amount of humanity behind when we take oaths. And we lose our humanity altogether when we start compelling others to take oaths... especially really cheesy ones.
| slur was here