I Don't Say The Pledge Of Allegiance Anymore
By James Donahue
Since the attack that started our war against terrorism,
patriotic symbols like our flag, certain music and military parades have become a constant imprint into the minds of American
I recognize the hourly barrage of patriotic songs, flag
displays, the repeated videos of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and certain other symbols as part of a conscious
and subconscious propaganda campaign. This form of electronic brainwashing is used to get the people of a nation mentally
prepared for war.
There is nothing wrong with patriotism. National pride is
the foundation of a strong nation where people can feel safe and secure. What I object to, however, is media and socially
imposed patriotism for the wrong reasons, and the constant use of old and sometimes meaningless clichés designed to excite
crowds for political purpose rather than ligitimate national defense.
I am especially bothered by the Pledge of Allegiance
that we make to our flag. This pledge is taught to little children in grade school and it is repeated in schools and most
public meetings so frequently that saying the words becomes rote. We say the pledge without thinking about what the words
I object to the pledge because it no longer represents the
state of our nation. To be truthful, it probably never did.
Let me explain.
The biggest problem I have with the pledge is that it says:
"and to the republic for which it (our flag) stands." Except in political speeches where rhetoric flies, few people even mention
that we are supposed to be a republic anymore. The key word we use is "democracy." I have to admit that we are probably a
democracy. I believe this nation stopped being a republic a long time ago.
It is because we turned our system into a democracy that
it can't be a republic. Oh, we have all of the appearances of being a republic. We elect our representatives to Washington
and we send them to our state capitols and to our county court houses to conduct the business of government. And they are
supposed to cast votes that represent the interest of the people in their voting districts back home. But does anybody believe,
for one minute, that they are really doing this anymore?
County board members might still be listening to the people
in their home precincts, but elected officials who go to state and federal jobs are not. They are mostly influenced by high-pressure
lobbyists representing organizations or business interests willing to use money (and power) to buy their votes. The interests
of the constituents are rarely considered anymore. To appease the home crowd, a certain amount of the money the government
robs from us each week in taxes is filtered back into local coffers so our legislators give the appearance of doing their
job. And that's about as good as it gets.
When you think about it, we don't really have a democracy
in the United States either. We have a lot of people being cleverly controlled by a few very powerful men, mostly wealthy
business leaders. We labor for these people for a mere minimal wage and think we are doing just fine. In actuality, we are
slaves. We are bombarded daily with carefully prepared propaganda so that we believe (a.) we are free, (b.) we have free thought,
(c.) our destiny is in our own hands, and (d.) our government will take care of us.
It is all a big lie.
We think we have free elections, but in reality they are
controlled. Think about the strange events surrounding the last presidential election if you question this. Out of all of
the millions of voters who went to the polls in this country, what would the odds be that the two leading candidates would
come down to such a horse race in a state controlled by George W. Bush's brother?
And this brings me to the next part of the pledge to the
flag that troubles me. We say in our pledge that we believe the flag represents "justice for all."
Even though the Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore
polled the popular vote in the United States, Mr. Bush was handed this high office by the Supreme Court, which everyone knows
is largely Republican in its makeup. Was it justice to block a second vote count in certain precincts that would have tipped
the scales for Gore? Was it justice to have turned away black voters in certain Florida precincts known to support Gore?
And what about the appellate court decision that reversed
a federal court's anti-trust decision against Bill Gates' great Microsoft Empire? That the richest man in the world mysteriously
got a panel of appeals court judges to turn the scales in his favor should not have been a surprise. After all, money is involved
here. It buys justice. But it doesn't promise "justice for all." Only justice for the rich.
We should not have to mention the lop-sided decisions by
the U. S. Supreme Court that now give large corporations the freedom to dump unlimited amounts of cash into the campaigns
of a select few of candidates seeking office. This same court blocked a class action lawsuit by the women of Wal-Mart against
their employer for gender discrimination.
Books have been written about the injustices occurring in
the criminal courts.
There is yet another word in that pledge that troubles me.
It is the word "liberty." No one in this country can honestly say they possess this.
Following is the definition of liberty from the American
Liberty is (a.) The condition of being free from restriction
or control. (b.) The right to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing. (c.) The condition of being
physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.
Liberty for the masses is non-existent in America. Now with
new "war on terrorism" legislation and federally imposed rules on what we say, read or write, the concept of personal freedom
is threatened more than ever before.
This is why I no longer recite the pledge of allegiance
when everyone around me does it. I still stand in reverence to the flag however. I knew her glory when it really meant something.