A new episode you say?

I have to weigh in on this Pledge of Allegiance issue. Specifically the mandating that elementary and high school age kids stand up and recite the pledge of allegiance during school hours.

I said the Pledge of Allegiance when I was child and thought nothing of it, and that is precisely why I do not think it should be done in the schools today. It is something that kids do not think about, nor is it adequately explained, it is just something that is done every morning, day in and day out, repeating the same words over and over. And why? To get young children to buy into ideals that they do not understand before they know enough to object to them. It is a form of propaganda as assuredly as Hitler’s training programs for the young in Nazi Germany.

Certainly I am not comparing the U.S. and some harmless verses about a flag to Nazi Germany?!? Am I? Is it that far off? Don’t many of the citizens of the U.S. feel as strongly about their country as those people in Wartime Germany did? Aren’t their people who would die for our country if simply asked? Why? Isn’t it possible that they have been told – even programmed – to “love” their country in this way?

Before I get on any blacklists (too late you say) or anything let me state some of my beliefs about America: I believe the United States of America is the strongest, most affluent nation that has ever been on this earth. Our great diversity and natural resources, as well as our spirit are primary reasons for our success. We have many freedoms and our government is run nearly democratically. There are many, many great things about this country. I would not have chosen any other county to be born in (had I been given the choice) for, as a native of the United States, I enjoy a life that is completely foreign to 80% of the world regarding the level of prosperity available to me and opportunities I am afforded.

Here is some background on this form of compelled speech and how the Supreme Court has ruled over the years.

There have been several recent cases concerning this issue, including this one from Madison, Wisconsin.

Sometimes things that intend to unite can actually divide a school as is the case in this LA Times article.

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Why do we even pledge to our flag anyway? Only the U.S. and the Philippines, imitating the USA, have a pledge to their flag. What are the origins of this pledge? Many of the bible banging, ultra-right wingers out there who are decrying the need for the pledge may be surprised to learn that it was a socialist named, Francis Bellamy who created the pledge in 1892. There is some very interesting reading here about he early days of the pledge and how Bellamy extolled the virtues of socialism and the evils of capitalism and gave speeches on “Jesus the Socialist”. [Source: ACLU]

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All this talk of pledging to America for which it stands has inspired a new episode here at Alt Text, but it needs your help.

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