Pledge of Allegiance: Schools, Wars, State Control & Authoritarianism

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  1. tonywicher says:

    This is funny, if horrible! It is exactly what our “schools” are doing now, not educating our kids but brainwashing them. We used to be horrified at kids being similarly brainwashed in, say, Mao’s China during the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”. Now here we are. Education has gone out the window, along with science and all intellectual integrity.

    My attitude toward the Pledge of Allegiance and the Flag has changed over the years. When I was a little kid in the 50’s, I used to say the version that my father taught me, which went like this: “I pledge allegiance to the feet of Tony Wicher, and to the legs for which they stand, one toe, indivisible, with sweat and toe jams for all.” I taught this version to my kid, Freemon, when he was very small. I think it was helpful in preventing the brainwashing. During the Vietnam war and long afterwards I thought of our flag as a hated symbol of imperialism. More recent years have seen a rebirth of patriotism in me. Sometimes as one gets older one starts to discover unconscious parts of one’s personality, and sometimes one encounters certain people that help to remind people of who they are and have always been. I began to see that there really is an American tradition, or an idea of America, that I always did believe in, and now I say that is the real America, the real United States, not this imperialist hell-hole we currently live in. I no longer mind saying the Pledge, not even the “under God” part, because in doing so I am taking an oath to uphold and restore the real United States, which is the idea of a free country and a government of by and for the people conceived by the framers of our Constitution. After all these years I’m a proud American.

  2. A pledge of allegiance done in a public fashion is more than a symbolic act: it a demonstration and manifestation of the power of the State to literally compel you to stand up and do what it wishes. The words spoken are arbitrary, window dressing to the actual, deeper effect. I believe even one’s own personal thoughts on what the words mean are secondary. It is one’s social participation in the predictable action at the moment of direction that takes precedence, in which one’s body becomes a conduit for the State and a manifestation of conformity. It is more than just memorization, but involves the entire somatic experience of the body, creating a kind of muscle memory readiness to spring to action and comply with a combination of physical movements, beliefs, and spoken words, not unlike the way martial arts trains you with basic movements so that they become the natural reaction under stress.

    Freedom is not a collection of words or a recitation, but rather a mindset that translates into the way we live our lives. Try NOT standing up and saying the pledge in the next public forum you attend. Ask yourself if the society is truly free, why does this act either A) make you feel uncomfortable and/or B) make the people around you feel uncomfortable. Could a free society ever engage in an activity that involves a public litmus test of socially coerced loyalty?

    I’m reminded of a scene from the film Dead Poet’s Society.

  3. tonywicher says:

    I have been the odd man out all my life. I spend most of my time by myself and I like it that way. Pledging allegiance to the flag or singing the Star Spangled Banner are outward signs of a patriotism one may or may not feel, of an idea one may or may not understand. They are only ceremonies. No need to be too obnoxious, but it is good to introduce some disruption sometimes. That’s why my father taught me his version, and I taught it to my son. There’s also my dad’s version of the Star Spangled Banner that goes “Oh say can you see, any bedbugs on me? If you do-o-o-o, I will fry you a few.”

  4. @tonywhicher

    thanks for the chuckle

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