We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, October 13. 2011
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I'm with the kid.
Old John and Ken show on the Pledge, which starts slow with a tedious interivew with lawyer and plaintiff mom, then gets good as angry callers complain and John defends
real audio, 31 minutes
Kid didn't want to stand for pledge in school.
I despise the pledge of allegiance. It was written by a socialist with the deliberate intent of creating loyalty to the government, rather than the principles the government should be bound by to weaken the resolve of the people to maintain their Constitutional protection.
I pledge allegiance to the Constitution, not the flag. I pledge allegiance to the founding principles, not the republic.
Cartoon FAIL. See West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943. Requiring kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.
The teacher is not requiring the student to stand for the pledge.
Reading comprehension fail.
Interesting comments, but not at all surprising from our free-thinking readers.
I tend to think of it as one of the few symbolic things that binds us as a nation, like national anthems, etc. In the fragmented America of today, lots of us have little in common except our governmental structures, I am sad to say.
Wolfwalker -so say those infallible nine in black robes, for not at least. Not so sure the Founder Fathers would agree, but what the heck would they know?
Daedalus -you lived in a different universe than I. When we recited the pledge, I believed it was to our country, not to the government. Guess I should have went to Madison to learn the correct manner in parsing sentences and divining intent.
Those darned Baptist Ministers!
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Yep, pure commie/socialist drivel.
Perhaps you think the pledge I took when enlisting in the U.S. Military was a Socialist conspiracy with evil intent also.
"On November 12, 2010, in a unanimous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston affirmed a ruling by a New Hampshire lower federal court which found that the pledge's reference to God doesn't violate students' rights. A United States Supreme Court appeal of this decision was denied on June 13, 2011." Drat them bringing God into the equation. Ah well, the oracles of nine may yet find that unconstitutional also.
"Wolfwalker -so say those infallible nine in black robes, for not at least. Not so sure the Founder Fathers would agree, but what the heck would they know?"
I am. You see, the plaintiffs in West Virginia v. Barnette were Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious minority, who objected to the pledge on the grounds that it violated their interpretation of the Ten Commandments.
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." -- Justice Robert H. Jackson, in his majority opinion in West Virginia v. Barnette
I'll be amused by your attempt to explain why Justice Jackson was wrong.
Oh, and lordsomber: any kid is going to feel coerced by the teacher's actions. Some will submit, some won't, but all will feel it.
It's a pointless ritual enforced by thugs. Sorry.
Bad litmus test for patriotism.
The reason for the national anthem at ballgames was it gets the crowd to shut up, stop milling around and pay attention.
It counts on spontaneous thuggery for enforcement.
So which universe do you live in? The pledge was written by a socialist, and while he was also baptist minister, he was forced from his congregation in Boston because...his sermons were dedicated more to socialism than Jesus. Call him an early Reverend Wright. And it was the fact that he was driven from his congregation that caused him to go work for the magazine where he wrote and popularized the pledge.
And with regards to the oath you took when you joined the military, if it was anything like the one I took, it was to the Constitution, not the flag and the republic. And it included 'enemies foreign and domestic.'
If you are not paying attention, the Constitution, the republic and the flag may seem the same, but it is most certainly not. There is a very strong reason socialist/progressives like Bellamy wanted loyalty to the government and its symbols rather than to the Constitution and the principles it was founded on...they were fundamentally opposed to the founding principles as enshrined in the Constitution. They were the domestic enemies.
Enjoy saying their pledge.
Silly me. I never realized I was pledging allegiance to the Government.
One would think that if The Pledge was a pledge to Government, that The Left would love reciting it. However my experience suggests left wingers are loathe to say The Pledge.
Perhaps someone could pull some excerpts and show me the socialism in the Pledge of Allegiance because my feeble mind simply doesn't see it.
I never realized I was pledging allegiance to the Government.Feeblemind, what did you think you were pledging allegiance to when you pledged your allegiance to the Republic?
I'm sorry I don't get it. Nobody should be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance but I'm at a loss to see why the fact (I'm assuming it's true) that it was written by a socialist has any bearing on whether to say it or not. I certainly don't see anything subversive to the United States in it.
To rhhardin's point, it may be a bad litmus test for patriotism, but I don't see that that is the point of the toon. The kid seems to have no respect for the country - he could certainly stand and not say the pledge (if you respect and honor the country, what is so objectionable about saying the pledge voluntarily?) If your objection is that the pledge is not about the Constitution, then it's a pretty easy substitution to make when you say it, but in my mind the country is the Constitution since the Constitution defines the country in so many ways.
From where I sit, most of the people who complain about the pledge (present company might be excluded) do not support the Constitution.
You don't get to say what other people have to say and when, even when it's not stupid pap.
Standing respectfully at the appointed moment is symbolic speech, and is likewise forced.
Lounging disrespectfully, as you noticed, is also symbolic speech as well. Do you want to ban it?
I agreed with your point that reciting the Pledge was a bad litmus test for patriotism. You seem to be implying that the kid may actually be patriotic... That seems similar to saying that people who burn the flag are patriotic (presumably because they are exercising their right of free speech).
Banning it??? What are you talking about??? I never said it should be banned or forced. Reread my post. Here, I'll help:
"Nobody should be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance..."
Since symbolic speech is important to you, I'll stipulate that included in "should not be forced to say the Pledge" is that a person can slouch, stand, sit, squat, lie down, stand on his head... while the Pledge is being recited (by someone else, or by everyone else in the room, or when led by an authority figure..). My point, and I believe the point of the 'toon is that the kid did not appreciate how good he had it or why.
Ron, God bless you. Have a great day.
The flag and the pledge mean something to me, maybe because when I went to school the male teachers in the room were mainly WWII vets. I looked up to them and when they announced that we were now going to recite the Pledge, we were going to recite the Pledge. Even today when I hear the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, I get a lump in my throat.
It is my memory and current observation that most young boys are nasty little snots in desperate need of civilizing. That used to be what the public schools helped do. At that age the shared moment together in the beginning of the day was the beginning of the process of learning that we were all part of something beyond the classroom, our homes or neighborhood. Couldn't expect them to understand much more than that, yet.
Do you think the "Occupy" people squatting in our public parks open their day with either the Pledge or the Anthem? Do you think they profess any affection for our shared rituals of patriotic expression?
As far as the kid in the cartoon, (it is just a cartoon) feet up on the desk (never allowed at any time in my day) in front of a wounded, uniformed soldier with sullen disdain on his face, is he the model of the protean American citizen you'd like to see?
jesus was also a socialist. Socialism is just religion applied to a system of Government.
The kid should thank the vet. And remain seated.
No, Jesus was not a socialist. That is a myth put out by socialists as a PR move for moral cred. They have even convinced some Christians that it's true, or at least half-true, but it's still just bunk.
As to the pledge, many who refuse do so for religious reasons, as pledging allegiance - making a promise - to an earthly power that might go sour, and is any event never perfect, strikes them as a usurpation of an honor owed only to God. I say the pledge myself, but I see their point.
Nostalgia is an insufficient reason to say the pledge, and the usual cartoonist's liberty of painting the bad boy as boorish, lazy, and ungrateful, leaving no possibility he is principled, is an emotional manipulation.
This is obviously one of my hot buttons. Please bear with me, I think you will find it worth it.
Mudbug, that is an honest response, and demonstrates what is so diabolical about the pledge. You are right, there is nothing patently offensive about the words in it. It is that which is missing which is so offensive about it. Let me demonstrate with a thought experiment:
As a hypothetical example, let's say that the foundational principles the nation you love are being gradually and deliberately eroded. The nation slowly slips down the slippery slope all the way from the most free nation on earth, all the way down to the most tyranical hell hole you can imagine. Worse than the East German Stasi with all the technology of the 23rd century. So long as the dictator claims to be a republic (like say, North Korea today), and does not change the flag, where can you say, "thus far and no further...one more step would violate the pledge of allegiance!" After all, is it not social justice to put the kulaks in the camps? Is everyone on the same bread line a form of liberty? Is not your pledge to the flag and the republic? Is not the balancing of liberty and justice really one for the (kangaroo) courts?
Let's say that it is the late 19th century, and you are a socialist in the most free nation in the history of the world. The economic aspect of that freedom (capitalism) is so potent that your country is very quickly vaulting from what was an irrelevant colonial backwater to the world's first superpower. But you want a socialist paradise. You know that your socialist ideals are directly contradicted by the principles enshrined in the Constitution. You know the limitations that document places on the government must be overcome. After being thrown out of your own congregation, you know that the people love their freedom, and will not be convinced to give it away. After the early failures of revolutions, you know it will not be a popular revolution...it will be led by the modest 'vanguard of the proletatiate' As a Fabian socialist, you know that a small minority can gradually ratchet modest changes bit by bit.
Your great fear is that the great mass of people realise that you are undermining their country and start to resist this process. How might they resist? What if someone wrote a pledge of allegiance to the founding principles to highlight that you were undermining those principles? How could you, a socialist, pledge allegiance to the founding principles of very small government? Would that not out you as a traitor the ideals your country was founded on? Would that not stop the undermining of those principles dead in its tracks? How can you aviod this obvious response?
Why, write your own pledge. Get every child in the country to pledge allegiance to the flag...the same flag you plan to fly over your socialist paradise. Get them to pledge allegiance to the republic...the republic you plan on making the socialist republic. What you cannot tolerate is a pledge to the foundational principles. So you write and popularize a pledge without this very obvious and key linchpin. After all, who can be against the flag? Who can be against the republic?
If you, dear Maggie's Farm reader, were to start with a blank sheet of paper, and no knowledge what so ever of the existing pledge and the distracting psuedo-controversy about whether or not 'under God' should be in it, what would you pledge allegiance to? Would it really be to the flag and the republic? Or would it be to the Constitution? Or the founding principles?
Mine would sound a lot like the first half of the oath I took upon commisioning, 'I, [name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same."
That is the pledge the socialists had to avoid...it is not that the pledge was written by a socialist, but why it was written the way it was by a socialist that matters.
I see your point. It was well made, but I'm not convinced of the subversive nature of the Pledge. I, like you, might prefer that the Pledge be about founding principles. I would note that the forces that are trying to undermine those principles are also trying to undermine the Pledge rather than embracing it. I think the fact that the people who prefer to recite the pledge generally consider it to be similar to a pledge of allegiance to the Constitution is their reason for their (those who seek to undermine the Constitution) efforts.
That's certainly not to say that Bellamy did not intend for the pledge to have the potential you describe. Taking a quick look at Wikipedia was very interesting (and a little unsettling). However, I found this which seems to argue against a subversive meaning (from Wikipedia):
Bellamy commented on his thoughts as he created the pledge, and his reasons for choosing the careful wording:
"It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution... with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people...
"The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the 'republic for which it stands'. ...And what does that last thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation - the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?
"Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, 'Liberty, equality, fraternity'. No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all..."
Bellamy "viewed his Pledge as an 'inoculation' that would protect immigrants and native-born but insufficiently patriotic Americans from the 'virus' of radicalism and subversion."
He was wrong about Jefferson. He was supportive at first but appalled at what the French Revolution was really about. That misunderstanding could be construed as subversive. I could argue against the "indivisible" part since, the states that formed a voluntary union should be able to peacefully withdraw from that union.
In the end, (now that I've thought about it more) I think it is something most people recite to express their patriotism without thinking much past their purpose in reciting it - maybe some recite the Lord's Prayer in the same way. It is something that affirms their Christianity but they don't think a whole lot deeper about it than that. I think it is the purpose that people bring to the recitation that is important. Thanks for making me think of it in a different way...
Thanks for thinking about it. I agree that most people recite the pledge out with a generic patriotism, as was intended. What is sad is that such a potent potential bulwark of our founding principles was subverted at inception.
The idea that Bellamy, a hardcore socialist (aka communist) in the US in the late nineteenth century was against 'subversion' gives lie to itself. He was a subversive, and of course, would deny it publicly to advance his subversion. As with so many on the left...what they project on others is really their own plan. After all, what radical and subversive idea, other than his own beloved socialism, was a genuine threat to the country that we needed a pledge to protect ourselves from it?
My take on Bellamy's emphasis on 'one nation, indivisible' was really about several things:
First, his expectation that the socialist revolution would not be geographically spread evenly, he wanted to make sure that where his socialist cadre led, the whole nation would follow. The socialist plan was to expand and control the federal government...they wanted to make sure no states could stop the creeping by dropping out. After all, every schoolchild recites that the nation is indivisible. The indivisible was meant to cement the federal over the state governments and stop any (legitimate...the slavery question was already settled) states rights issues blocking the path to his socialist dream.
Second, he was playing off the fears of the nation that was in living memory split so bloodily apart. It was already 30 years after the civil war. It was clear the issues there were settled, the war would not continue. Not only was the war over, the reconstruction era with its tensions was over. There was no genuine risk of the south rising (militarily) again, but it played on the fears of those who left their brothers, fathers and sons buried scattered across this great country, whether they were buried in blue or grey. I think it was that which was the greatest selling point of its quick rise to popularity...that was the US post civil war version of 'never again.'
I agree that most people recite it without thinking and mean it is a generically patriotic act...and that is a shame. It is a shame that a hard core radical subversive intent of the destruction of the principles this country was founded on can recite the pledge...honestly.
We should at least make those who intend to subvert the founding principles lie in order to drape themselves in the protective cloak of patriotism.