Friday, September 16, 2005

Another case of: "Don’t they have more important things to worry about?!"

Back in June we had burning the flag; this month, once again, we have the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember saying the pledge as a kid everyday in school without paying attention to the words and not giving a shit what it meant. I can say that it was a stupid waste of time, but basically it didn’t do me any harm. I absolutely cannot understand why people feel so strongly one way or the other about the pledge when we are in the midst of wars and natural disasters and our economy is failing, etc. What I want to say is that people should choose a more useful cause.

But putting all of that aside for the moment, let’s have a look at our Pledge of Allegiance.

The original pledge was written in August of 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist, and published in the September 8th issue of The Youth’s Companion, a widely-read family magazine. The original text:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

“my Flag” was changed to “the Flag of the United States of America” in the 1920s, supposedly to ensure that immigrants would know to which flag they were swearing allegiance. Bellamy disapproved of the change but no one cared.

The words “under God” were added in 1954. One widely accepted opinion is that this change was a reaction to the godlessness of the Soviet Union. Bellamy was dead by the time of this change, but his granddaughter stated that he would have resented it.

Below are some of Bellamy’s own records of his thoughts in writing the pledge.

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.' ...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.

Some would say that Bellamy contradicted himself, that in fact Lincoln and the Civil War had contradicted the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Bellamy purposely left out the word ‘equality’ because he knew that it would not be accepted. Women and black people were not equal, after all.

I wish I had learned all of this in school instead of just having to repeat the pledge over and over.

2 comments:

Devastatin' Dave said...

What do you expect from a Christian Socialist? Just more idolatry of the State. Plus, the Southerners had to be put in the place because of their insolence and the "recent unpleasantness."

Max said...

An e-mail from Mrs Z, a teacher in California:

Max my love,

You'll be glad to know that in my 18 years of education I have never once uttered a single word of the pledge of allegiance and furthermore do not require my students to do so even on Fridays when it comes over the intercom. I quit doing it sometime in High School and caused quite a stir. So far it hasn't been a problem at any school I've ever taught for. No one even complains when I read
The Children's Story to the class. I salute you as a fellow pledge hater.

Big sloppy kisses
Mrs Z.