The Pledge is Sort of Like Secession

The mayor and her city council cronies of my liberal home-town, Eugene, Oregon made national news. In keeping with their oath of office requiring they support the Constitution of the United States, the bunch decided to bypass a motion to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. After all, why would anyone want to promise their loyalty and allegiance to the symbol of their country? That would be a lot like supporting the entity which provides them a job in the first place.

Mayor Kitty Piercy led the charge on this decision based on the logic that reciting the Pledge is just too divisive. In other words, honoring our flag by announcing our loyalty to the country tends to separate people. For those of you who believed that saying the Pledge was designed to be an act of unifying the citizenry of this country, apparently you were wrong. Standing side-by-side with the mayor, councilwoman Betty Taylor explained further, saying reciting the Pledge was like reading from the Communist Manifesto.

In attempting to temper their mandate, the group decided they would lead a recitation at meetings which fell close to national holidays, such as Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Presidents’ Day. This comes as a huge relief: We are allowed to feel divided due to the nature of the Pledge of Allegiance when celebrating national holidays. You see the logic in that, don’t you?

The smoking gun in all of this is the phrase “under God.” That insertion really sends a lot of people over the edge. A very real minority of Americans disavow the existence of God and cannot bring themselves to say His Name. So rather than refuse to utter that phrase, or simply show respect to the Flag by standing at attention while others recite the Pledge, they feel it’s important that no one be allowed to recite the Promise to our Country at publicly funded meetings wherein people elected by a majority conduct the business of protecting our rights. Remember, this is all about maintaining unity; collectively agreeing to support our country by publicly announcing our allegiance creates divisiveness. Contrarily, not supporting the principles upon which we were founded somehow builds bridges and fosters a sense of unity. Now do you get it?

Additionally, I’m sure the mayor and city council are worried about offending people from cultures who feel they cannot participate in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. When I taught in public schools, I had many immigrants who would not say the pledge under the conviction that the United States was not THEIR country. Their parents had come to take advantage of the economic opportunities, the healthcare, the better educational system, free breakfast and lunch programs for their kids, usually free health care for their kids, the enjoyment of due process, a sanitary lifestyle, guaranteed minimum wages or entitlement programs, an infrastructure not found in their own country, civil rights which extended to them de facto, safe neighborhoods, and more. However, many of those kids would not say the Pledge. It would be hypocritical to show support to this foreign flag which protected and provided for them.

Probably the best way for all of us to understand this divisiveness issue is to imagine ourselves immigrating to another country - say, an Islamic country. Presumably we’d get all the benefits there as immigrants enjoy here. Wouldn’t we? If not, surely they’d let us parade around the streets waving “Old Glory” while burning their flag and decrying it. And when it came time to honor their culture, their history, their way of life, their beliefs, the symbol of their identity, I’m pretty sure they’d forgo making any public proclamation of loyalty, simply because it might make us Americans feel separated. Yep, that’s pretty much what would happen. What would we do without the genius of people like Mayor Kitty Piercy and the Eugene City Council? Fortunately they can see the big picture, whereas we stupid patriotic Americans are just too dense to understand just how divisiveness it is to show loyalty to our Country.