I read something disturbing today.  It starts out with an article about The Pledge of Allegiance inspired by a tale of kids in school refusing to recite the Pledge because they believe “the Pledge forces them to show support for the government they do not agree with”.

The explanation of the Pledge of Allegiance that followed is something that I think everyone who refuses the Pledge should be required to read.  The Pledge of Allegiance does not mean that you’re swearing to support a particular administration.  It means that you are expressing support for the Flag and the nation that it represents.  You have the freedom to disagree with the government as a whole or with individual members of that government.  We’re not required to agree with a president or other politician that holds an office, however the office itself and what it is supposed to mean to this nation deserves respect, as does the holder of that office even though you may not agree with that person’s politics or policies.

The next item on today’s reading list is an article on Off The Cuff, also about the kids that refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance and a comment on that entry.

That commenter says:

As a veteran that served in the first Persian Gulf War and as an American that has had relatives serve in every major war this country has ever participated in, I have no problem with kids not wanting to say the pledge of allegiance.

The problem is that it’s obvious to me that they don’t understand what that Pledge means.  If they did, then if they disagree with or disapprove of the government and it’s actions it seems to me that the Pledge of Allegiance would take on even more meaning because again, When you say the Pledge of Allegiance you are NOT supporting the people that make up the government, you are supporting The Flag and The Republic that it stands for.

If the people who comprise our government are in the wrong, then our Allegiance to “The Flag and The Republic for which it stands” requires us to take action.  It means that we should vote, we should work to get somebody into the office in question that will do the job they’re supposed to be doing… representing the American People.  It means that we should try to inform and educate as many people as we can and work to effect change.

I Pledge Allegiance to The Flag, And to the Republic for which it stands.

… NOT to this or that political party, politician or their policies… especially if I believe them to be wrong or in some way harmful to this nation.

When I was in school, I said it by choice, while other students (notably Jehovah’s Witnesses) did not say the pledge of allegiance.

I believe that everyone should CHOOSE to serve their country. I see no reason to force or compel people to do so that do not have the inclination. I do not agree with their choice, but I do respect it.

That’s true, everyone HAS a choice and only they can make that choice and we’re all expected to allow them that choice.  I don’t agree with the choice that those kids made to not say the Pledge but it’s their right.  It’s also my right to say that I believe their choice is wrong because they made it for the wrong reason.  I believe that their choice is wrong because the reason they’re giving tells me that they don’t truly understand what the Pledge is all about.

That choice goes double for anyone that wants to freely express their disagreement with the government. We do not have to agree with everything our government chooses to do. The fact that we are a functional democracy is what makes us great. Setting up a fascist society that forces people to go along with government decrees would make us little better than the Soviet Union in the fifties.

That’s why the Pledge of Allegiance is to the Flag and the Republic for which it stands and not to President Bush or President Clinton, Washington, Harding, Regan, Carter, Kennedy, Roosevelt (Franklin OR Teddy).. or any other president or government official.

Technorati Tags: choice, flag, freedom, freedom+of+speech, government, people, pledge+of+allegiance, president, republic

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