Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Why I Will Not Say the Pledge of Allegiance

Memorial day is over and it has left me with some things on my mind. Much like the 4th of July, memorial day is filled with nationalistic ideas and patriotic feelings consisting almost entirely about the USA being the greatest country on the planet, but, there are never any actual facts presented to back up the cheers. It's like we're cheering on our favorable baseball team as being the best in the league, despite the fact that their starting pitcher only has a 78mph fastball, no curveball, and the team hasn’t won the world series since 1922.  But they’re still the best, as is, so the analogy goes, the United States.

Now look, I am grateful for the freedoms I have in this country and for the men and women who fought and died for those freedoms, but those freedoms and that history is not unique to the US. There are many countries throughout the world that I could move to and have virtually the same freedoms that I enjoy here, but I digress. I am grateful that in the past, the US has been a shining light on a hill, that because of the example of the USA, many people throughout the world have virtually the same freedoms that we have, but lately, that light, that shining beacon on a hill, has been greatly dimming and now, in my opinion, what is left of that shining beacon is but a flickering candle.  That small flickering light only serves as a warning to other western countries about what can happen to a nation whose political ideologies divide the people and drive a wedge so deep that compromise and bipartisanship become literally impossible.

Forget economy or educational standing or poverty or prison population or crumbling infrastructure, forget all of that. Our inability to work together is what has turned us into a second rate country, and I think that I’m being generous with rating us in 2nd.  There are days that I’d say we are lucky to get 4th rate status.
This is one of the reasons that I refuse to say the pledge of allegiance, refuse to salute the flag and consider myself an expat, even though I still live in this country.  I may be an American on paper, but I consider myself nationless.
Here's an example of what I’m talking about.
Just before the primary elections here in Utah,  I wrote something about my wish, my desire, for open primary elections. An election where all citizens, regardless of party, could cast their vote for the best candidate in any party. What could be more American than that? Right?
Well, I had the temerity to post that desire on Facebook.
Do you know that I actually got flak from several conservative “friends,” including my little brother. They had the audacity to tell me that primary elections should never be free and open.  They basically told me that if I didn’t want to register with a major party then I should just sit down and shut up.  That I could vote for whoever THEY told me that I could vote for.
That is seriously frakked up!  That, is really un-American, in my opinion.
So why do I refuse to say the pledge? Let me explain by analyzing the text, the real message in the pledge of allegiance.
“I pledge…”
What is a pledge? A pledge is a solemn oath. A sacred promise that you make before God and you will be judged accordingly if that oath is broken.
What are you promising when you say those two opening words?
Absolute fidelity. To God? No. Then to who?
“to the flag of the United States of America...”
To the fabric? To the symbol printed on it? To the land? To the geographical boundaries? To the people? No, no, no… none of that. You are not pledging allegiance to any of those things, not to God, country, apple pie, or Mother. So who or what are you pledging allegiance to?
“and to the republic, for which it [the flag] stands…”
a Republic is a form of government, period. A republic is not the country, it’s not the flowing waves of grain, or the purple mountains. A Republic is a form of government, and nothing more. By reciting the pledge you are pledging your allegiance, before God, that you will have complete fidelity, loyalty, and obedience to the Government of the United States. By reciting the pledge of allegiance, you are making a sacred oath of absolute loyalty to that screwed up, corrupt, mob of oligarchs in Washington D.C.  And that is all, now how does that make you feel?
Over the winter, a group of right wing wack-jobs took over a wildlife sanctuary in Oregon stating that they were fighting government overreach all while pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States Government, the symbol (read: Logo) of that which they were fighting against. If the occupy movement were waking up every morning and pledging allegiance to the logo of JP Morgan Chase we’d all think that they had lost their marbles. But pledging allegiance to the government that you are fighting against, that makes you a patriot.
Does that make any sense at all?
“One nation, indivisible…”
Unable to be divided? I have news for you, we are divided.  
Democrats vs. Republicans
White vs. Black
Rich vs. Poor
European ancestry vs. All other ancestries
Religious vs. Non-religious
Gay vs. Straight
Flag wavers vs. Non-flag wavers
Trump supporters vs. Hillary supporters vs. Bernie supporters vs. The other guy supporters
Coke vs. Pepsi
Ford vs. Chevy
Jocks vs. Geeks
Fill in your own division here.
I don’t think that there has ever been a time since the civil war that we have been this divided.
You’ll notice that I may have forgotten “..under God...” well the truth is, that we might as well take that part out of the pledge, because Americans are turning their backs on God.
According to the PEW Research Center, only 37% of Americans go to church weekly and that number is dropping year to year.  So the answer is no, I didn’t forget “under God,” but America has.
“with liberty and justice for all.”
Where do I go with this one?
I’ll start with the “for all” because that’s the biggest lie in the pledge.  The word “All” means: encompassing the entirety, without exception, without the loss of a single part, everything and everyone.  All.
But we don’t believe in liberty and justice for ALL, now do we.  We believe in us, and them.  We belong here in this place because our grandparents came here, that makes us, US. But them, they are the other, they don’t belong here, they aren't like us because their grandparents didn’t come here, they stayed there, so they don’t belong here with us, they need to stay there with them, in their place.  It doesn’t matter to us that they are living in war torn lands, or are facing starvation and death.  Their grandparents should have thought about that then, now there is no place for them with us.
Follow me?
We don’t believe in liberty and justice for all, we believe in liberty and justice for us.
Look at the words before you swear an oath, just as you should read the fine print before signing a contract.

Think about it.

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