Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Pledge of Allegiance

I was listening to Terry Gross on Fresh Air, and the guest was Richard J. Ellis discussing his recent book about the Pledge of Allegiance, To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance. He had several interesting points, including the fact that the original pledge was:
  • I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
No God. In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. No "United States of America". Ellis posits that this change in the early 1920's was a reaction to the flood of immigrants that weren't WASPs. These immigrants might be thinking about the flag of Croatia when saying "my flag" instead of the US flag.

He also wonders at the fervent adoption and defense of a practice that institutionalizes state worship for the people of the most individualist country in the world. I wonder about this as well. How can we foster a sense of freedom and responsibility for one's own actions when every day children are pledging themselves to unquestionably "follow the leader." These are leaders that have proven themselves time and again to be more concerned with re-election and the protection of business than with the true needs of the American populous.

So, I propose a new pledge:
  • I pledge allegiance to the constitution, and to the principles contained within: one people for the common good, with liberty and justice for all.

No comments: