Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Free and Associating


On August 31st, after the second day of school, I spotted the question of a concerned parent wanting to know if students were being led through the Pledge of Allegiance because theirs hadn’t been.

The conversation which followed contained the usual. 

  • Mine have.
  • It’s early yet.
  • Why do you ask?
  • That’s not my biggest concern right now.
  • Ooh. This is important. We have to keep an eye on this.
Not surprisingly, when someone suggested this was not a big deal, one of the time honored tropes of the Right reared its ugly head. You know, “If you don’t think saying the Pledge to the Flag is important I’ll be happy to put you on a plane to some God-forsaken country.” Essentially, the argument is that if you don’t say the Pledge you don’t honor our nation, and freedom, and…all that stuff. (Generally not articulated very well.)

Why is this always the way? Why is this so often the response from a certain political mindset? 
  • If you don’t like it here, go to_____________.
  • If you disagree you don’t have a right to be here.
  • Go back where you came from.
In general the Left and the Left-leaning don’t do this. I have seen comments after elections that reminded some on the Right that they had pledged to leave the country if their candidate lost, and that it was perfectly fine if they wanted to follow through on that…

But that’s more of an arched eyebrow. The Right jumps at the chance to shout, “Get out and stay out!”

And yet here we all are. I don’t like everybody and I don’t agree with everybody and I think we all need to be working to make the country better for everyone. I get angry and frustrated (particularly in response to COVID anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers) but it has never occurred to me to tell people they don’t have a right to be here because they disagree with me.

Here in Howard County there are people who essentially think that I (or maybe you) should be expatriated because we don’t believe in the required recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. I’m trying to figure out what I think about that. 

I think perhaps that they, or probably all of us, could benefit from daily recitation of poetry , or speeches that really make you think. Or story books that draw us together for the common good. 

It is my personal opinion that many of those who are of the “My Country: Love It or Leave It” variety don’t particularly want liberty and justice for all. There is absolutely no point in having a pledge, let alone requiring it to be said, if our commitment is not for all. The flag is not a weapon with which to beat down those who are different than we are. It is not a blanket to cover up dissent. 

It is not a sword, it should be a ploughshare.

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