More news on the Pledge of Allegience

First of all, don’t forget to Demand that the Pledge of Allegiance Not Be Recited in Your Local School.

Ed Brayton has a write-up of the latest news on the Massachusetts lawsuit regarding daily recitation of The Pledge. The key question here is what kinds of pressures exist for students who decide to sit out the Pledge (and this applies to any sort of “not really required” activity).

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6 Responses to More news on the Pledge of Allegience

  1. tungl says:

    When I learned about the Pledge of Allegiance in English class at school (I must have been 16 or 17 at the time) I was shocked and creeped out as hell, because the only images I knew of children doing group pledges was from, well, fascist propaganda rallies. And while I knew that the US has a less (re-)strained relationship to patriotism than Germany, I also thought that individual liberties (especially of speech and creed) were thought of as even more important.
    It also didn’t seem to fit to the government skepticism that is usually touted. I mean, there are minor freakouts when useful stuff like vaccinations or science education are mandated, but pressuring children to perform a pledge is fine and dandy? It just doesn’t make sense.

  2. Deen says:

    @tungl: I expressed a similar puzzlement on Ed Brayton’s blog.
    It also didn’t seem to fit to the government skepticism that is usually touted.
    Admittedly, there is plenty of evidence that suggests that this supposed government skepticism is fake. They’re all for big government when it comes to waging wars, arresting immigrants and colored people with drugs, or putting women in their place.

  3. Tungl says:

    They’re all for big government when it comes to waging wars, arresting immigrants and colored people with drugs, or putting women in their place.

    Very true. Who knows, maybe this kind of thing gets automatic knee-jerk approval by conservatives because it pisses off the liberals…?

    Or is this even a thing liberals at large have a problem with? Or is it more of a fringe topic?

  4. dan-o says:

    Thanks Greg, you enlightened me quite a bit on this one. I enjoy reading your blog even though I may disagree with 98% of what you say. I will in fact be sending an email to my school’s board and asking their stance on this one. I do in fact enjoy that both my cub scout pack and boy scout troop start each meeting with the pledge. I am hoping they will get as much out of it as I did both from scouts and school some years ago. Oh and one last thing…

    I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!

    God Bless all of you and our beautiful country!

  5. Alecthar says:

    Tungl, as an American who would probably call himself “liberal,” I have to say that I’m not a fan of mandatory (or even the not officially mandatory, but basically still mandatory) pledge recitation. Unfortunately, there’s so much faith-based craziness in US policy that the Pledge isn’t really on my radar, given that I’m no longer in school. So I wouldn’t say it’s a “fringe” issue, so much as its one that doesn’t receive much consideration because we’re trying to keep Planned Parenthood funded, and contraception available.

    The efforts in MA are welcome, though, I’m glad that a young person and their family had more presence of mind and desire to fight something like this than I did when I was their age.

    And as an American currently living in Germany (love what you guys have done with the place, by the way, great roads) I have to say that I’m completely jealous of your restrained approach to patriotism. The present version of American “patriotism” is jingoistic, hawkish and exceptionalist, which is (as Germany is aware) a recipe for disaster

  6. Tungl says:

    Unfortunately, there’s so much faith-based craziness in US policy that the Pledge isn’t really on my radar, given that I’m no longer in school.

    Entiry unserstandable.

    Re: patriotism
    Yeah, I think that even if there are more or less harmless variants of patriotism, it’s just not in any way necessary. You don’t need it to have a functioning society of hard working, law-abiding, socially conscious citizens or to make children understand the advantages of democracy and civil liberties.

    I guess the flag-waving, anthem-singing part of patriotism just satisfies our desire to be part of a group. But I’d rather have those activities be confined to – for example – being a sports fan or something. There are people who overdo this, too, but at least its easier to point out how silly it is to get violent about something like this, while concepts like “national honour” are much more likely to be taken seriously.

    And while I certainly agree that there’s much less overt, flag-waving patriotism here in Germany, there’s still a lot of covert nationalism and an us-vs-them mentality at work. For example, the Greeks are painted as lazy, corrupt Southern Europeans, while we are the hard-working, upright, entrepreneurial role models and it would be best for all if we just took over governement.

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