Considering how the new American Flag, and Pledge of Allegiance, flaps are erupting this summer, I figured it would be interesting to share old essays of mine, on previous such flaps, and see what readers, today, might have to say. ;-D ( Part 1 is here )
6/29/2002 - An Opinion on the Current To-Do Occupying the Attention of the Nation:
"ALL PLEASE RISE
Mr. Bellamy, you may proceed, sir."
Mr. Bellamy, rises and stands in front of the assemblage, and putting his right hand over his heart, faces the flag, and speaks:
"Please repeat after me....
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO MY FLAG AND THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL."
"Thank you, Francis. Everyone, please be seated."
"Thank you all for coming...
Well, it seems we on the Left Coast have rallied the nation to outrage yet again! :-)
I have been amazed at how quickly folks, especially Politicians, have turned saying the Pledge of Allegiance (Link no longer Active in 2011) into an issue of professing your Christian Faith.
It's already begun to be a political football what with only Republicans getting word quickly enough, apparantly, to show up for the recite-along.
I happen to think that Americans show hypocrisy when they froth at the mouth over issues like the burning of the Flag and the Pledge.
The Pledge was, and is, a wonderful document worth saying in school and public places and events in it's original form, but to me when Congress, during the fun days of the McCarthy Era stuck 2 words in there after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, when they were not needed, and never wanted by Mr Bellamy, ignored the constitutional separation of church and state and every citizens right to worship as they please and turned the oath into a public prayer in addition to the patriotic oath it was intended to be.
To make matters worse this wasn't even the first time it had been altered against the wishes of Bellamy and his descendants:
As Bellamy himself said: "The true reason for allegiance to the flag is the 'republic for which it stands'... And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation - the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove."
Oh, and one other thing, to piss off the Republicans in the audience:
This nation is a nation of many faiths. Coming to the New World to practice their faith as they pleased was one of the reasons the first European settlers paddled over here.
Most folks don't see the problem with those 2 words because one of those words refers to the God of THEIR faith, and that faith is the majority faith of our nation.
However, if the founders had wanted our country to be ONLY a Christian Nation, and one based on just ONE branch of Christianity to boot, they would have enshrined that notion into the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and the Bill Of Rights.
I feel there are a lot of other reasons more important to froth at the mouth about.
Our lousy Public School System.
Our lousy health-care system.
The sorry state of affairs in the Catholic Church & other churches, on a whole host of issues.
Campaign Finance Reform.
Problems with our Judicial System, Law Enforcement, and Jails and Prisons.
The disgraceful, unconscionably LOW, voter turnout in every single type of election you can think of.
The outragiously high cost of housing.
The possibility of a Baseball strike.
The astronomical salaries of athletes.
The high cost of tickets to sporting events.
The national drug problem.
And the travesty that is Corporate America and its various business practices.
I don't pretend to understand all of the issues revolving around these scandals, so maybe this can serve as a wake-up call for me and the rest of America to pay attention and learn some things.
Our Politicians sure aren't going to sit up and take into account what we think unless we do.
None of the above issues seems to matter to my fellow Americans, but let someone burn a flag as a way of practicing their right to freedom of speech and expression, let someone complain that if they or their child is forced to say or do something that is against their non-majority (& little understood by the great unwashed) beliefs then they are harmed by it and are harmed even more by the act of refusing to participate, and watch the fur fly!
Politicians are not stupid! ( Well, they daily show, in many ways, that they are, but that's a whole other discussion )
They know that jumping on this current bandwagon will divert the attention of most folks from the important issues that are currently, and have been for years, ignored by our elected representatives and the President.
The longer we allow it to be so the longer problems will fester and the more it will cost to fix them.
Jeez Louise, can't anyone see that? [ I'd lend out my Spectacles, but I'm blind as a bat without the little darlings :-) ]
Until we the citizens, & our politicians, set aside our individual self-interest and unite for our mutual community, state, and national interests then this country will continue to have it's problems.
Most folks have stopped asking questions about so many things going on in our country, beyond what I've listed already, & get outraged when the few folks, on the right and the left, who are asking do so.
Come on folks! Get your head out of your asses and pay attention!
A good place to start would be with the news, politics, culture, society, and opinion links ( more forthcoming in the future, I'm sure ) that can be found on this page.
I'll end with a variation on the words of a teacher of my mothers favorite comedian Red Skelton, as recorded by Red, in his Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance.....
"I dedicate all my love and devotion, to a symbol of Freedom respected by all, in a land of individual communities united in the love of country.
And to the Republic for which it stands, incapable of being divided, with the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
Under the principle of dealing fairly with others in a land for you, and me."
"Red predicted that a day would come when an issue was made of 2 words added in an act of craven politics.
There is no reason under the sun that the Pledge, AS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN, should be removed from our schools, public places, or public events."