Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Importance of the Pledge

I remember when we used to say the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school each day. There was one kid who just sat there. I think he was a Jehovah's Witness. But I don't really know. No one ever said a thing about it except once when the teacher confirmed that he didn't have to stand with us.

No one ever refused to play with him or to my knowledge said anything at all.

A few years later, the school system stopped having kids stand and recite the pledge. And that is sad. Many people my age forgot what the pledge said. They can't recite it now, as they don't remember it. And that is sad.

I see comments on the web from time to time that show a pronounced lack of knowledge about my nation and its form of government. If one would just recite the Pledge of Allegiance and listen to the words, some of these gaps would be corrected, but because we stopped learning this, people don't know.

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.

Its really not long. But it states a couple of important facts.

1. The flag stands for the United States of America. Not just any part of it, or political group.
2. The government of the USA is a Republic. This differs in significant detail to a democracy. It is one of the ways we can have a majority rule and still have respect for the minority interest. Its important to remember this. The founding fathers had experienced both a monarchy, where the minority interest of the king had governed all, but they had also experienced democracy where the majority could quickly trample the interests of a minority. Out of this wisdom they selected the form of government that has proved more enduring and free than all others.
3. There are many states and people, but we make up one nation.
4. We are under God, no matter what you call him, this nation (and all others) exist because he allows it to.
5. We will not be divided. We may disagree, but the nation will stay a nation.
6. Liberty and the ability to pursue our own goals is fundamental.
7. Justice is the rule of law, not of man. Laws protect us from the government and from each other.
8. These principles apply to all citizens regardless of station, position, income or any other distinction. We are all equal in regards to the franchise and exercise of our citizenship.

We need reminders like the recitation of the pledge to keep the fundamentals of our citizenship in our memory. When we forget who we are, we have lost what is most precious.

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