Okay... I may be taking a dangerous path here with plenty of flaming along the way, but here goes...
Why exactly DO we say the pledge in schools? After reading 5 novels about brainwashing (1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, The Wave)
in the last 4 months, I must admit I've become quite paranoid about the media and our daily routines, fearing that perhaps we are manipulated much
more than we'd like to think. It wasn't until today, however, that I felt uncomfortable saying the pledge. I'm patriotic, and I plan on joining the
service at one point or another to protect it, but I don't understand completely why we must recite it everyday in our schools. In Arizona, we are
required by STATE LAW to recite it!!!
The point I'm getting at, however, is that the pledge seems aimed at unifying our opinion of the United States. I believe what it says for the most
part (and yes, I'm Catholic, so I appreciate 'under god'... that's what this country was founded on), yet I don't think it right that I must
pledge allegiance to the flag everyday. (Huh, it could be worse, I suppose, at least I'm not pledging loyalty...
) The pledge almost seems to
suppress negative thought over the USA, which I think is important. Otherwise, we would not be able to reform and improve the system as a whole.
Although the message of the pledge is not one that is suppressive in itself, I believe that any phrase or idea repeated constantly can greatly sway
opinion and thought of the sayer. Furthermore, it could be considered subtle suggestion in calling our nation indivisible, perhaps as to suggest that
we are one in thought. Taking this even further, as it is repeated many times, it could be interpreted by the mind that we should not become divided
by thought in voicing our opinion against any of the reigning party's ideals.
I believe nationalism can be a good thing at times, yet it is something that is often taken for granted. I will remind you of the effects that
nationalism had in both Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. Both Stalin and Hitler's governments were known for their propaganda programs that applied
great pressure to the indepedent thoughts of the countries' people. Although I do not do so, I know many of the members of these boards are eager to
draw parallels from these past political figures that represented hate, doom, and oppression to the modern president of the United States, Dubya.
I do hope this sparks an intelligent conversation, as I would love to hear the opinions of others on this subject. For the record, I have no personal
complaints with the pledge of allegiance, and will continue to pledge as required, yet I find a source of enjoyment and intellectual growth in
questioning what we take as daily routine and existence.
[Edited on 4-26-04 by Carvador]