Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Socialist is the Pledge of Allegiance?

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! In that vein of Patriotism and Nationalism and memorialism, I give you:

The Pledge of Allegiance. As many of you (should) know, it reads as follows:
"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."

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an oath of loyalty to the national flag and the Republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892. The Pledge has been modified four times since then, with the most recent change adding the words "under God" in 1954. The latest update is a detriment to the Federation of these United States, it was when instituted, albeit lacking at the time in obvious reprisal, but especially now as things have changed and it's become more of a thorn in the finger, infecting our solidarity as a mixed people and a "tossed salad" nation.

Do we really need to be relying, even if only done to achieve votes as it typically the situation at this time, on the mystical in guiding our diverse nation? Allow me to help you with closure on that question: No.
Students swearing the Pledge on Flag Day in 1899

Now this will really drive some conservatives nuts:

Bellamy was a Socialist. 

So, the most American of pledges people say, are socialist. :) Too funny, if you ask me. The original was:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it - knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

That is a solid pledge and should never have been changed, as it actually covers all American citizens and is actually more American in my view than the revised version.

Some have wanted to substitute the revised words "Under God" with "Under Law" an even worse idea as it raises the concept of law to that of God, at least in many people's minds and when conservative administrations take over as we've seen (Nixon, Reagan, Bush jr., funny, they're all Republicans) we seem to lose civil liberties and freedoms.

This next part is verbatim and should be known by all Americans, especially if you are going to go all crazy about being American. From Wikipedia:

"In 1951, the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization, also began including the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In New York City, on April 30, 1951, the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to amend the text of their Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of each of the meetings of the 800 Fourth Degree Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus by addition of the words "under God" after the words "one nation."

"Over the next two years, the idea spread throughout Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide. On August 21, 1952, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus at its annual meeting adopted a resolution urging that the change be made universal and copies of this resolution were sent to the President, the Vice President (as Presiding Officer of the Senate) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The National Fraternal Congress meeting in Boston on September 24, 1952, adopted a similar resolution upon the recommendation of its president, Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart. Several State Fraternal Congresses acted likewise almost immediately thereafter. This campaign led to several official attempts to prompt Congress to adopt the Knights of Columbus’ policy for the entire nation. These attempts failed.
Pres. Harry Truman
"In 1952, Holger Christian Langmack wrote a letter to President Truman suggesting the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Langmack was a Danish philosopher and educator who came to America in 1911. He was one of the originators of the Prayer Breakfast and a religious leader in Washington, D.C. President Truman met with him along with several others to discuss the inclusion of “under God” and also “love” just before “liberty and justice”.[citation needed]

"At the suggestion of a correspondent, Representative Louis C. Rabaut of Michigan sponsored a resolution to add the words "under God" to the Pledge in 1953.
Students pledging to the flag with the Bellamy salute.

"Rev. Dr. George MacPherson Docherty (left) and President Eisenhower (second from left) on the morning of February 7, 1954, at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.

"Prior to February 1954, no attempt to get the Pledge officially amended succeeded. The final successful push came from George MacPherson Docherty.

Some American presidents honored Lincoln's birthday by attending services at the church Lincoln attended, New York Avenue Presbyterian Church by sitting in Lincoln's pew on the Sunday nearest February 12. On February 7, 1954, with President Eisenhower sitting in Lincoln's pew, the church's pastor, George MacPherson Docherty, delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address titled "A New Birth of Freedom." He argued that the nation's might lay not in arms but its spirit and higher purpose. He noted that the Pledge's sentiments could be those of any nation, that "there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life." He cited Lincoln's words "under God" as defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.

"President Eisenhower, though raised a Jehovah's Witness, had been baptized a Presbyterian just a year before. He responded enthusiastically to Docherty in a conversation following the service. Eisenhower acted on his suggestion the next day and on February 8, 1954, Rep. Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to that effect. Congress passed the necessary legislation and Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.

"The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress amending §7 of the Flag Code enacted in 1942."

End Wikipedia citation.

So, the pledge including "God" is actually a mostly Catholic invention.

I submit that we should have a separation of Church and State in this country and that what differentiates us from other non secular countries is our ability to accept all and treat everyone with equal understanding and consideration under and by, the law. However, justice being blind, we need more than that and to have the words "Under God" detracts from that because for some reason when you put God into the picture, people use that to insert their own biases and treat people as less if and when different.

We should be able to speak out against wrongs, be they commited by or in the name of, our Country, our or another's God, or people for reasons religious or other. When you are dealing with so powerful a concept as an omnipotent God figure, you decrease the protection of the people by the mere nature of that concept and that never has a place in a democracy devoted to the people being the end all be all of the society. "The People" are not those generally accepted, or the "In Crowd" or those rich or in power. Eliteism creeps into any and all levels of a society and this needs to be countered by any and all means.

That is not to say I am saying we should seek communism, or even absolute socialism for that matter as I do not. Communism does not work because of the greed inherent in Human beings, evolved from the need to acquire to subsist through hard times. Socialism is already prominent in our Government and Society and is not bad, total or absolute socialism is. The rich and powerful do not like the concept of helping everyone in society as it costs them. But it doesn't cost those dying from lack of food or healthcare, they simply die and are no longer a worry, concern or cost to those in power. And those in power include those upper middle class to upper upper class.

No one should be receiving free handouts to live. If anyone gets help, it should be for a reason and until they can be independent on their own unless they are not capable. But no one should be suffering in America to the extent that some of them do, either. On the other hand, our prison system is designed purposely to give a free handout, if you want to think of it in that way, and then simply turn those interred out back again into the populace when they are released from their term, rather than holding them away from society for a reason, to train them out of their situation, so they can become independent and no longer have a need to seek crime as a lifestyle choice or method of income. We tend to lock people up like animals and then expect them to shape up when they are released.

In coming back around to the Pledge of Allegiance, we need a pledge that EVERYONE can get behind, not just those who think they are the betters in a society. And so the word "God" needs to be removed. It is not so much as removing God as many religious types will see it, but putting the pledge back to its original form so that all citizens are included. You do not even have to swear on a bible in court any longer but can choose another book or simply state that you will tell the truth and have it made understood that if you should be found to be lying, you will suffer the consequences. Something that is missing when you swear to God. Courts should not be concerned with you suffering for lies in the afterlife but in this life and immediately.

So, think about it.

Only, I would change the phrase, "my flag", to "our flag". Really, we don't need any more separation than necessary in our citizenry, just between Church and State. We should all see it as "our flag", "our Nation", "our Responsibility" to be a good Citizen and be behind what our country stands for, to feel motivated to keep it from running astray away from our base principles of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And I've seen too many, for too long, getting between good, law abiding citizens, who in some cases have been made to be law breaking citizens for no good reason, in those simple principles being perverted by the authorities that be.

"I pledge allegiance to our Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

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