Monday, February 06, 2006

Forcing the pledge...

Today I was reviewing bills that are before the Florida House and Senate and I discovered that the powers-that-be have thrown into the Class size amendment a bit about mandatory reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

Both HJR 307 and SJR 534 call for an amendment to s. 1, Art. IX of the State Constitution, which would require public school students in all grades to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and that they should be excused only if the parent provides a written excuse.

When I was a kid I didn't have a problem with the Pledge in school but then again no one forced me to say it but I certainly would have expected that if I had chosen not to say it, I would not have been required to obtain my parents permission. I think that my parents would have thought that ridiculous. We teach schoolchildren to be good citizens yet we do not allow them to decide for themselves whether or not they want to participate in reciting the pledge. Let's let these kids be good citizens--if they want to stand up and say the Pledge, let them go for it, if not fine, leave them be. Is the child who refuses the pledge any less patriotic? I think not. Instead of doing the thinking for them, let's teach these kids to stand up for themselves and decide in what way they want to express their appreciation for being an American.

You know it's really quite amazing....right now in America we have politicians pushing for legislation that would ensure parents have no right to be notified if their underage daughter seeks an abortion and yet we have politicians want to pass laws which require a child to obtain written consent from the parent before refraining from reciting the Pledge. This is forced patriotism. A flag in every classroom, every child reciting the Pledge. Sounds more like a socialist nation than a free and democratic republic.

Our politicans are going about this patriotic thing ass backwards. It is the act of standing up for freedom and liberty, not reciting mere words, which makes one a true patriot.


  1. Anonymous2/06/2006

    I think this is a great idea. By the way, the elected officials that are pushing this would be the same ones who want a minor to notify their parents before they obtain an abortion. It is the ones who don't want parental notification that would not want to impose forced recital of the pledge on children yet they also think we need parental notification for our children to take a tylenol.--ST

  2. Sorry but I disagree. I do not think that forcing a child to recite the pledge does anything good for our country. It is mere words, we both know that. It is action and not words that means more than anything. Teach the kids to ACT as good citizens and DO THEIR DUTY to preserve liberty and freedom which goes a heck of a lot farther than reciting some mere words.

  3. Anonymous2/06/2006

    I know you are a very patriotic person, but the problem is our school system no longer fosters a love for America. They teach how evil we are. We destoryed the native Amaericans, held black people in bondage, oppressed the poor. History class seems to have turned into a litney of what's wrong with America. What happened to all the great advances we have made. What happened to freedom and opportunity and the fact that anyone can succeed in America if they work hard enough. Why do people from all over the world still want to come to America? Anything that the public school system can do to start fostering a love of country and patriotism would be a step in the right direction.--ST

  4. Isn't it nice that we can converse and not namecall? Maybe our elected officials should learn a thing or two from us eh Susan?

    I agree with the problems in the school system, you know that for sure! The thing is that the problems cannot be solved through forcing children to say patriotic words, we must encourage, not force them to do patriotic things. We must teach them history and civics. They need to know world and american history and they need to know american government. We also lead by example. The problem is that anytime you force something you just never get out of it what you expect. Hitler forced patriotism, and I certainly believe we could head in that direction. There are some people in office in this country who would love nothing more than to see the rest of us follow like lemmings, or blind fools. A love for America can be fostered best by teaching children what America is all about. It isn't about the pledge, it's about what's in the heart. Kindness, justice, decency, hard work, perseverance, it is all part of what America is all about. And all of that means so much more than reciting words to the Pledge, at least IMO. ANd as always you are so well spoken!!!!!

  5. Anonymous2/06/2006

    I do agree with you on how best to foster patriotism. It definitely can not be forced. However, I just don't see how reciting the pledge harms anyone. I took my kids to church as children because I wanted to foster a love of God with in them. I didn't feel like I was forcing anything on them. Of course, just taking them to church would not make them a Christian no more than reciting the pledge makes someone patriotic. What it does is foster and encourage the character we would like them to have.

    By the way, only people with no ideas or original thoughts revert to name calling and we both know you and I are brilliant!:)

  6. Of course, just taking them to church would not make them a Christian no more than reciting the pledge makes someone patriotic. What it does is foster and encourage the character we would like them to have.

    Good point.

    The thing is that you and R. make the choice to take your kids to church, the state has nothing to do with it. With the Pledge, the State Government is attempting to force children to recite the Pledge. The Pledge itself isn't a bad thing, it's that the government is attempting to require it.

    Another thing is they speak of patriotism but what do children really know about patriotism? And why do we think the Pledge will somehow teach them something about it? The Pledge doesn't teach them anything, but having millions of schoolchildren reciting it will appease the extremists in our government.

  7. Anonymous2/07/2006

    Let's revisit the intent of this bill. It would require the recital of the pledge, but what are the reprucussions if a child refuses. Do they fail? Are they kicked out of school? No! There are no consequences. And since their parents have the right to opt out, I don't see how we can call this forced recital.

    However, I will give up the pledge if we can require our children to read and discuss the great American Documents such as: The constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Gettysburg address and many, many more. Our founding fathers had much to say that was both profound and patriotic if only our children not to mention their parents knew what was said. Children used to learn this in school, but that is no longer the case. I for one am fond of "Give me liberty, or give me death." Also what about, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." I think we could write a book on Where Have All the Great Americans Gone.__ST

  8. What if a child refuses but their parent won't opt out?

    Also, I am glad you brought up intent because I'm wondering about that too.

    What point is there to force children to say it? What POINT is there in reciting the Pledge? Reciting it doesn't make one a patriotic person so what other purpose can there be besides blind indoctrination and you and I both know that it's running rampant in the public school system.

    Did you read the story at

    The kid must have parental permission to opt out? What kind of country do we live in when this kid can't decide for himself whether or not he wants to say the pledge.

    I don't know what the intent is except some extremist folks in Tallahassee have nothing better to do than pass crap like this.

  9. And in addition to that post, do most people know the history of the Pledge? It was created by a socialist. :)

    From Pledge Q&A:

    Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).

    Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex.

    The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth's Companion, the leading family magazine and the Reader's Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford had enjoyed Francis's sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford Hall Forum, located in downtown Boston.

    In 1892 Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute - his 'Pledge of Allegiance.'

    His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. [ * 'to' added in October, 1892. ]

    Dr. Mortimer Adler, American philosopher and last living founder of the Great Books program at Saint John's College, has analyzed these ideas in his book, The Six Great Ideas. He argues that the three great ideas of the American political tradition are 'equality, liberty and justice for all.' 'Justice' mediates between the often conflicting goals of 'liberty' and 'equality.'

    In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of the United States of America.' Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored.

    In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.

    Bellamy's granddaughter said he also would have resented this second change. He had been pressured into leaving his church in 1891 because of his socialist sermons. In his retirement in Florida, he stopped attending church because he disliked the racial bigotry he found there.

    What follows is Bellamy's own account of some of the thoughts that went through his mind in August, 1892, as he picked the words of his Pledge:

    It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution...with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people...

    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. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?

    Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, 'Liberty, equality, fraternity.' No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all...

    If the Pledge's historical pattern repeats, its words will be modified during this decade. Below are two possible changes.

    Some prolife advocates recite the following slightly revised Pledge: '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, born and unborn.'

    A few liberals recite a slightly revised version of Bellamy's original Pledge: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with equality, liberty and justice for all.'

  10. Anonymous2/07/2006

    Well, on the issue of forcing children to do or say something they don't want to. I think it happens all the time. Little Johnny must apologize for wacking his sister upside the head. Perhaps he doesn't want to. He was mad and is not sorry for it. Well, tough his parents told him to apologize, so apologize he must or pay the consequences. Perhaps little Johnny doesn't want to clean his room. Do you think his parents are wrong for not letting him opt out. The point is, as long as you are a minor, you are under the control of your parents. Like it or not. What about sex education in the public school system. If a parent does not want their child to be taught sex education by strangers who do not share their values they have to opt out. The children do not get a choice. It is up to the parent. What about the theory of evolution. If a parent or child does not want to be taught that they do not even have the option of opting out. Don't even bother with it being science. It is an unproven theory that amounts to nothing more than a religion. Another example would be assigned books. What if parents or students find the assigned reading offensive to their belief system. They have a very difficult time opting out or getting an alternative assignment. Why is it that we have to worry about offending every group of race and religion out there except for Christians and those who would preserve patriotism? Should we now remove all American flags because the Native Americans are offended. It just seems to be a never ending cycle of we can't do this or that because someone's sensitivies will be offended. If it is true that you can't force patriotism then it also holds true that saying the pledge with out any meaning will not harm you. That is if patriotism to America is what the individual would fear is going to happen to them for reciting the pledge.

    Let's analyze it:

    (What American is not loyal to our flag or country?)

    (Again is there any American not loyal to our republic?)

    (Ahh! Perhaps we have found peoples objection)

    (Is there anyone agianst liberty and justice for all? Perhaps we have failed in some instances to live up to this standard, but that doesn't mean we give up trying.)

    This is my last post on the subject. This is your blog, so I shall give you the last word. We shall have to agree to disagree on this one.--ST

    PS. Perhaps this should be the topic of your paper.LOL