I attended a public meeting last night as I do from time to time. It’s a bad habit I can’t seem to shake. Like many of the more formal public meetings in this country, it started with the Pledge of Allegiance. (Foreign readers may not know that this is a 31-word quasi loyalty oath of allegiance to “the flag.”) When the time comes, everyone is supposed to stand, put their heart on their hand, face the flag, and recite the Pledge in unison, which is drummed into all schoolchildren.
My policy during the last several years has been to stand and remain silent with my hands at my side. I don’t make a spectacle of myself by staying seated, but I’m not willing to say the Pledge, for several reasons.
- It’s too much like religion, and not just because of the “Under God” phrase
- I don’t like feeling like a sheep following the herd
- I don’t like the implication that we should bow and scrape to our rulers
Plenty of people would brand me a traitor for my attitude, an ingrate who doesn’t appreciate the benefits of living in the good ol’ U.S.A. In fact, I am quite grateful that I live in the U.S.A. because
- I grew up in this culture and feel a part of it (omitting rock “music”)
- The land is beautiful
- Our politicians are less rapacious than in some other countries
- We still have a reservoir of individualist sentiment that resists the “Progressives” and the neocons and their relentless push for a made-in-America brand of fascism
- The libertarian movement has grown enormously in the years since 1971 when I signed on
I do indeed feel some kind of loyalty to the land and the people. But not to the government. And to swear allegiance to the Constitution, as the newly elected councilmen did last night, is a farce because the Constitution was shredded years ago, starting with Abraham Lincoln and perhaps earlier. At the federal level, they swear allegiance to the Constitution and then turn around and spit on it.
But wait, you might say, if you’re loyal to the people you have to be loyal to the government because we elect our leaders. But that’s a slender thread indeed. The government is controlled by unelected bureaucrats and powerful special interests. The government is not “the people.”
So, with only the mildest misgivings, I’ll go on boycotting the Pledge.