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The Pledge This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "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."

Ah, the pledge of allegiance. Part of the mindless daily routine of students everywhere, usually sandwiched between morning attendance and announcements over the P.A. system. Most of us say it in the morning without a second thought, eager to return to the completion of our overdue Spanish homework. But have you ever really thought about the true meaning of the pledge?

One day during an English class, an argument broke out over the merits of the pledge. A question was posed before the class: "When you say the pledge, do you feel that special tingle of patriotism?" One boy sternly replied, "Yes, of course. I love my country." He obviously feels the need to be a loyal little American. But is his patriotism the result of mind-numbing rote repetition of the pledge, day in, day out, without a thought about what the words really mean? Maybe someday he'll realize what he's really saying:

"I pledge allegiance to a starred and striped piece of cloth hanging over the pencil sharpener. I likewise pledge my devotion to the government of the country I live in, regardless of its weaknesses. I recognize that the Almighty One is the supreme ruler of our nation and is divinely guiding us in our policy decisions. I also refuse to recognize the deep race and class divisions of the country and the court system's inability to adequately provide justice for its citizens."

I suspect the recitation of the pledge in schools is an attempt by the government to instill blind nationalism in our young and impressionable minds. When we were in elementary school, some of us as young as five years old, were taught words, not ideas. Had anyone ever told us what the pledge really meant, it may have taught us the important difference between loving one's country and blind faith. Next time the pledge is read over the loudspeaker, just listen, and think about what the words really mean...then decide if you ever want to say them again.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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