Pledge of Allegiance | Teen Ink

Pledge of Allegiance MAG

By Nigel Halliday, Gibsonia, PA

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.

Every day in first period we have to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Ordinarily I don’t pay attention, just saying the words and moving on. But in the past few years after the wiretapping scandal, Abu Ghraib prison incidents, and the ongoing Iraq war, I began to think about what I was saying. Why should I pledge allegiance to such a nation?

America is, and always has been, two completely different nations. The first is the American Republic – a total meritocracy, where anyone can become anything, regardless of race, color, or creed. It respects the inalienable rights of all, believing that “all men are created equal.” It allows freedom of speech, religion, and protest. It demands citizens have a fair trial, and prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. It believes in democracy, that you have the right to choose your leaders, and that those leaders must be held accountable for their actions.

The American Republic is a cultural melting pot, with so many different ideas and people that it is a transfusion of culture from all across the world, all under the same flag by choice, not conquest. It is a beacon of hope to the oppressed, to those who live in unbearable poverty, to those frightened by war. They share the American Dream and would go to almost impossible lengths to join the Republic. The streets may not be paved in gold, but they are paved in opportunity. It is the nation that one million people enter every year even today.

The other nation is the American Empire. The Empire cares nothing for the rights of its subjects, placing them at the whim of the leader. It is a home to bigots like the Ku Klux Klan who hate because of a person’s religion, race, or heritage. It tolerated slavery, refusing to stop the enslavement of its fellow man because of the profits it brought the Empire. It committed genocide on the Trail of Tears, forcing innocent Cherokee from their homelands and sending them on a death march. It sponsored the steady genocide of Native Americans to gain Manifest Destiny. It built the Japanese-American concentration camps in World War II, imprisoning people in horrible conditions just because of their ethnicity.

The American Empire invaded and occupied the Philippines for more than a decade, and committed war crimes to maintain that conquest. It currently holds prisoners in Guantánamo for years without trial and thinks nothing of torturing them. To this day, it forbids American citizens in the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the American Samoa from voting in any elections. It is a tyrannical oppressive police state, a monstrosity.

The Republic is under siege. The Empire is beginning to conquer the Republic and the dream is beginning to fall. If the Empire reigns, bigotry and hate will take the place of tolerance and justice. I say no. I believe that the ideals of the Republic must be defended, that bigots must not be tolerated, that genocide be protested, and that torture must not be condoned. I pledge allegiance to the Republic, where there is liberty and justice for all. Action is needed. Guard the Republic; defend the Dream.

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This article has 5 comments.

laptopbible said...
on Dec. 9 2008 at 1:49 pm
this is truest story iv ever heard

on Dec. 2 2008 at 6:08 pm
This pice of writing is very great to the country and us readers. You should keep on writing I am sure that peolpe will read and post positive comments.

on Sep. 16 2008 at 8:05 pm
This is a wonderful article and i really appreciate you writing this. im going to show all of my friends this and i know that if they are half sane they will love it just as much as i have!

GoAskAlice said...
on Aug. 29 2008 at 8:25 am
I really like this, but I would have liked to see you go in depth of HOW we can protect the republic.

Joy said...
on Aug. 15 2008 at 4:14 am
This was marvelously written. You gave insight on the split personality that is America in a way I have never seen you. I applaud you for your intelligence and your insight. Defend the dream.