When I went to St Peter’s Parochial school in Washington we said the “Pledge of Allegiance” every morning: “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.” When I’m old and gray and have Alzheimers I’ll still be able to say it in my sleep.
Now, I’m the last person to be a knee-jerk patriot. I feel at home in the world, love diversity, am super-critical of the government and the dumbing down of America and consumerism and all that. And I love to find cultures – and traffic patterns – that are very different and challenge me. But there is this weird little hinge in my brain that makes me stand when I hear those lines, and my right hand automatically moves towards my heart. Pavlov’s dog is nothing compared to this. Oh, yeah, so I must “bleed red, white and blue“.
So when I read in detentionslip.org that there’s a debate still going on about whether school children should stand up when they repeat the pledge of allegiance, my first reaction was: “Come on. Do it right, standing up, or don’t do it at all. Anything worth doing is worth doing in style.” But, you know, on second thought, maybe you should do it very, very rarely – or you’ll end up like me 😉
Community building or forced advertising? Nice or nasty?