I pledge allegiance to inequality

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By Jeet Rai

Brainwashing: statism at its finest. Although 55% of the people who took the poll on debate.org disagree, 45% propose the removal of the Pledge of Allegiance from schools, for good reason.

Picture this: every morning at around 8:00 a.m., the Public Announcement system in schools all over the United States goes off, and everyone stops everything that they are doing to “please stand, place your right hand over your heart, and begin.”

Now imagine children in North Korea. At around the same time, they sing about the brilliance of their nation and how great their leader is. Why is it that in the latter situation, the act of singing is viewed negatively, similar to a form of propaganda, yet in the former, it is perfectly acceptable, encouraged even?

Never mind the hypocrisy for a minute; instead, try to focus on the similarities of the two situations and realize that making entire student populations recite words where they pledge allegiance to the American flag is some form of propaganda too!

“Students should not have a level of patriotism thrusted upon them. Respect for this country isn’t necessary or required, as long as you’re following the rules. Also, who says that standing up every day repeating the same pledge is the only acceptable form of respect for the U.S. and those who have fought to protect it?” sophomore Devon Delgado said.

In the pledge, we say, “liberty and justice for all.” Yet, there is not, indeed, freedom and justice for all. If America prides itself in boasting freedom and justice for all, then why are there constantly issues about racism and sexism, and why did it take so long for same-sex marriages to be legalized in all states?

Yes, America is the land of opportunity. Yes, America is a first-world country. Yes, there are reasons why so many people immigrate to the States. But we cannot ask America’s children to pledge to something that is not all true.

The pledge paints a picture-perfect world and presents points that prove false. Feeding inaccurate information into young minds is almost like shoving information down their throats and leaving zero room or time for them to question what it is that they are being fed.

“One nation under God…,” Baptist minister Francis Bellamy first wrote in 1892. It is obvious with this one line that the pledge has religious affiliations, perhaps even Christian affiliations. In a country that is so careful to establish a separation between religion and state, demonstrate equality towards all religions, and applaud diversity, the government’s endorsement of religion through the pledge is unconstitutional and goes against the country’s values.

It is true that students have the choice to remain sitting or stand respectfully and decline to say the pledge altogether, but, unfortunately, these students are often ostracized or ridiculed.

Delgado said, “Too many authority figures have the misconception that a student has to stand up during the pledge and respect it. The only thing they have to do is refrain from interrupting anybody else’s experience during the pledge, which for all we know, could be exactly what a teacher does as she scolds a student for not standing. For the kids that get chewed out in front of their friends for not standing, that sort of treatment isn’t fair.”

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