I originally wrote this on Friday, October 15, 2010. I am posting it here with minor edits, mainly for grammar.
|Kevin is publicly shamed for his refusal to take an oath.|
Yeah, that cartoon is cute. It shows someone who simply doesn't care in contrast to someone who cares so much that they gave their health, and was willing to give their life. It makes a point, and makes us feel good about being better than the lazy guy. It makes us feel proud of our veterans. (Although that pride doesn't seem to extend to caring for them, but that's a an entirely different post...) and it makes us feel patriotic. Yay!
Unfortunately, it does so at the expense of people with legitimate reasons not to recite the pledge.* The people who choose not to recite the pledge don't do so because they're too lazy to stand, or because they don't care. In fact, in many cases, they do stand and they do hold their heart, in order to avoid disrupting others, like the attorney who was jailed for not reciting the pledge. The people who choose not to recite the pledge do so because they do care.
For instance, quite a few people don't take the pledge because it's against their beliefs. The bit about God (as in one single God), for instance, was added in 1954. It was a suggestion of a Catholic** organization, the Knights of Columbus, who pushed their pet Congressmen to get their way in Congress.
In other words, a vote of the people didn't force that change. The addition of these words didn't come from the majority of Americans, or a repressed minority. It came from special interests with the power to influence a few Congressmen, who pushed it past other Congressmen who didn't really care about it. Yeah! Let's celebrate that! Oh, wait...
In fact, the words 'under God' have received so many legal challenges from so many different avenues that it's worse than meaningless. It's a damned waste of money. And y'all know how I hate to waste money. Anyway, back to my original point...
I know many people who take their oaths very seriously and I think it's wrong to ridicule serious, trustworthy patriots simply because they're not monotheists. Isn't it better for pantheists and polytheists to honestly not make that pledge than to do it dishonestly because we threaten them with social censure?
And wouldn't it be better still if we had an oath that everyone could take honestly?
*There are also ethical issues with the idea of indoctrinating children with an oath that they can neither understand nor choose to take, but again, that's an entirely different post.
**I don't have any problem with Catholics. The point was to highlight that this was a special interest issue, as opposed to the will of the people.