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In “Saying the Pledge of Allegiance is worthy of your effort” from the May edition of The Classic, Harry Petsios puts forth several arguments for standing and reciting the pledge every morning. While Harry’s reasoning is persuasive, we are not in agreement on the matter.
He states, “When you stand to honor the flag, you…are honoring an ideology that upholds the personal liberties of millions of citizens.” The truth that Harry artfully neglects to acknowledge is that unfortunately, the United States today is not yet an exact image of the ideology put forth in the Preamble to our Constitution.
The Pledge of Allegiance is designed to be an oath that every citizen of the United States can take and know to be true. If there was an undeniable truth behind the words “liberty and justice for all,” then reciting the pledge at the start of every day would be the least we could do to proclaim our allegiance to such a country.
This, however, is not the case. Although the Declaration of Independence, on which our own nation has its beginnings, states that “all men are created equal,” this ideology has not been upheld by the United States government.
Throughout history and even in present times, every citizen has not and still does not have equal protection of liberty and justice under the law. This is seen in our nation’s inability to completely guarantee equal rights for all people living in the United States.
Harry also cites a survey that states that ten percent of Harrisites don’t recite the daily pledge, calling this “a problem.” We don’t believe this is a problem. Rather, it is an example of democracy being alive and well in the classrooms of Townsend Harris.
One’s decision to skip the pledge is simply an example of exercising the constitutional right to decide how to conduct oneself in a democracy.
A democratic government relies on the willing participation of its constituents to voice an opinion. Not only is criticism welcome in an ideal democracy, it is necessary in order to maintain the bedrock principles of the nation. These principles do not include a blind and unconditional pledge of allegiance to a less-than-perfect government. They do include the notion of free choice.
The bottom line is, think before you stand. And if you think you don’t want to stand, thank our founding fathers that you don’t have to.