About the Pledge of Allegiance

By: Daniel Nardini

When I was a boy, one of the things that I found annoying was saying the pledge of allegiance in school. While it was not law at that time to say it, it was “required.” We had to say it everyday, and anyone who did not say it was usually sent to the principal’s office (I do not remember anyone being sent to the principal’s office over that). Today, if I say the pledge of allegiance, I say it with an open heart and under no compulsion. Personally, no one should be forced to say the pledge of allegiance under any compulsion. Sadly, there are three cases where this has occurred.

One strangely enough is in the State of Michigan. The Michigan state legislature, during the presidential election in 2012, passed a law (signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder) that requires all public schools to set time for students to say the pledge of allegiance and display the flag. Sadly enough, the Michigan legislators did not pass a law to fund buying American flags for those schools that do not have them in their classrooms. Forcing patriotism down peoples’ throats does not help with lack of funding for schools that need them, and it does not help kids from needy families whose school lunch programs have been cut or scaled back by well-fed legislators who probably put their children in private schools.

Then there is the strange case Brenda Brinsdon, a teenager in Texas. As part of their assignment, the whole class was forced to say the pledge of allegiance to Mexico in Spanish. Brinsdon refused, and so she was given an “F” not only for the assignment, but for the whole semester of Spanish class. She is now suing the school over this. If this is true, then Brenda Brinsdon has a case, albeit a strange one, of some crazy Spanish teacher forcing students to recite the pledge of allegiance to Mexico. But again in my view no one should be forced to say any pledge or be coerced in any way to say things that does not come from their hearts.

The final example I give is of a teenage student in Alabama who refused to say the pledge of allegiance. Not only did the teacher mock her, but the student was forcibly taken out of the classroom by police. Eventually the school forced the teacher to apologize and made it clear that no teacher in class is allowed to force any student to salute the flag or say the pledge of allegiance. Their opinions and civil rights must be respected. In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that no one should be forced to salute the flag. This does not include saying the pledge of allegiance, but many states interpret it as working both ways. Again a pledge must come from the heart, not as a rote oath of feigned loyalty.

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