November 4th, 2007

Bowser

One Koopa underground, reprehensible, with lizards and Goombas for all

You know, if we now have Daylight Savings Time for more than half the year, can the other really be considered Standard Time anymore? I'm all in favor of getting an extra hour, though. They should do that for often, and take the hours away from times when we're unlikely to miss them. When that would be I'm not sure. Actually, maybe they should just stop having the Leap Year day, and instead distribute those hours throughout the rest of the year. Who's with me?

Anyway, in this entry, I take on that fixture of American schools, the Pledge of Allegiance. Before I really get into it, I have to say that I never minded saying the Pledge, and I don't think it's really a big deal. It's merely one of numerous pointless rituals imposed upon children, to prepare them for the even more pointless rituals of adulthood. I do think they should take out "under God," which was only added in the early fifties anyway, to separate ourselves from the communists. I just looked at the Wikipedia article on the Pledge, and assuming it's accurate, apparently President Eisenhower was swayed to throw in those two words by a sermon comparing the United States to Sparta (the Nation-State of Perpetual Gym Class [1]), and saying that "under God" would reflect the "American way of life." Never mind that part of what makes our country great in the first place is that we can choose our own religion, or lack thereof. Besides, isn't it generally only Christians (and not Jehovah's Witnesses) who use "God" as a proper noun? But "under God" aside, I have to say that I think the Pledge is kind of ridiculous anyway. Let's take it a bit at a time:

Okay, "I pledge allegiance to the flag." But isn't the flag merely a symbol? Quite frankly, if a talking flag started telling me to do things, I don't think I would obey, regardless of the fact that I pledged allegiance to it as a kid. I'd probably go see a psychiatrist, provided the toaster thought it was a good idea. Yes, I know that "the flag" is being used here as a substitute for a larger entity, like paying taxes to the crown, or someone who's really good at martial arts being called a Black Belt. I seem to recall learning a word for that kind of thing in junior high school English class, but I forget what it was. If that's what's signified in pledging allegiance to the flag, though, why does it go on to say "and to the republic for which it stands"? Isn't that rather redundant?

So what if we just left the flag out of it, and said, "I pledge allegiance to the United States of America"? Well, that would make more sense, but I still can't quite see the point. What does pledging allegiance to the country actually MEAN? That we're not going to commit treason? I'm pretty sure that's illegal whether or not we recited a mantra back when we were schoolchildren.

I've already covered the "under God" part, so what's next? "Indivisible." But isn't part of the point of the United States that it IS divided into separate states so as to be governed more easily? Then we come to "with liberty and justice for all," which I can't say I object to. Sure, we might not HAVE "liberty and justice for all," but it's still one of the nation's basic principles, and something we should at least strive toward. You can't very well have a pledge that only consists of those last few words, though.

Besides, isn't the whole thing one big run-on sentence, which students are constantly told to avoid?

[1] I have to credit bethje for that comparison.