I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Francis Bellamy (1855–1931)
The original American pledge did not contain the words “under God;” this was added many years later and has resulted in complete division of this nation ever since.
Some groups pledge allegiance first to their god and then their nation, some pledge only to their nation and do not recognize any god.
Adding god basically ensured that liberty and justice for all would not be possible, for people who pledge to god do not believe in justice for people who do not pledge to their god or to any god at all – and people use their religion to exclude many citizens from having liberty or justice and as the basis to disenfranchise these minorities – especially gay and/or atheist people traditionally and more recently, people who do not have a Christian god – but they are more against the other Abrahamic flavours of this same god than to religions that are based around entirely separate gods and goddesses.
Church and State have an embittered rivalry and checkered history.
In the UK, church and state are one – at least on paper and less so in practice – but the head of the state is the head of the church, ever since Henry VIII got tired of beheading wives for a kinder gentler form of dispatch and didn’t want to negotiate getting the Pope’s approval for divorce. The resulting bloodbaths from monarchs switching between Catholics and Anglicans and the fewer people willing to be public service employees as a result of the blood bath settled the matter – the government was decidedly Anglican and passed laws to keep it that way.
America was the grand experiment to keep church and state more than arm’s length apart – and that is the distance by which one can truly measure their rights and freedoms. However, America’s early attempt to keep religion out of the halls of government has failed, and government and the people have lost.
There is not permitted to be a religious test to run for office, but all politicians have to campaign with their religion on their chest because people no longer vote for the person who is best qualified, but the person they feel most comfortable shares their religious values and currently, with whom they feel they could best sit down and have a beer with.
This is not a sound basis to decide who makes the laws and sets the policies, it takes better minds to understand history, international politics, complex budgets and legislation.
Especially since it is more likely the more moral the candidate claims to be and claims to support, the bigger the adulterous, gay, abortion seeking, embezzling, influence peddling and scandal prone they end up being as an actual politician. As if saying one thing in public is code for the opposite in private. Or at least, permission.
But, if the goal of the nation is to stand at one, then a pledge that allows all citizens to say it loud, say it proud and say it and mean every word, then the words of the pledge must resonate with every citizen and be true for everyone. Citizenship is not having a pledge that is divisive, exclusionary and then use it to exclude citizens from being citizens.
America is a land of contrast and opposition – and no issue is more dividing than who is a True American – putting aside the scotsman fallacy – America was about the individual as the social unit of consequence, the right to make choices about your life and to be able to act upon those choices, more than that it was the freedom to form your own view and opinions and express them – and not be subject to government imposed or sanctions for your ideas.
Blind allegiance and obedience is not an American ideal – it is a religious ideal. Being able to speak against the government and if need be, defend against the government is American.
The current climate of hostility towards dissenters, non-conformists, free thinkers, atheists, gays and lesbians, social activists and advocates for social change and justice is not consistent with the American spirit or with what America stood for in the world when it reached out to the poor, the hungry, the oppressed and the huddled masses.
Unless you consider that it was the robber barons who most benefited from an imported and downtrodden labour force that they could continue to take advantage of, because oppression and exploitation was what they had already come to expect – and for a while, you can at least pretend that there’s freedom and opportunity.
But, after a while, people cannot live with the cognitive dissonance and people will revolt to make the appearance of the society become the actuality – thus the Arab Spring 2011 revolts, where people were no longer willing to live under dictatorships pretending to be democracies.
Americans are seeming to wake up that they are also not a democracy, but a republic – and one vote is not equal to another from other states, each vote is population dependant and not equal.
The Founding Fathers of America expected there to be revolution and a replacement of the system they brought into being. But revolution does not have to be violent or civil war – Canada has set a model of diplomacy in both separating from the UK and dealing with Provincial separation from the nation matters.
Time for the people of the United States of America to start talking about what kind of government they really want – and maybe even time for some of the states to stop being united and to form their own alliances.
Me, I’d like to see British Columbia, Washington State, Portland and California break off and become a new nation – perhaps – Pacifica.
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