Tuesday, June 15, 2004
The Supreme Court did what it does best yesterday by sidestepping a controversial issue based on a legal technicality. By overturning the lower court's decision the Supremes preserved the current wording of the Pledge of Allegiance which includes the phrase "one nation under God." Is it a mere coincidence that they handed down their decision on Flag Day? And not just any Flag Day, but exactly 50 years since Congress added the words "under God" to the pledge in the first place. It was the same act of Congress that added the phrase "In God We Trust" on all our money. Why did Congress feel the need to do this 50 years ago? Because in 1954 we were in the midst of a Communist witch hunt and since everybody knows that Communists are Godless atheists, then it seemed only natural for us red-blooded, God-fearing Americans to proclaim our pro-God affiliations on the most sacred of all places: our money. And, as if that weren't pious enough, we stuck "under God" in a pledge mumbled by millions of sleepy children every morning as they begin their state-sponsored cultural indoctrination programs (i.e., public school). That sure showed them Commies.
By the way, before Congress changed our motto to "In God We Trust" it was "E Pluribus Unum" which means "One From Many." Sounds suspiciously Communist if you ask me. That's the problem with Latin mottoes. Nobody knows what the hell the mean. I've heard several different translations of "Novus Ordo Seclorum" including "New World Order," "New Secular Order," and the government-sponsored version, "New Order of the Ages." Then there's "Annuit Coeptis," which no one understands completely since it is obviously some kind of secret Masonic/Illumnati code that probably gives the location of their subterranean headquarters where they practice their Luciferian sexual rituals and spank each other with paddles carved from acacia wood. But I digress.
Personally I don't remember saying the pledge after sixth grade. I don't know why it is only in grade school where the pledge is recited. Maybe because when you're that young you'll say just about anything if it's repeated often enough. I do know that it took me a long time to figure out what the word "indivisible" really meant, and that it had nothing to do with our country's ability to disappear from sight whenever threatened by foreign invaders. Cool idea though. The Russians decided to attack us and all of a sudden we're "one nation (under God) INVISIBLE..." Now that's something to brag about!
Once I finally did begin to decipher what this "pledge of allegiance" was all about, it filled me with questions. First of all why am I pledging allegiance to a flag in the first place? I get the part about "and to the republic, for which it stands," (which by the way is one of the rare occasions where we Americans admit that we don't live in a democracy). I'm not saying I'm in favor of the idea of having a bunch of innocent, defenseless, politically unsophisticated schoolchildren promising to mindlessly devote themselves to an abstract governing entity that may or may not have the ability to become invisible at any given time. I'm just saying that I understand what it means. But the first part, the part about pledging allegiance to a flag ... to a flag? What the hell does that mean? I never got that and I still don't.
Now don't get me wrong. I grew up with plenty of respect for the flag as a symbol. We hung a flag outside our house on appropriate holidays in conformance with the proper etiquette: never after sundown, never in the rain, never let it get tattered or dirty. That's just basic respect. Not like you see now with people driving around with faded, tattered flags hanging out of the backs of their SUV's. I'll bet none of these patriots has taken the time to look up U.S. Code Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 7, Paragraph (b), which states, "The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender." (This does not apply to Lakers flags.) Or better yet Section 8, which prohibits the flag from being used in advertisements or printed on paper napkins or plates or part of a costume or athletic uniform or cushions or handkerchiefs. And how about this: "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing." And finally: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." That's the law folks. Burning flags is the law.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, I got no problem with respecting the flag, waving the flag, being proud of the flag. It's cool. I know I complain about this country a lot, but I still like it. But I do have a problem with pledging allegiance to a flag. You have to draw the line somewhere. And as far as the whole "under God" issue you could go on forever debating the intentions of the framers of the Constitution when they wrote that the government shall not "establish" religion. Why go there? The Supremes have already said that kids are not "required" to recite the pledge. So my recommendation is that if anyone doesn't like the Pledge of Allegiance, they should just do what I did when I was a kid and make up their own:
"I pledge all legions to the flag of the Divided States of America and Tudor Republics for which they stand one nation, underground, invisible with slippery injustice for all."