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Pledge of Allegiance back in Minnesota school district
October 18, 2001 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Pledge of Allegiance back in Minnesota school district thanks to a little blackmail by the American Legion. Doesn't the AL realize that it's been illegal to force school children to recite the Pledge since 1943? This is a victory for nobody.
posted by UrbanFigaro (40 comments total)

 
Well, It's a victory for people who place symbolism over what it stands for, who, evidently, there are quite a few of.
posted by Hima Otsubusu at 12:24 AM on October 18, 2001


Superintendent John Haro insisted the Legion's money was never an issue.

Naww, its never about the money is it? Its always about integrity or some such BS.
posted by skallas at 12:27 AM on October 18, 2001


Am I the only one who experienced the Pledge every morning? This happened every day at the raising of the flag in front of elementary school in Lakeland, FL. I'm talking 1966 and on. There might have been a law or court decision stating otherwise but there I was doing it *every* morning along with *every* other kid in the school in front of the principal, his cohorts and all the teachers. When we moved to Tampa we pledged in the classroom. And so on. What kid would have opted out in those circumstances? I didn't, I was too chicken because of the consequences (no, not when I was 6 years old, I mean later, 13, 14...)
posted by mmarcos at 5:09 AM on October 18, 2001


God forbid we teach our kids what a great country this is. If you hate this country that much that you don't even want to pledge allegiance to it or have your kids pledge their allegiance to it, then get the fuck out. I'm sick of this liberal touch-feely shit. You're allowed to quabble like this over something so stupid because of that flag. Try doing that in other countries and see where it gets you.

It certainly never hurt me to pledge when I was in school and it won't hurt the kids of today either. I went to school mostly in the 80's and we pledged every damn day down to my senior year and I never once saw somebody draw bodily harm or be seriously injured during it.

If you don't believe in a God or the God, then just don't say that part.
posted by the_0ne at 5:51 AM on October 18, 2001


Obviously the poster of this story doesn't realize that the American Legion can spend (or not spend) its own money as it wishes to; and it can request that the recipient of said money adhere to certain conditions. No one says that the recipient can't turn down the cash if they find the conditions onerous.

I used to recite the Pledge every morning in school (in the early and mid-1970's, that was), and I think it was a positive thing. It reaffirms a sense of nationality and unity, which is a good thing, no matter what the Lefties think.
posted by mrmanley at 5:53 AM on October 18, 2001


I'm sick of this liberal touch-feely shit.

Truly, can anyone be this ignorant?
posted by rushmc at 5:59 AM on October 18, 2001


I also had to say the pledge every morning in elementary school. Personally I don't think it is that big of a deal. If someone thinks that it's wrong to make kids say it because it has the word God in it, well then they've got more free time than I do to sit around and worry about silly shit like that. If kids were being made to recite the lord's prayer I'd have a problem with it. But the Pledge of Allegiance?
posted by auzten at 5:59 AM on October 18, 2001


It certainly never hurt me to pledge when I was in school and it won't hurt the kids of today either.

Impeccable logic the_0ne. Please, tell us more about your life so that we may know exactly what is harmful to everyone and what is not.

Try doing that in other countries and see where it gets you.

I imagine that in EU, blackmailing children to recite nationalistic tripe would be met with outrage, not the approval you seem to give it.

If you don't believe in a God or the God, then just don't say that part.

How convenient, what if you don't believe in the rest of the pledge either?
posted by thewittyname at 6:02 AM on October 18, 2001


How convenient, what if you don't believe in the rest of the pledge either?

Then you can stand there and play with yourself, why should I care what you do while I'm pledging to my country? Actually now that I think back we did have a kid who's family didn't believe in God, he stood up and acted like he was pledging. And what's really funny is he didn't bitch about his rights being squashed, he didn't grow up to a life of crime. He just didn't participate. He was the only one I ever knew, the rest (I knew and stood with) were fine with it.
posted by the_0ne at 6:16 AM on October 18, 2001


Impeccable logic the_0ne. Please, tell us more about your life so that we may know exactly what is harmful to everyone and what is not.

Sorry thewittyname, don't really understand what you meant by that. Was that just an aimless shot back at me. Well THAT one really hurt. :)

Please, if you're going to take shots, then make sure they make some sense like the other 2 sentences from your response.
posted by the_0ne at 6:22 AM on October 18, 2001


If you hate this country that much that you don't even want to pledge allegiance to it or have your kids pledge their allegiance to it, then get the fuck out.

Wow! What a democratic, free thinking country America is, I think I'll try get myself a green card.

I have never and will never pledge allegiance to a State. Look where loyalism and a sense of National pride has got us in Northern Ireland. While in South Africa I got caned for not singing their national anthem at school. Why can't people accept that if someone objects to something on moral grounds they are not a traitor? why can't people just be loyal to humanity - there's a pledge I would happily take every day, **sarcasm coming up** but if you objected, then I'd just have to ask you to get the fuck off this planet
posted by twistedonion at 6:25 AM on October 18, 2001


Truly, can anyone be this ignorant?

Oh rushmc, I have many more that I can imagine you would think were ignorant. The love for my country. The hate for people that are trying to destroy it from the inside.

I mean I just can not believe in this day and age we're posting about a bunch of people that are against pledging their allegiance to this country??? I'm just amazed that I'm even seeing this. Can liberal left-wing zealots get any lower?

And you must have misunderstood that line because I misspelled it...

I'm sick of this liberal touchy-feely shit.
posted by the_0ne at 6:30 AM on October 18, 2001


Wow! What a democratic, free thinking country America is, I think I'll try get myself a green card.

Ok, point taken, that was a mistake on my part to use the "f**king get out" line. I was pretty p'd at the time reading the post.

***calmed down now***

I see your point about being caned for not singing the national anthem. I'm not talking that strong, I'm saying if a few kids/teenagers don't want to sing it, then sit down, don't forbid it from the district. What about the rights of the kids/teenagers that do want to pledge to this great country? If this school district did forbid it fo the whole district, then where are people's rights then? No, you should not have to say it, I think you should, but that doesn't matter, just don't take it out of the schools. Why does it have to be all or nothing? My schools, and they were nowhere near the best, never MADE you pledge, they just asked that you stand with the rest of the class.
posted by the_0ne at 6:42 AM on October 18, 2001


I just keep on thinking about Office Space and the requisite 15 pieces of flair.
posted by proleptic at 6:45 AM on October 18, 2001


I mean I just can not believe in this day and age we're posting about a bunch of people that are against pledging their allegiance to this country???

Why not? Some people agree with it, some evidently don't. You can still support your country without muttering a few words. Surely it is better to be honest than to pretend to believe in something you don't. Maybe America needs thirty years of terrorism to understand what I'm trying to say? I hope not.I know that some people will misquote me, but what I am trying to say is that people in America up until now have been relatively safe in their own country, so they don't question their loyalty and beliefs. The enemies of America would love to see Americans bickering like this. Terrorism works by instilling fear and polarising peoples opinions. Again I point to Northern Ireland, after thirty years they have won. Hate for other peoples opinions means that for another 30 years kids will still have to be escorted to school.
posted by twistedonion at 6:47 AM on October 18, 2001


I mean I just can not believe in this day and age we're posting about a bunch of people that are against pledging their allegiance to this country???

And what's even crazier is that a court in this country would decide that it's illegal to force kids to say it. The nerve of those people trying to protect the values of a country over the flag; It's a piece of cloth for fuck's sake. All countries have flags, not all have Constitutions or Democratically-Elected Governments or Guaranteed Freedoms. Learn the difference or get the fuck out yourself.

You're allowed to quabble like this over something so stupid because of that flag.

Right, it's not the people who wrote the Constitution or the the soldiers or the citizens, it's the flag; well, I'll just post a flag in my office and take the week off. Red clue phone ringing for the_one...mr. the_one, please pick up the red clue phone.

Just read your latest post; that's better, but keep in mind that in the linked story kids are being forced to say it.
posted by boaz at 6:47 AM on October 18, 2001


OK, the_0ne, you want it explained, here it goes:

It certainly never hurt me to pledge when I was in school and it won't hurt the kids of today either.

In this sentence you imply that because the pledge never "hurt" you as a child, it will not "hurt" any other child in this country who recites the same pledge.

In order to point out the logical fallacy of your statement, I asked you to describe yourself in greater detail. Specifically, I was looking for other things that never "hurt" you. Because following your logic, we know that those things won't "hurt" anyone else. Ever.

To put it bluntly: Your experiences are not the infallible guide to "what is OK" that you take them as.

Please, if you're going to take shots, then make sure they make some sense like the other 2 sentences from your response.

Mmmmmmmm....ad hominem attacks.
posted by thewittyname at 6:59 AM on October 18, 2001


OK, first of all, if you read the article, it says that the school district decided to institute an optional pledge. Students can elect not to pledge if they don't want. They're not being forced to say it. And I have a feeling that before this incident, if a kid wanted to say the pledge, he could. It's kind of like prayer in school - you can't force all the students to pray, but if a kid wants to pray by himself, fine. Let him.

Second of all, this doesn't necessarily have to do with patriotism, per se. What about Jehovah's Witnesses? If memory serves me correctly, they don't claim allegiance to the flag of any nation, so they don't recite the pledge. Can't force them to say it - that would infringe on their religious beliefs. And yet, they are citizens of this country. There are mitigating circumstances.
posted by starvingartist at 7:05 AM on October 18, 2001


Right, it's not the people who wrote the Constitution or the the soldiers or the citizens, it's the flag; well, I'll just post a flag in my office and take the week off. Red clue phone ringing for the_one...mr. the_one, please pick up the red clue phone.

I consider that flag and this country one. Without one there wouldn't be the other.
posted by the_0ne at 7:08 AM on October 18, 2001


I consider that flag and this country one. Without one there wouldn't be the other.

WTF is that even supposed to mean? A huge country of 300 million people and a piece of cloth are the same thing?
And without which one there wouldn't be the other? I'll agree insofar that if this wasn't the USA, we wouldn't have the US flag. Beyond that, maybe that's an example of the kind of brain damage the Pledge can cause.
posted by boaz at 7:14 AM on October 18, 2001


Second of all, this doesn't necessarily have to do with patriotism, per se. What about Jehovah's Witnesses? If memory serves me correctly, they don't claim allegiance to the flag of any nation, so they don't recite the pledge. Can't force them to say it - that would infringe on their religious beliefs. And yet, they are citizens of this country. There are mitigating circumstances.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think this article had much to do with mitigating circumstances. From what I read the vote was to take it away or not to take it away. Again, I do not want to beat people with cane for them to say the pledge, but also I do not want it taken away for people that want to say it and are proud to say it.

Now that you brought it up, you are right, my friend was a jehovah's witness and that's the reason he did not say it. He didn't complain, he just stood there like everybody else, and didn't recite. Nobody took his rights away and that's how it should be.
posted by the_0ne at 7:15 AM on October 18, 2001


WTF is that even supposed to mean?

And without which one there wouldn't be the other? I'll agree insofar that if this wasn't the USA, we wouldn't have the US flag.

Sort of the point I am trying to make, I consider the flag to be the epitomy and symbol of America. In layman's terms, I don't consider it to be the same "piece of cloth" as a shirt I'm wearing at this very moment. If you had to ask you must not have understood.
posted by the_0ne at 7:20 AM on October 18, 2001


the_One - You, sir or madam, are an idiot.

I support the war on terrorism, I support the president, I love the US, I'm proud to be an American. But I don't support kids pledging "allegiance" to the flag or the country. Please explain to me why I should get the fuck out.

You are very embarrassing to patriotic Americans such as myself.

I love the country and yet you feel I should move somewhere else because I don't conform to your narrow and indoctrinational view of citizenship. I would lobby that it is you who need to get the fuck out. The US is a nation with ideals for tolerance, diversity and freedom. If you don't like that then get the fuck out.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2001


When I was in 3rd grade my teacher had us do the pledge of allegiance and the "My Country Tisave" [sp?] song.

It was annoying but I didn't mind to much. It just ate up a few minutes of class time.
posted by Qambient at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2001


When I was in 3rd grade my teacher had us do the pledge of allegiance and the "My Country Tisave" [sp?] song.

Oh gawd. I surely hope you're kidding.
posted by dogmatic at 7:31 AM on October 18, 2001


and the "My Country Tisave" [sp?] song

I'm not sure if that's intentional satire or not, but that rules!
posted by boaz at 7:33 AM on October 18, 2001


i grew up in Ann Arbor, liberal capital of the midwest(and i love it dearly) we said the pledge everyday until some idiot proposed to have it stopped. (found out later, that persons house almost caught fire) stopping it doesnt bother me. it is the argument, the belief that one or two people find it offensive. well those days are gone. the old liberalism died last month. those who stand up against change are either watchdogs(which i support) or the disaffected. It is like people who burn flags or display something provocative. they do it because they are weak and have no way to fight back. they are so concerned with the law that they hide behind the legality of free speech. (it is illegal to burn the flag folks, it is called public endangerment with fire)
posted by newnameintown at 7:37 AM on October 18, 2001


Please explain to me why I should get the fuck out.

Ummm, because... <BG>

No, you obviously didn't get a chance to read my later posts. I said the "Get the fuck out" statement was wrong. I apologized for it. If you don't believe in the pledge, then just stand like the rest of us in class and close your mouth, don't take it out of our schools totally. That's all.

I wont' comment on the rest of your post y6y6y6 because it was on a statement that I retracted.
posted by the_0ne at 7:50 AM on October 18, 2001


Sort of the point I am trying to make, I consider the flag to be the epitomy and symbol of America.

OK, but the way you put it suggested exactly the opposite cause/effect relationship.

In layman's terms, I don't consider it to be the same "piece of cloth" as a shirt I'm wearing at this very moment.

Right there too. Nylon doesn't really work for shirts; it's all scratchy.

If you had to ask you must not have understood.

I understand that you can't symbolize tolerance and diversity of opinion with symbolic indoctrination.

And I'd just like to make clear that you've convinced me; it's ok for you to stay.
posted by boaz at 8:08 AM on October 18, 2001


Thanks boaz, that doesn't happen much on MeFi, I've been called troll, been asked to leave, been yelled at a lot, but never been accepted afterwards. :)

And yes, I could imagine "wearing" the flag would hurt a hell of a lot.
posted by the_0ne at 8:14 AM on October 18, 2001


I mean I just can not believe in this day and age we're posting about a bunch of people that are against pledging their allegiance to this country??? I'm just amazed that I'm even seeing this. Can liberal left-wing zealots get any lower?

As far as I can tell, no one is against pledging their allegiance to this country. I'm more than happy to say the original pledge. However, I am opposed to coercing school children to say the pledge.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:35 AM on October 18, 2001


And what's even crazier is that a court in this country would decide that it's illegal to force kids to say it. The nerve of those people trying to protect the values of a country over the flag; It's a piece of cloth for fuck's sake.

It's more than that - it's a symbol of America and everything Americans stand for.

When I was in grade school, I said the pledge from Kindergarten all the way through, I believe, 4th grade when a new superintendant stopped it.

Forcing kids to recite the pledge is wrong, simply because at 5 years old you do not understand what you are pledging allegiance to. Think of a five year old child being drafted into the military. Sure it's cool, he gets to carry a gun! But does he know why? Of course not.

Had I known then what I know now, I would have sat out as well...we weren't given a choice.

Will I leave the country? I consider it sometimes, but I also realize that if I don't like the way the country is run, I speak with my vote.
posted by schlaager at 9:04 AM on October 18, 2001


***liberal 'tripe' follows***

Do people not realise that it is national pride and the belief that there is only one set of values that is true (theirs), that creates all these messes we are in.

Catholic/Protestant, muslim/christian, left/right

America, I know this might be hard to believe, but your system is not perfect, your values are far from perfect, but I still love y'all, even though you have supported various forms of terrorism throughout the years, it's the present and future that matters.

Because of my upbringing I equate flags with fascism, so forgive me for being cynical. Anywhere I see people rally around a flag I see irrationality and conformity, two very destructive things indeed
posted by twistedonion at 9:23 AM on October 18, 2001


Some of us in the States agree with you, twistedonion, which is why these sorts of arguments are happening at all.

Personally I have no problem with saying the Pledge, albeit without the phrase "under God" - I do believe in God, but my belief in God and love of country are not linked. I'm not sure what I'd do if my school district told me I had to lead my kids in the Pledge in my classroom - I'd probably refuse. I've spent most of a decade trying to teach kids to think for themselves; I'm not keen on demanding conformity from them. Luckily, I live in a "pinko-liberal" town where it'll probably never come up.

I understand some people have different opinions on the Pledge - some more pro-Pledge, and some more anti-Pledge. The inability to understand that there are indeed different opinions on the subject which are just as valid in a free society is something I see as far more "un-American" than a refusal to say the Pledge.
posted by Chanther at 9:46 AM on October 18, 2001


(Mmm, flame war settles down into a somewhat civilized discussion.)

I'm not against those who want to pledge or sing the hymn, in school or out; I'm against those who want to *force* me to do it, legally or socially. I'm in favor of giving those who feel so the space to breathe and be respected.

I have been threatened a few times in school for expressing a dissenting opinion on different matters. What made matters worse was the teachers wouldn't defend freedom of speech, they would simply change the subject. That was most demoralizing.
posted by mmarcos at 9:58 AM on October 18, 2001


I think loyalty oaths would help...
posted by websavvy at 10:08 AM on October 18, 2001


I'm sick of this liberal touch-feely shit too.

Thank God for the Metafilter mind police.
posted by catatonic at 11:46 AM on October 18, 2001


Well, ok, I'll give a good reason why red-blooded Americans should be cautious about requireing the pledge in schools:

Expressions of love for one's country that are prompted by authority are not worth a bucket of warm spit.

Demanding that a group of kids mindlessly mouth the words to the pledge isn't patriotism, it's simply one more little bit of meaningless and mindless BS that the kids have to go through just after they call roll and just before they get on to their studies. Do you really want for love of one's country to be routinely affirmed as yet another empty ritual to be despised like reciting times tables?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:38 PM on October 18, 2001


The love for my country. The hate for people that are trying to destroy it from the inside...I mean I just can not believe in this day and age we're posting about a bunch of people that are against pledging their allegiance to this country??? I'm just amazed that I'm even seeing this.

Can you wear your heart out on your sleeve any more manipulatively? Can you cry even more crocodile tears? Please. People who behave like this sicken me to the core. It cheapens what has happened and those who respond to it sincerely, rather than excessively for effect.

Wrap yourself in a flag and dance in your ignorance of what this country is all about, congratulating yourself on what a wonderful fellow you are. I suspect you are fooling few. It is YOU, sir, and your like who will destroy America "from the inside" if we are destroyed.
posted by rushmc at 6:27 PM on October 18, 2001


Because some of you still aren't getting it, directly from the article:

"Though students can elect not to participate in the recital of the pledge, the district's decision satisfied Legion Post 1776,"

Despite the efforts of the American Legion, there is no requirement to say the pledge. If there were, this thread would be about the lawsuit filed on behalf of some disgruntled student via the ACLU. There was no force, demand or imposition from the organisation that matters, and that's all that matters. Now that we've beaten this phantom horse well beyond its phantom death. . .
posted by Dreama at 7:31 PM on October 18, 2001


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