A Better Pledge of Allegiance

I think I’d be fine leading my classes in this version of the Pledge of Allegiance (courtesy of The Whitest Kids U’ Know):

I pledge allegiance

To the flag

Of the United States of America

Thank you very, very much for letting us little kids live here.

It really, really was nice of you.

You didn’t have to do it.

And it’s really not freaky that us little, little kids

Mindlessly recite this anthem

Every day

And pledge their life to a government

Before they’re old enough to really think about what they’re saying.

This is not a form of brainwashing.

This is not a form of brainwashing.

This is not a form of brainwashing.

This is really the greatest country in the whole world.

All the other countries suck.

And if this country ever goes to war,

As it’s often wont to do,

I promise to help go and kill all the other countries’ kids.

God bless Johnson & Johnson.

God bless GE.

God bless Citigroup.

Amen.

(via Cynical-C)

  • Michelle

    They forgot Chase and Goldmen.

  • Tom

    This is sort of why I didn’t say the pledge of allegiance even when I still went to church. Back then I didn’t want to be in what I thought was a contract that pledged my allegiance.

    Kids don’t understand what the pledge of allegiance is when they’re saying it. They’re told to say it and they do.

    I remember one time, when they were saying it over the announcements in high school, when I didn’t stand up for it. My teacher then took me aside and asked if I was a Jehovah’s Witness. I said “no”. I forget what else he said, but he said if I didn’t want to say the pledge I should go over to another part of the room (This was in the HVAC-R shop. I went to a vocational high school.) where we clean up and had lockers for our stuff. I ended up standing for the pledge from then on because was an awkward teenager who submitted to authority in this case. I didn’t want to go to the clean-up area every time the pledge was said.

    If people decide to recite the pledge of allegiance after they fully understand it and are 18 y/o or older, then let them. If they’re young and impressionable then it’s a little silly at the least and brainwashing at the most.

  • JenniferT

    As a non-American, I’ve always found that whole “pledge of allegiance” thing creepy. And the way that all the attention seems to be on whether or not it should include “under god”, which seems to be missing the point somewhat.

  • Digitus Impudicus

    I posted this to facebook. I got this reply:
    Aaron, this is sad. Why did you post this? If children are only being taught to mindlessly repeat words then this would be appropriate, but I know many adults who work hard to install patriotic values in their children, encourage their children to study the history of their country and appreciate what others have died to protect for them. I know I do with my children and when they say the pledge, they are not mindlessly repeating words that mean nothing to them but are making a pledge to know what happened in the past and be part of what is happening now.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    You know, it’s one thing to love one’s country. It’s totally another to think we’re better than the rest of the world. It’s that kind of superiority complex that makes other people hate us. And the fact that we’re all pretty much taught that the opinions of non-Americans don’t matter, and fuck everybody else, just makes it worse and is the wrong way to go.

    Of course I’ll teach my kids about the liberties and freedoms we enjoy, and how great that is, but I’m not going to brainwash them into thinking we’re better than everybody else because of that.

    And yes, the Pledge is a form of brainwashing. It’s a mindless recitation of words, pretty much forced upon kids (check out Nothing But the Truth by Avi for a [true] story along the same vein as forced recitation). It goes against the very freedoms we have to force our children to mindlessly recite a chant like some sort of cult.

  • Austin

    I love it. I recently decided to not say the pledge of allegiance at school and this instills more courage for me to pull it off.

  • Nick Andrew

    I’m from AU and I find it weird that your schools have their students say that pledge every day (even if it is nominally optional).

    On the other hand, our schools are full of illogical shit too – like the opt-out SRI (Special Religious Indoctrination) and whole-school Easter services.

    I also found it weird that immigrants receiving AU citizenship have to pledge allegiance to the Queen of England, which natural-born citizens never have to do, as far as I know. I regard pledging allegiance to the English Queen as archaic and useless as pledging allegiance to Pope Ratty.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I wouldn’t be against a pledge to our secular constitution.

  • http://hewhothinksaloud.blogspot.com Emaj Cirtap

    I love the WKUK. That video reminds me of this one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYq_-zju_P8

  • Justin

    The pledge is to ensure those little kids don’t grow up to be commies. Everyone knows that :p .

    I posted this to facebook. I got this reply:
    Aaron, this is sad. Why did you post this? If children are only being taught to mindlessly repeat words then this would be appropriate, but I know many adults who work hard to install patriotic values in their children, encourage their children to study the history of their country and appreciate what others have died to protect for them. I know I do with my children and when they say the pledge, they are not mindlessly repeating words that mean nothing to them but are making a pledge to know what happened in the past and be part of what is happening now.

    No disrespect to your friend or whatever but this sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me. Most people are woefully ignorant about the history of their country.If it is true I wonder if this person teaches his/her kids all of American history or just the “good bits”.

  • AmyC

    I never said the pledge in school anyways. I just stood there with my hand on my chest. I always thought the pledge and moment of silence were just a waste of time. They always did it at the beginning of the day, about five minutes after class started. The teacher never did anything for the five minutes before it, because she didn’t want to be interrupted by the pledge announcement. So we pretty much lost ten minutes of class time for the pledge and moment of silence.

  • Mike Christerson

    Seems to me that saying “American Exceptionalism” is just another way of saying “we’re better than you” to the rest of the world.

  • http://defendingreason.wordpress.com/ Ben

    but I know many adults who work hard to install patriotic values in their children

    Patriotism is not a good thing, especially if your country is globally known for being aggressive even with their allies, and who’s politics are full of vileness.

    Do any American patriots think that maybe there’s really not a lot they should be proud of right now?

    P.S. An American friend of mine just posted on Facebook “most people don’t believe me when I say Australia is an island continent”. Sounds like most Americans are too woefully ignorant of the rest of the world to be able to decide that the U.S. is better than everybody else.

  • Trace

    I think it is funny. I did not grow up in the States. To this day I find the whole thing disturbing. I guess I should, like those children, be very, very thankful I am allowed to live (and pay taxes) here.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    See, the truth can be both funny and sad.

  • captsam

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve been to lazy all my life, that if I found a better place I couldn’t afford to move, and only hope the republicans don’t dissolve social security before I’m gone.

  • Annie

    @Ben- I must disagree. Partiotism (to me)is simply devotion to one’s country. I am devoted to my country. To me, this means that I want it to be the best and most inclusive place for all who live here, and I must do my part to help make it so. I think American atheists are some of the most patriotic people I know, as they are the ones that question non-inclusive and unpatriotic issues, such as prayer in public schools, “one nation, under god” in our pledge, etc. Damon Fowler’s actions last week were extremely patriotic.

    I don’t wear clothes with flags, and I don’t recite the pledge. But I will peacefully protest when I think something is unjust, and I will support a person’s right to peacefully protest when I totally disagree with them. To me, that’s patriotism.

  • Chris the religous infedel

    Ok first before i say anything, I AM A MARINE GRUNT, specifical im an 0351. THIS ISNT THE BELIEF OF THE MARINE CORP OR ITS ASSCOCIAES..

    So patriotism may mean something different for me but the pledge of allegience isnt brain washing or that some places say it everyday before school starts. Some of my schools didnt say it everyday and i was probably the easist recrutment my recruiter had. Back to the point, it is part of history and was written in a differnt time when religouse and non religous fanatics were few and far apart. It is part of america and its optional to say it. Being an american isnt made from saying the pledge nor is it from lounging about on its land. Iv met illigals who are more american than some. BUT i am also a believer that if you dont like America then get out.

  • AmyC

    I like Annie’s response. One shouldn’t wear one’s patriotism on their sleeve. Others should be able to see their patriotism through their actions. Most people I know who have patriotic crap on their cars, clothes and whatnot don’t even know what our most basic rights are in America. How can you claim to love this country but be so ignorant about it’s constitutional values and history?

  • Vanessa

    When I said the Pledge in school as little kid, I always said “I pledge of allegiance….” Because, you know the title is Pledge *of* Allegiance, I thought the “of” was supposed to be in there. It’s not unreasonable to say that if I had no idea what I was reciting every day, most American kids today don’t know either.

  • Miko

    Yeah, that pretty much says it all.

    YAA:

    You know, it’s one thing to love one’s country. It’s totally another to think we’re better than the rest of the world. It’s that kind of superiority complex that makes other people hate us.

    Not so. It’s that kind of superiority complex that makes them think that Americans are arrogant pricks. By contrast, it’s dropping bombs on them that makes them hate us.

  • http://deck16.net nichevo

    Such an amazing difference between the USA and Australia. Most Australians only know the first verse of our national anthem. Many hardly know that. Obsession with our flag (waving it, wearing it, getting it tatooed) is more likely to be a display of “white Australia” racism rather than actual national pride. We are a cynical lot when it comes to sentiments patriotic. I think it’s great.

    To me, the USA Pledge of Allegiance is downright creepy. I’m sure conservative Americans would find our lack of nationalism disturbing (if they could actually find us on a map).

  • Chris the religous infedel

    Ok first before i say anything, I AM A MARINE GRUNT, specifical im an 0351. THIS ISNT THE BELIEF OF THE MARINE CORP OR ITS ASSCOCIAES.

    The whole america is the best thing and that all americans believe that is a bunch of bull. Iv been to 9 countries and in my years of service and because of that i developed what i call the “the big brother respons”. Most of the countries (not all) i went to see america as the big brother , somoned thats there to watch over their back when in trouble and there to take the blame in the event when things go wrong. This also happens to Russia and china and the UK. Any big brothers (or sisters) know what i mean and feel, lord knows how many times i had to save my lil brothers and take the blame from them. THE ONLY REAL DIFFERENCE is that america saw itself as the big brother after we had to leave our isolationism view for the war. Once we saw ourselve the big brother we eventually did what all big bros did, try to teach the lil ones to take care of themselves (all sorts of different methods for that) and like all lil bros they eventually devoloped a sense of anger, a sense of respect, and a sense of love. Some never needed us, some learned and took their own paths, some sit and complain all day. But now the world EXPECTS us to take up the role when things happen witch will be our eventual downfall like all great empires in history. We in america are just living a cycle of another empire that is doomed to fall eventually.

    @ annie: I agree with you half way, actions determine a patriot more than looks but Whole banning of religion things being patrotic isnt sitting with me. Our founder came here so that they could freely practice thier religion anywhere including schools and gov building. Banning things crushes this belief and its freedoms just the same as saying that athiest HAVE to pray or something witch is UNpatriotic. If you ask me, By what you saying then the only patriotic way is that home and church is the only place to practice any beliefs, Does that sound like the freedom you yourself are trying to achieve as an athiest. In all honesty, This subject is a lose lose situation no matter whitch side wins. You cant make everyone happy and the harder you try the more you look like a fool or an asshole. Why cant people just be happy to be afforded the oppertunity to practice beliefes wherever and whenever.

  • Anansi

    I’m another non-Usian who always thought the idea of kids being made to swear allegiance to the government was somewhat sinister. They aren’t considered competent to sign a contact, so how can they seriously be expected to make an informed commitment to a political system?

    Also, why everyday? Are American pledges so flimsy that they expire after 24 hours?

  • Baconsbud

    Chris again you need to actually study some history. The people who left Europe for the New World didn’t come here to practice religious freedom but to get away from oppressive governments that wouldn’t allow them to worship as they wanted. When they got here they did the same thing to others that had been done to them in Europe. Check the laws of many of the colonies before the early 1700 and you will find it was illegal to be of different denominations within some of the colonies. When someone says the first settlers came for religious freedom it was for themselves not others. Like science you might want to pick up some history books and read them. Try reading a few books about the colonies before you make the claim that religious freedom was the goal of the settlers.

  • Matt H

    BUT i am also a believer that if you dont like America then get out.

    Well fuck you too!

  • Nordog

    Gee, and all this time I thought atheists were traumatized because they couldn’t say the pledge until the courts removed “under God” from it.

    Now it appears that the pledge itself is the problem.

    Not really a surprise.

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve been to lazy all my life, that if I found a better place I couldn’t afford to move, and only hope the republicans don’t dissolve social security before I’m gone.

    Shorter version: I hate you, now give me money.

  • Philbert

    Gee, and all this time I thought atheists were traumatized because they couldn’t say the pledge until the courts removed “under God” from it.

    Now it appears that the pledge itself is the problem.

    Indeed, I would like to see the original pledge restored precisely because I believe in “one nation, indivisible”, and qualifying with “under God” causes division. Posting a derogatory “better pledge” like this makes the case against “under god” look like concern trolling.

  • Dark Jaguar

    I mis-posted this in the wrong thread, a very wrong thread. Here it is.

    As an American kid, we memorized the pledge very young, and eventually came the class that taught us the meaning of it. That is, we were taught what all the individual words mean. We also got the “general” meaning, but it took years before I realized that from the perspective of legal consent, it was really strange to have kids constantly chanting an oath of loyalty. At that point, I stopped bothering. It’s pretty easy to just pay a little lip service without actually saying anything. In fact, to anyone from another country, try watching a recording of a pledge (find a video of kids first learning it, then kids later in high school, try to get videos that aren’t specifically about the pledge so the kids aren’t putting on a show for the camera, so to speak). I can’t say if it will or won’t, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out you’re creeped out by it. Little kids are always excited and shouting it, while getting words wrong without a care in the world. Teenagers stopped caring and are just doing it by rout at that point. Teachers, now that’s the fun one. Teachers are excited to teach it, but as time goes on they seem to really just want to get it over with as much as the kids so that everyone can get to work.

    Having been mired in it my entire school life (college, notably and mercifully, doesn’t bother with it at all, and not a single person thinks that is strange or demands that they start), I’m still creeped out by it now, but I would love an outsider’s view because I bet there’s observations about it I never would have considered (yeah don’t go for the Hitler angle, that’s been done to death).

    So yeah, slow self awareness makes me realize just how odd it is. No kid can be legally be held to an oath they took before reaching adulthood, and once someone is an adult, the reciting stops anyway. I could see this in the military, or even for taking a government job (I would at least “get” it, not that I’d think it’s necessarily right). Also, it’s really weird how it’s phrased. Pledge allegiance to the flag? Why the flag? Why not “I pledge allegiance to The United States of America”? The spacing is always EXACTLY just so as well, another thing I’m just noticing, and that spacing is really odd too. There’s a big gap between “the flag” and “of the United States of America”, and then another one between that and “And to the Republic for which it stands” (Why not use Democracy here? I know America is not a pure democracy but a representative democracy, but still, it’s an odd phrasing if the goal is to keep kids from going “commie”.) And then, another oddity, the word “stands” goes up a little in pitch, like it’s about to add a little more to the sentence, and then suddenly out of the blue “One nation *pause* under god *pause* indivisible *pause, then all in one quick breath* With liberty and justice for all. *Everyone quickly sits down and the day goes on like nothing happened, because that’s how everyone feels.* The cadence of the whole thing is just… off, and it’s ALWAYS the same, across the whole country. How exactly did the exact way to pronounce the thing get so perfectly ingrained? One would think there would at least be some regional variation.

    Note that I’m focusing on all the little details there. Back on topic, the fact that there’s an oath at all is probably the worse offense. Taking “under god” out is probably missing the forest for the trees. Yes, kids mindlessly chanting about a god they may not believe in is wrong, but mindlessly chanting a loyalty oath at all is what the big challenge should be I think. Where exactly are the lawsuits over the “oath” in general? Would there be any grounds? Something about it just seems off, but I can’t think of any particular amendment that covers this.

    I can say one thing though. Legally, people can’t be held to oaths made before adulthood, and certainly can’t be held to oaths they were being compelled to take. Certainly there are some grounds on THAT level if not at the constitutional level. This particular issue just seems to be bigger than atheism to me.

  • Chakolate

    I didn’t like the pledge I was taught, especially the idea of pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth, so I wrote my own:

    I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the Republic which it defines, one nation, under NOBODY, indivisible, with a goal of liberty and justice for all.

    That works for me.

    • Veritas95626

      I’unno. But leading a moral life to get to a place where I will spend eternity in happiness sounds better than an eternity of nothing.
      Not being able to think.
      Not being able to feel.
      Nothing.


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