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Moyers: Pledge of Allegiance is a Lie

Moyers: Pledge of Allegiance is a Lie July 10, 2013

I do not recite the pledge of allegiance, ever. I don’t think you should either. And it isn’t just because it says “under God” or because it has clear fascist overtones to it. It’s also because it’s completely dishonest, as Bill Moyers explains far more eloquently than I ever could.

The next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance – “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” – remember: it’s a lie. A whopper of a lie.

We coax it from the mouths of babes for the same reason our politicians wear those flag pins in their lapels – it makes the hypocrisy go down easier, the way aspirin helps a headache go away.

“Justice for all” is a mouthwash for the morning after governor Bill Clinton took time off from his presidential campaign to fly back to Arkansas to oversee execution of a fellow who was mentally deficient. ”

“Justice for all” is a breath mint Governor George W. Bush popped into his mouth after that poor Bible-believing Christian pleaded vainly for mercy before they strapped her down to die in that anteroom of Heaven known as the Huntsville State Prison…

Of the $100 billion spent annually on criminal justice in this country, only two to three percent goes to defend the poor. Of 97 countries, we rank 68th in access to and affordability of civil legal service.

No, we can’t afford it, but just a decade ago we started shelling out $2.2 trillion for a war in Iraq born of fraud…

We can’t afford to defend the poor.

Oh, Gideon — fifty years ago your trumpet was a clear, piercing cry for justice, and we’ve turned a deaf ear.

He refers there to Clarence Gideon, the plaintiff in Gideon v Wainwright, the 1963 Supreme Court ruling requiring the government to provide legal counsel for criminal defendants who can’t afford their own attorney. Unfortunately, that ruling has now become virtually meaningless. Our public defender system is an unmitigated disaster and does almost nothing to secure justice for poor defendants. Of course, the liberty for all line is equally dishonest, for much the same reason.

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