Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Omission: Impossible!

In a move sure to upset no one and totally go un-sued over, a high school student is in trouble for leaving 'under God' out of the Pledge of Allegiance. The student, Derek Giardina, had to lead the school in the pledge for his speech class and says he dropped the phrase because he isn't religious.
"You know Derek, all I ask is constant validation and praise. Is that so hard?"

Pictured: The city of Sodom shortly after
a local student left God out of the Pledge.
The school, fearing a swift reprisal from America's angry and jealous diety, handed Giardina a failing grade, arguing that he should have used the traditional version that echoes down the ages from time immemorial. And by time immemorial, I mean way back in 1954 when the phrase 'under God' was shoehorned in by religious people sucking up to God in an hilariously unconstitutional Church/State mash-up. Before 1954, school kids were just swearing blind loyalty to the nation and its flag without any mention at all of our official state religion...uh, wait do we even have one of those? What is it, like Jesus-ism or something?

Yeah, hang on. Why is the Pledge of Allegiance still a thing we make kids do? Like are we afraid that if kids don't start their day with some weird loyalty oath that they might grow up and move to Canada or hand our state secrets over to the Soviets?
"I won't do it! I won't give you the nuclear codes, I stood up in homeroom and I
 pledged allegiance. An allegiance to the flag. And that's one pledge I can't break..."
Have you ever read this? Me neither.
For all I know, Apple might own my organs.
Also, is anyone really suggesting that kids fully understand what they're agreeing to when they say the pledge? The pledge is just a thing we ask students to recite in school because we had to do it and so did our parents before us. Most of us probably never gave it much thought. It's like clicking on the iTunes end user agreement but without the legal weight. So what's the big deal if Giardina skips a phrase he's philosophically uncomfortable with? All he's doing is breaking a tradition about as old and time honored as 'I Love Lucy' and DEET.

"We pledge allegiance to Verizon Wireless,
because the man said we'd get ice-cream..."
Like, if the pledge is supposed to be a purposeful declaration of one's allegiance then they're asking Giardina and any other student who has a problem with the 'under god' part, to betray their beliefs and convictions in exchange for a passing grade. If it's just some crap we make students do every morning because that's the way it's aways been, then we're wasting class time. Time we could be selling to advertisers. See that? I just ended the pledge debate and solved our nation's school funding problems. You're welcome everybody!

Oh, and on a side note, the Pledge of Allegiance used to be recited while performing something called the Bellamy Salute (see below), a practice we dropped round about, say, 1939...for some reason. I bring this up not just to justify using this creepy picture of kids Nazi-saluting the American flag, but to illustrate the idea that the pledge, like a lot of traditions, can be changed to suit the needs of the times. Ok, mainly it's about the creepy picture, but I think my point stands.
Above: Holy shit. I mean, c'mon, that's just unsettling.

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