No big deal. From the beginning, I just closed my mouth on the "...under God" part.
Actually, I have stopped reciting the Pledge at all; and when I was a teacher, I refused to require my classes to recite it. I see no compelling reason why people should owe allegiance to whatever country they happen to inhabit, much less some non-existent deity. And, in fact, few countries are so chauvinistic as to demand this of its citizens. They believe that a government owes allegiance to its people; not the other way around. And neither should owe allegiance to some god or other.
Here's what our revered Pledge REALLY says:
...”I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the corporate plutocracy for which it stands, one empire, under a mythical deity, with liberty and justice for rich, white men.”
How’s this for a better pledge: “I pledge allegiance to the people of the world, and to their health, welfare, and prosperity.” That’s a sentiment I would gladly embrace aloud.
Okay, Republicans, all together now: "WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE THE COUNTRY?" Believe me, if I'd known what I know now when I was younger, I would have tried. I did apply for a job in Canada, where they don't torture prisoners; don't slaughter innocent civilians for economic gain; don't spy on their citizens without a warrant; don't permit any cowboy wannabe to carry a gun; don't deny free health care to anyone, don't deny people the right to love whom they wish; don't discriminate by reason of language or skin color; and - most of all - don't seek to start wars at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, Canada had no need, in 1976, of my particular skills.
Besides, I do love this country; at least the part of it where I live. And I feel I am contributing more to its improvement by staying and fighting against the things I think are hurting it, like religion, incipient fascism, and blind patriotism.
@Dale - First, I'd like to start out saying I'm a republican. Of course, I'm for what the republicans "claim" to stand for, not one of the delusionally superstitious [self] Right[eous]. I guess you could call me more of a Libertarian these days.
My viewpoint is that the government should stay out of everyone's lives as much as possible. Not *completely*, mind you, because there are some services that the government is necessary for such as civic projects, law enforcement, and regulatory duties to maintain a free market with as little corruption as possible. That being said, outside of "free" healthcare, and your suggestion that people should never be allowed to defend themselves, I agree with everything else you say.
I believe that "free" healthcare is extremely expensive because it's paid for via taxes and the government runs it. Consider how inept the government is at running the Social Security program - we all pay into it for 50 years and the system gets to benefit from all that money, and yet it can't support us for 15 years afterwards, putting out a fraction of what was put in. Let me put my money into a retirement fund for that long and I would be living the high life after retirement, not living at poverty level. This is due to nothing other than poor management. It is *not* a pyramid scheme. It is *not* because of "baby boomers". We have all put in more than enough money to support us in our retirement, the government just rapes that fund and then blames the elderly for expecting to get their investment back. Health care is paid for *by us* one way or the other. I just don't understand why people think that making the government pay for something makes it "free". Do they not understand where the government gets its money from?
As for the firearms issue - here are a couple of extremely clear facts: 1) there is NO WAY we are ever getting rid of all the firearms in this country. Period. People can wine about it until doomsday, but it's just simply not going to happen. 2) based on premise 1, if we outlaw guns (and law abiding citizens actually go along with it, which we won't), what you have created is a society of victims. You have criminals with gun and an unarmed public. What could go wrong with that? 3) the police are NOT there to protect you. They admit it themselves. They are a reactive authority, not a proactive authority. Based on your post, you can surely see why this is the way it *must* be and putting more proactive power int the hands of the police can only be a bad thing. 4) Statistics clearly show that the more restrictive the gun control laws, the higher the violent crime rate, as a general rule. Sure, you can find exceptions (which is why we turn to statistics), but they are few and far between. 5) You are FAR more likely to get shot accidentally by a police officer than you are a citizen, and *especially* a law abiding citizen. Again, look up the statistics. 5) the second amendment has nothing to do with hunting or protecting yourself against intrusion. It is solely meant as a deterrent against a tyrannical, repressive government. The argument that "they have tanks and jets, so you having guns is useless" is one of the most ridiculous, moronic statements I can even imagine. It proposes a scenario that is completely impossible and takes a concept to an absurd extreme. Just looking at your post with your proposal of how oppressive our government already is against its citizens, can you imagine how bad it would be if they thought we were all completely helpless to fight back? So, to sum up, being pro gun control is basically declaring that you want everyone you know to be helpless victims for no other reason than your fear of something that you obviously don't understand.
Again, other than those two, I completely agree with your other comments about our government.
I believe that "free" healthcare is extremely expensive because it's paid for via taxes and the government runs it.
While you are correct that socialized health care is not free, if the system being referenced in the post is the Canadian health care system, it is overall more affordable and accessible than the American system with very similar overall health outcomes. This is not to suggest that the Canadian model is suitable for America, but comparatively, the extremely expensive system is the American system.
Personally, I've never really cared for the 'govern' in 'government', but I do think public offices are needed to coordinate social affairs and resources. Something like health care can be more efficiently managed with federal level cooperation. It becomes a question of whether or not access to health care is a fundamental social value, or if it is merely an individual value.
Good points. My only real retort would be my general distrust for *our* government to be able to manage it. Just because other countries governments an manage to govern a health care system, doesn't mean ours can. I have heard many times that Canada's health care system is better than ours. But then, I've also heard of several people who have come here from Canada, because their system would have let the person die because of such long waits for critical treatments.
Don't get me wrong, I do think that our health care system needs overhauling. I have heard professionals say that part of the reason that our health care costs so much is that our government is involved more than it should be and in ways that it shouldn't. Basically I just don't trust our gvmt to manage their way out of a paper bag at this point.
When Canadians opt to pay cash for surgery in the U.S. because they feel the waiting time in Canada jeopardizes their health, they typically pay tens of thousands of dollars - sometimes hundreds of thousands. Their counterparts in the U.S. typically pay the same price to bypass their HMO's. In both cases, we are talking about people who have 40 or 50k to drop when necessary. The other 99% of people wait longer, at their own peril, in Canada while their American counterparts just plain die.
So tell me again how this situation reflects poorly on the Canadian health care system?
Hi Heather - Please try not to take my comments out of context. I never said the Canadian heath system was bad, just that it wasn't perfect. My point, though, is that I don't believe our government is nowhere nearly competent enough to run a healthcare system as well as any government that current does that, including Canada. The Canadian government probably actually CARES about it's citizens where I think the majority of our politicians (especially the republicans) are much more concerned with staying in office while making sure big business makes as much money as possible.
In my view the biggest problem comes from big companies (mostly pharma, but also medical tech) that lobby government to jack their prices. It's a bigger problem in the U.S. than Canada but I believe part of the reason for that is the lack of public accountability for health care in the U.S. - being that there is no universal health care in the U.S.
I'm not saying our system is perfect - but I did clearly illustrate that your point actually underscores a bigger problem on your side of the border than ours.
All in all, countries that have socialized health care (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and even Canada) tend to spend less of their overall GDP on health care than the U.S - which has a higher GDP per capita. Furthermore, most of those socialized medicine countries actually have greater life expectancy.
All of this points to the fact that socialized health care is a good thing - although I agree that your system of government may be screwed. Perhaps you need socialized health care in order to get your senators and congressmen to stand up to corporate lobbying. Just a thought.
I have heard many times that Canada's health care system is better than ours.
Depends on what your priorities in a health care system are. I think people forget that Canada and the United States are different countries with different cultures and values, different population dynamics and different challenges. While both countries can learn from one another, in my mind our differences somewhat limit the value of direct comparison.
But then, I've also heard of several people who have come here from Canada, because their system would have let the person die because of such long waits for critical treatments.
In my experience, these stories are often exaggerated and misrepresented, but obviously I don't check them all. I have even seen propaganda ads to this effect on American television, though this may not reflect the cases you are talking about.
There are situations where both the Canadian and American systems fail their patients where the other system would have done better. Citizens from both countries cross the border to seek treatment for varying reasons both good and bad. What does it mean? As far as I can tell, not a heck of a lot.
Yep, Kris, I completely agree. There's no way to do an apples-to-apples comparison since there are so many factors that come into play.
As for Americans going to Canada for healthcare, having glaucoma, I order my Lumigan from a Canadian pharmacy, since it is SO expensive (over $100 / month) and I can get it from there for about 1/2 the price, so I get to experience the positive side of the Canadian healthcare system. :)
I believe that "free" healthcare is extremely expensive because it's paid for via taxes and the government runs it.
On what basis? Economic research continues to find public programs like medicare cost significantly less than private health insurance. Every advanced nation on earth has a less-privatized health insurance system than the United States, but the United States pays much more for health care than any of them do.
Consider how inept the government is at running the Social Security program
Social Security has been running in the black for 30 years and banking the surplus in the Social Security trust fund. The surplus is so great that Social Security is solvent until at least 2033 and probably longer.
Let me put my money into a retirement fund for that long and I would be living the high life after retirement, not living at poverty level. This is due to nothing other than poor management.
The Great Recession, a product of Republican trickle-down economics, severely reduced the life savings and home values of many baby boomers who were approaching retirement. As a result, reliance on Social Security is growing. Imagine what would have happened to these Americans if leading Republicans like John McCain had achieved enough political power to eliminate or gamble social security funds on the stock market right before the Recession hit.
Do they not understand where the government gets its money from?
The US government makes money-- literally makes it-- on a printing press. The US has a floating currency. It's all but impossible for the US ever to run out of money.
As for the firearms issue
No argument there. The Republicans won this one hands down: the gun control lobby is a smoldering crater.
Oh, and one other thing: I think that patriotism isn't evil, brain washing. I think we should all be proud of our country. That's why I joined the Marine Corp at 17. That being said, I don't think it should be *mandatory* to force children to say the pledge of allegiance every day in school. However, I don't think it hurts anything, either. If we all had a little more pride in what this country stands for (freedom, personal liberty, land of opportunity and diversity, tolerance) I think we could be great once again. As long as we allow the government and big business to exacerbate our differences and big church to continue trying to force their superstitious nonsense down our throats, and as long as we bicker over inconsequential and unproductive issues, we will continue to allow the government to grow and take over more and more of our lives in a very negative way.
The "Knights of Columbus" take great pride in their accomplishment to get "under god" added to the pledge. Never underestimate the power of guys with silly hats who take secret oaths. In fact, does anybody know where you can pick up a pope hat? I'd like to wear one next time I go to the supermarket.