The Pledge of Allegiance - Under God Explained, Red Skelton

Comment by kris feenstra on December 13, 2012 at 3:10am

Yeah, the ending is a bit weird. It recognizes the very reason one should should object, yet seems to advocate the change at the same time by letting it ride it on the coat tails of the remainder of the pledge. Maybe I just don't get it.

Solid delivery though.

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on December 13, 2012 at 5:35am

Maybe you should show that to the uninformed who think the words "under doG" have always been part of the pledge.

I'm for getting rid of the pledge in it's entirety.

Comment by Judith van der Roos on December 13, 2012 at 11:44am
I really do not think pledges of allegiance are a good thing, its strikes too much like writing a politician a blank cheque and saying "i trust you not to take any more of my money than you need" . A pledge is like this is a blank cheque from your morality account.
Regards,
Judith vd R.
Comment by Strega on December 13, 2012 at 12:07pm

Nice point, Judith. 

I feel a pledge is a bit bizarre.  The government can tax you whether you say any pretty words or not.  Your 'loyalty' to the country you were born in, if you remain where you were born, is not a matter of pledging, it is either existent or non-existent.  Chanting words doesn't change that.  Liars can lie, hypocrites can be hypocritical.  Patriots will stay patriots.  The chanting part is just mumbo-jumbo.

Comment by Matt on December 13, 2012 at 12:16pm

The thought popped in my head the other day:  With all the 6-7-8 yr olds reciting this pledge, I wonder what would happen if you interviewed them and asked what the words mean.  What does "pledge" mean?  What is "allegiance?"  What is a "republic?"  And obviously the answer is that the have no fucking clue.  It started to feel a bit "North Korea" to me... a bunch of folks who are crazy nationalists praising the "dear leader" but not knowing why.  I loved this clip up until the god part because it's important if you're swearing allegiance to actually know what you're saying.

Comment by Doug Reardon on December 13, 2012 at 10:01pm

Red Skelton's public persona and his actual personality were diametrically opposed. 

Comment by James Cox on December 14, 2012 at 4:02am

I pledge to be a nice fellow, to be respectful of honesty and good questions, to have compassion, and be well read. To hand trolls their head when necessary, and offer insightful suggestions to truth seekers as time allows. To be circumspect in my sarcasm, but offer humor as good medicine, and laughter to pretentious demogogs. To face correction and mortality with a tempered courage, and hope for a future that might not include my presence.  

Comment by Ed on December 14, 2012 at 9:08am

@ Strega

It's definitely not mumbo-jumbo. I recall reciting the Pledge at government schools while growing up in a military environment. It seems patriotism has fallen our of favor with many and that the attitude of one country being a better place to live than another is not as prevalent.  Certainly simple recitation does not necessarily generate loyalty, especially at the age of seven. While I have no problem with someone reciting a pledge to their country, especially if it is done freely and with no obligation, there are undercurrents of mind control involved. The government is attempting to instill national pride and unity, but for what motive?

In one respect the sense of patriotism, in the U.S. at least, is no longer held with the same convictions as older generations (those who remember WWII for instance) felt compelled to display. Is this a good thing? That is an interesting question? Should we drop our idealism and patriotism toward our motherland and adopt the new concept of no boundaries and one world government. I am not sure. Implementation of a utopia seems to be rift with problems like greed, lust of power, and religion.

Comment by Strega on December 14, 2012 at 12:37pm

@ Ed

I cannot imagine what it must be like to have brain-washing patriotism chants at school at that age.  It sounds very North Korean to me.

Patriotism is a tool by which the population is engineered to feel good about things that may not be good in their own right.  By chanting to the Great Leader or the Stars and Stripes, I have noticed that some Americans feel they are proud of 'defending' America. 

The question immediately arises as to whether America is under attack.  Other than Pearl Harbor in WWII, I don't think it is. 

Oh sure, terrorists will always be a problem, and I am not brushing over the 9/11 atrocity, but that was not a country declaring war - that was simply terrorism - we have seen a lot of that over the years in the UK with the Irish IRA terrorists, and latterly with the Taliban.

I personally love the idea of 'no boundaries' but of course it would be highly difficult to transform from a system that relies so completely on the boundary concept.  Nevertheless, I truly hope the internet brings virtual boundary-free zones to us so that we can all benefit from sharing good practices and modern education globally.

Religion, power and war all depend on a "them vs us" mentality to succeed, so you are right that these would be inhibitors to a real global attitude.  However, as long as we keep leaning towards a global concept, we can only hope that our future generations will carry that baton forward to real understanding, because it is understanding that leads us towards acceptance.

One day, Ed, one day.  Probably not in my lifetime, but perhaps in the lifetimes of those being born in this century?  We can hope.

Comment by kris feenstra on December 14, 2012 at 4:01pm

I actually think the basic idea of the pledge is a good one. None of us exist in isolation -- we are the beneficiaries of the structure and resources our broader communities offer --, and so we do owe some debt out of reciprocity. How that debt is defined and to whom it is owed is going to vary person to person, but it is there.

It doesn't have to be a matter of jingoism, but the reality for most of us is that our sphere of influence radiates outwards and weakens considerably the farther it gets from the source. I have more impact on my friends and family than I do on my associates and colleagues. I have more influence on my colleagues than I do on my neighbourhood. More on my neighbourhood than my city. More on my city than my province. Province > nation. Nation > continent. Continent > world. That's not always the order, but as a generalization, it's hard to have broader influence if you can't get your shit together in your own home.

I feel obligated not to assert my community or my nation over others, but rather to contribute positively to my community and build it into a structure that actually has the ability to effect positive influence on a broader scale.

If my country had the balls to stop grovelling at the feet of QEII (to whom our pledges of allegiance are typically sworn), I might actually support a public oath of commitment to contribute to the society in which I live and by which I am supported, and also to uphold the values enshrined in our constitution. It is something that really only needs to be said once, and with gravitas. It also needs to be something that can be meaningfully refused or protested.

Gestures like these are a form of communication, and I fear we are losing this element of human expression as certain cultures become evermore complacent and tepid. For instance, I have been asked on several occasions to stand for the Governor General or Lieutenant Governor. Standing is a symbolic act of respect. I remained seated on all occasions. Some people gave me looks of contempt. Some seemed to be considering if standing had been a mistake. In one instance, the person next to me also remained seated for the same reason I did. And some seemed to be merely stretching their legs as if they had no idea why they had been asked to stand in the first place, and chattered through the whole thing.

It is the last group I understand the least and fear the most. The existence of such a custom represents an opportunity to make a statement either in accepting or refusing to observe it. While blind observance is bad, apathetic observance may be worse. Sometimes I think it is a sign that we are taking the luxury of not having to care waaaaay too far.

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