TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

The Pledge of Allegiance should be changed

I don't really like the pledge of allegiance. America has sunk so far below what it SHOULD stand for and lost sight of what the forefathers and all Americans should aim for.
"I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America."
This was an amazing line when the flag stood for a new, powerful, and good country. It seems like this once magnificent symbol has been stripped of its meaning and is now just a piece of fabric.
"And to the republic, for which it stands,"
Like I said above, I don't think that it DOES stand for the republic. I think that it is just something that everyone recognizes and associates with one thing or another, like the Apple Logo, or the golden arches of McDonald's, which is almost as representative of America as the flag is nowadays. Which is depressing if we're going to be honest. The pledge continues with the "controversial" line,
"One nation, under God."
Now the fact that the whole country has to be so "politically correct" that THIS is controversial sort of shows that we've lost sight of what this country should stand for. If its such a big deal to you personally, don't say the line, or even the word "God". If you have such strong personal convictions that it offends you to mention a being that may or may not exist, you should look at changing yourself as opposed to making a ruckus about a pledge that has a "God" in it.
"With liberty and justice for all."
This line is CLOSE to being what it ought to be. This is really the only line that I agree with and yet, it still has its problems. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" are the unalienable rights that our constitution gives us. Why should we change something that was written in the document that our country was founded on? I propose this new Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance,
To the Constitution,
Of the United States of America.
And to protecting the rights
Of the people;
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Share:
  • thumb
    Dec 17 2012: Why even have a pledge of allegiance.
    Isn't blind patriotism the primary hurdle against objectivity, scrutiny and infact fixing the issues (that don't exist as far as allegiance is concerned)?


    Howabout this instead:
    I pledge no allegiance to landmass, ritual or happenstance birth circumstances.
    I accept that everything can, will and must be scrutinized and must be rejected if it cannot stand up to intellectual honesty and scepticial inquiry.
    I focus my life in the pursuit of freedom, human-rights, education and societal progress above all else, and will consider all that oppose me to be my adversary.
    I will uphold the rights of my species and will strive to make the landmass I stand on worthy of the flag it holds.
    • thumb
      Dec 17 2012: '... and will consider all that oppose me to be my adversary.'

      This sub-clause seems pretty hostile to me. Isn't this just another call for a multitude of 'axes of evil'?

      What about tolerance instead, as other people may come to other conclusions than 'you' do?
    • Dec 17 2012: I completely concur that blind patriotism is bad. Thats why, as opposed to reciting the same pledge over and over every day until be comes a meaningless mantra, I decided to rewrite something that I could support and actually held some validity as a pledge.
      One of the issues with your pledge is that its based upon a totally Utopian idea. Now, the idea of the perfect ideal Utopian society is obviously... perfect, but it has the same issues that Communism has. That they work on paper but don't count in the variables known as human behaviour. If everyone was perfect, lived by this pledge, and upheld it, the result would be perfection. Now I concur with Lejan that the one line is somewhat a cause for concern.
      The other issue is that the pledge is MEANT to individualize America and Americans. We are completely unlike any nation there has been or is. We have obvious similarities because we weren't the first nation to ever exist but none the less, we are a very specific country.
      Objectivity, scrutiny, and fixing those issues are hindered much more by the fact that humans are imperfect and have their own individual goals, and when separated, they are much more erratic and cannot find common goals. So actually, by uniting a particular group through a pledge that holds meaning and doesn't rely on a symbol but an actual quotation and an idea, these can bring the individuals closer together and work towards their goals together. This is essentially what the Constitution was.
  • Dec 25 2012: The older I get, the less the "Pledge" means to me. As a kid I did it without question. Now that I am more of a critical thinker, I see it as a mindless ritual rather than an affirmation of pride in one's country.

    We are not one nation. (ask anyone who is LGBT or a racial minority)
    We are not under God. (Some are, some aren't)
    We are not indivisable. (We are divided by race, class, gender, etc)
    There is not liberty and justice for all (I can qualify this as someone who grew up in poverty).
  • thumb
    Dec 24 2012: Your proposed allegiance makes sense and probably has more meaning than our current one. However, I still honor our flag as a symbol of what we want this country to be.
    So far as "under God", those words where added to the pledge when I was in the 7th grade. I didn't agree with them then and I don't agree with them now. I have never repeated them in my pledge of allegiance.
  • thumb
    Dec 21 2012: I don't like indoctrination programs, which is what the Pledge is. It was foisted upon us by Congress when people were outraged over the Korean War (1950s) and government needed a way to silence the protestors by using patriotism as a way to discredit them (A tactic learned from Hitler). At its core, it is a violation of religious freedom and those religious people who are not allowed to swear oaths, and it is an assault on the thinking processes of children who were forced to say it every day in school.

    If there were a pledge, I would prefer it be something like

    "I pledge allegiance to the CONSTITUTION of these United States of America." and end it there, but see value in your suggestion - though it will be used against too many (unintended consequences)

    Personally, I don't think that it is government's job to assault its citizenry with pro-war, pro-government propoganda. The flag doesn't stand for the constitutional republic that our country was supposed to stand for.
    • thumb
      Dec 24 2012: Your history is incorrect. I'm 82 and I've been pledging allegiance for as long as I can remember. "Under God" was added when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. I have never agreed with that phrase and I have never repeated it.
      • thumb
        Dec 25 2012: On June 19, 1892, the pledge of allegiance was to be recited during proscribed Columbus Day celebrations only. It was to be affirmed using the words, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

        On June 22, 1942, in the midst of World War II, Congress officially recognized the pledge with the following words: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." This was done because so many were reciting it and immigrants may take this pledge as an allegiance to their home countries, which may have undermined the war effort and the patriotic zeal that was being promoted at home during the war.

        The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress amending the Flag Code enacted in 1942. It was still not required to be said daily in schools, though many did as part of the congressionaly encouraged daily affirmation of patriotism that many states required. Again, we were in the midst of a war that too many were vehemently against.

        There are states that have never required recitation. My husband (82 in a few months) was not required to say it until he was in high school (late 40s). I was born the year he graduated from high school, so it was always required.

        But the fact remains. It was used to indoctrinate students, and it was only brought up in times of war to further patriotic fervor.

        I refuse to stand when others recite it. It doesn't belong in PUBLIC schools. Schools exist to educate, not indoctrinate.
  • thumb
    Dec 19 2012: Interesting. I kind of enjoy saying the pledge because of the tradition, the sense that people have said it the same way for two hundred years before me.
  • Dec 18 2012: Why don't we start with politicians and other leaders taking that pledge and then living up to it?
    Why? Because they don't.

    The military has been used to spy on U.S. citizens. Not abroad, but right in the good'ole continental Un-united States.
    The military can now be used to spy on citizens and they are always ready to use force against us/U.S.

    The gangs of the U.S. (military, law enforcement, courts and others), have now turned against those they once swore to protect, honor and serve.

    I've read their oaths. Nowhere does it say they are to protect their leaders, the ones who tell them what to do, who to violate, what to keep them from knowing or learning, to increase their own secrecy while condemning those as traitorous who demand transparency and ooh, imagine this, honesty and integrity.
    This is totally wrong and not what this country was once about.

    It isn't and shouldn't be, "America, no matter what." We have been, and still are, doing a large amount of horrible things around the world, yet people simply dismiss this by mentioning the good "we" have done. That is a super cop-out. We cannot continue killing millions of children yearly, destroying environments that belong to others, invade countries and ruin their burgeoning democracies or other forms of governance, just by saying, "We only want to do good. We are the good guys, remember?"

    G.W. Bush was quoted as saying, "the Constitution is just a Goddamn piece of paper." This has not really been substantiated but in one respect it is true. The people are the Constitution, not paper, thus they do not need to, nor have to, do anything their government tells them to do, rules, laws or whatever, whenever.

    It is substantiated that G.W.B. said, "I wish this was a dictatorship." That should send shivers up everyone's spine.
    These monsters must be accountable. They expect you to be so. They are supposed to work for us/U.S. not us/U.S. for them. It isn't their country. It is ours. It belongs to us/U.S. the People
  • thumb
    Dec 18 2012: What! You guys love your country, every little town has your flag flying everywhere, come to my city, you will find it in about two places, on our small bridge and i think on our small museum.
  • thumb
    Dec 18 2012: When a youngster gets a report card indicating performance well-below their proven abilities should the expectations be lowered to match the bad report? I don't think so. Leave the standard where it is and take action to restore the performance to match proven ability. Don't lower the bar; don't dumb everything down; don't settle. Kick ass and take names! Get her done! Fight for what's right. Surrender? Nuts!
    • Dec 18 2012: If you mean this they way that I interpret it then I think you missed my intention with this new pledge. I was not, by any means, lowering the bar. Actually, in many aspects I was RAISING it by holding the pledge to something with legitimate meaning. The bar was extremely low in the respect that people were just pledging allegiance either because they were required to, as I was from elementary school to high school, or just because they dont really feel obligated to a piece of fabric.
      • thumb
        Dec 18 2012: The "bar" represents the Pledge as written. To dissect it and remove the Flag; the Republic; God; Indivisibility; Liberty for all; and Justice for all is hardly raising the bar. We should remember that the Pledge is not in any way official or binding. It is really just pomp and circumstance. No one is obligated to take it, and there is no penalty for not reciting it. It is part of the public school liturgy and should reflect what our nation once was, and can be again.
        • Dec 19 2012: You have a point, but I think that God and Indivisibility should be removed.

          In the USA, God and politics should not be mixed.

          The USA actively encourages some populations of other countries to seek independence. Our own Declaration of Independence states that people have the right to throw off a despotic government. Divisibility is a human right.

          By the way, when I was in elementary school (many years ago) ,the pledge was required.
  • Dec 17 2012: I like your pledge. When people enter the military services, they take an oath to protect the Constitution.

    Perhaps just one tiny change: "Of all people"

    When called upon to recite the pledge, just recite yours. It may spread.
    • Dec 17 2012: Well, not all people HAVE those rights. Currently this pledge is solely focused on the citizens of America who would be reciting it. If it said all people, it would seem like a much broader pledge, which isnt a bad thing, but isn't the intention of this pledge. This is a pledge focused on America and American ideals/citizens. If it included of all people, then it would be focused more outwardly, which again isnt a bad thing, just not the intention here.
      • Dec 18 2012: I see your point. There is certainly nothing wrong with "Of the people".

        My point was not so much to point outward as to focus on the foundation of the Constitution, which is human rights, which are (or should be) shared by all people..
    • thumb
      Dec 19 2012: RE: "In the USA, God and politics should not be mixed." Agreed. The Pledge is not about politics but about defining a nation. It is a historical fact that the USA was conceived, designed, and constructed recognizing the effort was, and always would be "Under God", not under any specified religion, but under the God of the Holy Bible.
      RE: "Divisibility is a human right." The word "indivisible" was added to prohibit secession of any state from the union. I do not think the Pledge is intended to signify an American policy of fomenting civil unrest in other nations. I do think this amendment to the Pledge was not well though-out, because secession is a Constitutional right. Thank you!
      • thumb
        Dec 21 2012: If you will read the Treaty of Tripoli (initiated by George Washington but finalized by John Adams with unanymouse consent of the senate), you will find that this nation is in no way founded upon the Christian religion. That's what the documentary evidence "says".
        • thumb
          Dec 21 2012: Thank you for the reference. As you probably know the Treaty of Tripoli was short-lived. It was replaced by the Treaty of Peace and Amity which was signed in June of 1805. In it the erroneous clause in Article 11 stating that America was not a Christian nation is omitted. The factual, non-revisionist, history of the United States of America proves the fundamental importance and influence of the God of the Holy Bible. An honest, open-minded reading of history bears this out. Church (any specific denomination) and State are absolutely separate, and at the same time the God of the Holy Bible and America are, or were until recently, bound as one. Just the facts sir.