Pledge requires revisions
In an accepting and progressive age when taboos have often become normalized, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance still poses a great conflict. The problem is not patriotism but those who shame people who do not wish to recite the pledge.
Since its inception, the Pledge of Allegiance has been present in many facets of everyday life. It is recited in schools, before the beginning of major sporting events, at the beginning of government meetings and during military ceremonies. In schools, the Pledge of Allegiance is forced on students when many of them simply do not understand what they are pledging themselves to—they may not even understand what a pledge is. This blind and forced devotion is wrongful and imposing.
The pledge itself is not entirely the problem, however. For those who do understand it, they are declaring their loyalty to a country that stands for patriotism and freedom for all its constituents, under God. For people who believe in the U.S. government but are not religious, this can pose an issue. The United States cannot be a freethinking and accepting political nation for all of its people when its pledge has religious ties.
Disagreements around participating in the pledge have also led to extreme circumstances as of late. In October, a Mississippian mother told WHJL-TV that her son’s principal forced him to stand for the pledge, threatening the boy with demerits and suspension. The conflict was resolved when the superintendent of the school’s board rightfully said that the district had no policy that forced students to stand for the pledge.
An Oshkosh City Council member exercised her right not to stand for or recite the pledge during a meeting, citing her anger over the results of the recent presidential election as the reason. She said that she had a hard time hearing some of the words of the pledge due to the outcome of the election.
Refusing to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance or in the national anthem causes negative responses because many people see it as a sign of disrespect to those who serve and die for the United States. This, however, is a big misconception. U.S. quarterback Colin Kaepernick received many negative responses for refusing to stand during the national anthem. He claimed that he took a stand against racial discrimination, but many saw the act as disrespectful.
This misconception sprouts from the thought that whoever does not show devotion to the U.S. flag immediately has no respect for the nation. This clouded thought process twists the image of people who are merely expressing themselves. Kaepernick may have the greatest respect for those who have died protecting U.S. citizens. Standing against racial injustice in a time when it should not even exist is much more important than acting in the way the masses deem appropriate.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election, a revision of the Pledge of Allegiance is needed. The United States needs to show its people that it truly is a nation impartial to gender, political background, race or religion, where all of its people will be protected and kept safe no matter the circumstance.