2,160 pledges

On my first day at kindergarten, I pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. It's one of my earliest memories.

Our teacher, Miss Brandt, briefly explained what we were about to do. It made no sense, but Mom & Dad had told me to obey the teacher, so obey I did.

Miss Brandt stood and told us to, so I stood. She faced the flag and told us to, so I faced the flag. She said to hold our hands over our hearts, and I didn't know where my heart was, but I did what Miss Brandt did.

She said the pledge, pausing after each line, and we all repeated it:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic
for which it stands,
one nation, under God,
with liberty and justice for all.

Being five years old, the words 'pledge', 'allegiance', 'republic', and 'indivisible' were unknown to me, but after pledging we got to play puzzles and games.

♦ ♦ ♦

We pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America about 2,160 times before I escaped education, plus a few dozen pledges at political meetings later in life.

60+ years after kindergarten, today I've typed the Pledge, without doublechecking the words. It's still in my head, fully memorized.

It's not right to force little kids to swear an oath five days a week, before they're old enough to understand what it means. And pledging allegiance to a rectangular cloth is bonkers.

Greenland's flag looks cooler, and pops out at you. The Marshall Islands' flag has a sci-fi feel. The flag of Antigua and Barbuda is downright sexy. 

America's flag is a bunch of stars and stripes in an odd and kinda ugly pattern. You might think it's aesthetically pleasing, but only because we've all seen it every day of our lives, so it's come to mean 'home', same as golden arches mean cheeseburgers.

Worse than the flag itself, the republic for which it stands leaves lots to be desired. There's no "liberty and justice for all" in America, nor any intention of it. The rich are above justice, while we schmucks who aren't rich get only what liberty we can afford after paying next month's rent.

And that bit about "under God" is not a plus, to a non-believer like me. It makes the Pledge of Allegiance literally one layer of BS under another.

A nation worth pledging allegiance wouldn't have state secrets we the people must never know, wouldn't fly over the dungeons of Guantanamo, wouldn't let people sleep on the sidewalk for lack of housing, or die for lack of medical care.

There are worse countries, sure, but if people without millions of dollars were allowed to be citizens somewhere else, I would already be Australian, British, Canadian, Dutch, Luxembourgian, or New Zealandese. 

Instead I'm American, and I'll shrug and say it's livable. I like cheeseburgers, and the weather suits my clothes. But in many ways, America makes me furious. 

So on this fine autumn afternoon, I do finally and forever revoke those thousands of pledges America made me take.



  1. Antigua and Barbuda are definitrly doing it. How did that flag ever get past the censors and little olf ladies?

    1. It is Picasso going into the missionary position.

  2. I think the rainbow flag for the LGBT community is lame, boring and utterly unoriginal. So I came up with MY own, hoping it will someday replace those seven bland stripes:


    I even have an animated version:


  3. You're nuts, but in a good way, and I like your flag. Is the gay guy based on a spent condom, or is that just me being mental?

    Also, mildly off-topic, I've been unable to figure out how to comment on your blog. Just send an email?


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