I was brought up in a government institution in which I was made to make a daily commitment, an audible promise to remain loyal to the state in which I was raised. Every morning, before engaging in the learning exercises mandated by this organization, we loudly announced our devotion to a symbol of those who required us to attend this institution. We didn’t think much of it. The words were so well rehearsed, we rarely gave consideration to what the utterances meant. We, the children of this state, the future, knew this little speech so well, it was so engrained in us, I feel comfortable in my assumption that most of us would have little problem reciting it word for word today. According to Wikipedia, physiologist Kathleen Taylor cites repetition as “an integral part of brainwashing techniques”. She says this is so “because connections between neurons become stronger when exposed to incoming signals of frequency and intensity.” It would seem as though I and anyone else who grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance were being conditioned daily.
When we look at the actual words in this pledge, would we agree to the message behind them? “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I found myself chuckling with regret in the irony of the word “indivisible” in the line above. We are divided now more than I can remember. And many in our government aid in this division. This two-party system has us condemning those who do not see the world the way we do. With the near 23,000,000 people in prisons in the United States (https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2018.html), liberty is certainly not an inalienable right in this country. And justice? I suppose it is obtainable if you can afford it. According the the Pew Religious Landscape survey of 2014, almost 23% of people in the United States were “religiously unaffiliated” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_the_United_States). So let’s try it without the phrases and words that may have become obsolete: “There’s a flag that represents the country known as United States of America.” It kind of looses its luster doesn’t it?
We may see that “The Pledge” doesn’t represent us as a country. We may also see how reciting it every morning may be means to conditioning. So why is reciting “The Pledge” still practiced in schools all around our country?
“Commissioner Jordash, it’s the Sphincter on the line. He says he has kidnapped your wife.”
“Light the Snail signal!”
At Snail headquarters:
“The Snail, it’s the Snail signal!”
“Damn the Snail, you should really quit smoking.”
“I… told… you… grass…hopper… It’s… just… Snail… There… is… no… need… to… say… ‘the’… every… time.”
At Police headquarters:
“Commissioner, we have defeated the Sphincter and saved your wife.”
“Okay, we can turn off the Snail signal.”
At Snail headquarters:
“Come… on… Grass…hopper… let’s…” (The Snail signal disappears from the sky) “Never… mind”
We need to decide if the color of our skin matters. I was taught from a young age that the color of a person’s skin is largely irrelevant. Certainly, in a society when the color of a person’s skin may have great influence on their ability to gain wealth, we may see a correlation between more important issues and skin color. But it would seem counterproductive to classify people’s perspectives on these bigger issues by division of skin color. We know that eating ice cream doesn’t lead to murders just as we should know that color of skin does not determine for whom we vote.
What benefit does the above chart provide? It would seem to show a great division in our society. Where we find division, we can insert efforts to unite. So the above chart may prove extremely useful in helping us better understand where to begin in our efforts to unite. But the post on which I found this chart would seem to aim to use it as means of condemnation:
“Wvite women still whvte women-ing. Always upholding white supremacy to keep their privilege. I don’t want to see whvte women marching in pussy hats in January. Y’all are more worried about putting stickers on RACIST Susan B Anthony’s grave than collecting your fellow yt women. It’s been two years. What have y’all been doing other than performative activism photo ops? Goodbye.”
First off, the author of this post is lumping all “white” women together: “I don’t want to see whvte women marching in pussy hats in January.” But what about the 39% who voted for Beto? It would seem to be the author’s assertion that “white” women should be working to convert other white women. But why does this responsibility fall more on “white” women than it does on any other classification of person on this chart? When we see the color of our skin as the arbitrary division I believe it to be, we may see this chart as a symptom of a deeper problem in our society.
That $50,000 annual income marker that divides people who voted for Obama and people who voted for McCain falls almost exactly between the division of annual income between Latino and “white” people. As Democrats traditionally work to spread the wealth and provide social services for those in need and Republicans traditionally work to keep taxes low, it is easy to see how a person’s income may affect their political affiliation. The color of our skin doesn’t matter. The only color that matters is green. Pointing fingers only works to create division. We are not each other’s enemies. We’ve just been tricked into believing we are. There is no scarcity of resources except the one which has been made:
When we, the blue and the green on this chart, divide against other blue and green as a result of an arbitrary classification like skin color, we enable that 1% to maintain their power. This country is not a Democratic-Republic. It is an Oligarchy. How we vote doesn’t have a huge effect on our world as long as money plays the part it is playing in our political system.
In the early 1800s there grew a problem of inmates in French prisons disappearing from their cells. The head of the French Bureau of Prisons, a woman by the name of Cherie, vowed to the French people that she would put a stop to this. It was uncommon for French men to address unmarried French women by their first names and not “Mademoiselle “. It was even more uncommon for a woman to hold such a position of authority. But Cherie was in a position of authority that granted she be called whatever she asked to be called. In Cherie’s effort to fix a seemingly broken prison system, she reached out to an American by the name of Inspector Capo. Inspector Capo had a reputation for being the best in his business. As the United States seemed rather eager to lock up their citizens, there was no shortage of prisons, or “pens”, to inspect. It was common to refer to prisons as pens. This worked to dehumanize the prizoners. They were like animals, kept safe in their pens. This was something most who worked in any prison system agreed upon. Cherie and Inspector Capo developed a 10 scale rating system for security of the French prisons. Inspector Capo would give a thorough review of each prison and then give Cherie his final grade: “I give this pen an 8, Cherie… This pen is a 7, Cherie.” Soon bribery won out over Inspector Capo’s pride. As soon as all prison grades turned into 10s, Inspector Capo could return to the United Staes with stories of success and Cherie could tell the French people she had done her job. Cherie hired French-born inspectors to keep up the charade. They didn’t understand the meaning of the syllables, but they knew what to say: “Pen a ten Cherie”. And so the term “Penitentiary” was born.