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?