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A pledge to nothing but the human race

By Edmund Lis
I pledge allegiance to no thing or place, for my allegiance lies with the human race, a world with no
borders, no prophets, no reasons for war, that’s what I pledge, of this I am sure.
I thought I should start this column with an alternative pledge because if I started it by stating that I don’t like reciting the pledge to the American flag, some of you might not give me a chance to explain.
I’ve been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance since the first grade and it’s always made me feel uncomfortable. For me the most uncomfortable part has been the “one nation under God” section. Like many of my fellow Americans, I’ve never believed in God, so to me that line is divisive and it nullifies the concept of an “indivisible nation.”
What I see as the larger issue is the whole concept of “pledging allegiance.” Isn’t that kind of antiquated? If we look at the origin of the word, “the fidelity owed by a subject to a sovereign,” so when was the last time you owed a liege or feudal lord? And for that matter, when was the last time you felt like a “subject” — isn’t that why we fought for independence from the crown?
A more modern and useful definition of allegiance is “loyalty or commitment to a group or cause.” As
social humans it’s natural for us to want to feel we are part of a group. Whether it’s family, friends, work, school, sports team, ethnic group, common religion, ancestral origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc, etc, etc… The list could go on forever and it’s not just one group that we feel a part of. There is a
hierarchy to our group loyalties and in reality where does the flag and country stand? Would you betray your family and friends if “big government” came a calling?
To me, reciting the American pledge has always felt like indoctrination or brainwashing. We are
being told or are telling ourselves that the United States is the best and yes, that does make us feel good, but is that reality? Look around — are we an undivided electorate? Is there equal justice for all? Do all our citizens have the liberty to live safe, healthy and productive lives?
Why does a mentally disturbed black army war veteran feel our country is
so unjust that his only
recourse is to kill white
police officers? And then, as if to reinforce that injustice, he is summarily executed using explosives when he was trapped and they probably could have waited him out or used less lethal means to subdue him.
But I digress.
The whole Dallas incident has me very concerned on so many levels, but we will leave that to
another column.
Back to the Pledge of Allegiance and why I’ve been reluctant to write about my feelings. The Pledge is one of those hot button issues because so many Americans recite it regularly without giving it a second thought. I’ve always wondered why our local city council meetings are started with the Pledge.
If you openly question the validity of the Pledge, the response is commonly like back in the ’60s, when if you protested the Vietnam War you got “America, love it or leave it” or if you questioned the government
after 9/11 you got “you’re
either with us or against us.” To me, there is nothing more acutely American than questioning or challenging the status quo. How else do we grow as a nation or, more importantly, as a society?
And that kind of brings me to my point. Isn’t it time to stop thinking and acting so regionally? For most of us, in one way or another, we are more and more
becoming part of a global community. Whether we make, sell, buy or provide services, often we are doing business with people in other countries. Many of us have family outside the States that we care about and communicate with. And as Brexit just showed us, what happens around the globe indeed does affect us.
With instant global news and communications,
multi-national corporations, multi-nation trading blocs and the likes of the European Union, we can try and deny it or fight it kicking and screaming, but the truth is that we are
already living in George H.W. Bush’s “New World
Order” (not the conspiracy one, yet).
A one-world government may never be in the cards but pledging allegiance to just one country probably won’t cut it much longer
For archives of Edmund’s columns, visit www.whats