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Bush Brings Back the Pledge
Frontpage ^ | Chris Weinkopf

Posted on 11/05/2001 8:19:51 PM PST by Mr. Mulliner

Bush Brings Back the Pledge

FrontPageMagazine.com | November 5, 2001

THREE WEEKS AGO, President George W. Bush urged American schools to join in the "Pledge Across America," a nationwide, simultaneous recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Since then, the 31-word statement that the left has long considered offensive, antiquated, or contemptible has begun to resurface in classrooms where it once was banished or forgotten. As the country rediscovers its patriotism, the President has led the way in beating back the tired sensitivities of the left — and resurrecting the notion of a professed national fidelity.

Of all places, Madison, Wisconsin — one of the nation’s few remaining bastions of leftism — was recently home to one of America’s most significant culture-war victories in the post-Sept. 11 world: the Madison School Board’s retreat from its ban on the pledge.

The controversy ensued when the Wisconsin state legislature passed a law requiring all schools to lead students in a daily recitation of the pledge or the national anthem. The Madison school board would have no part of it. Officials balked at the "under God" portion of the pledge, and complained that the "Star-Spangled Banner" was too militaristic for a community that hasn’t stopped giving peace a chance. So they passed a resolution banning the pledge and the sung version of the anthem in their schools. Only the wordless, instrumental form of the song would be permitted.

Much to their surprise, they were soon besieged with angry letters, e-mails, and telephone calls, more than 20,000 total. At an eight-hour meeting in an overflowing, 800-seat auditorium, they were berated by angry, flag-waving residents. At meeting’s end, they rescinded their ban on a 6–1 vote.

The pledge is back, and it’s not just in Madison.

Minnesota’s Rosemont-Apple Valley-Eagan School District, just outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul, has extended the daily recitation of the pledge, which had been limited to only elementary schools, to middle and high schools as well. In Pennsylvania, the state legislature has voted 200 to 1 to require that every classroom include a flag, and that students salute it daily with the pledge or the national anthem. In November, Indianapolis Public Schools will vote on a proposal to make the pledge mandatory. A proposal working its way through the Indiana legislature would extend the rule statewide.

And, of course, the pledge is back in New York City, epicenter of the country’s patriotic renewal.

Some two weeks after Bush led Governor George Pataki, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and a classroom of school kids in the pledge—and one week after "Pledge Across America"—the New York City school board voted unanimously to require all schools to recite it daily. Technically, the board’s decision was redundant, as state law has mandated the pledge for decades. But city schools, like many others throughout the country, had long since ignored the mandate, and the board looked the other way. Many New York City classrooms today don’t even have a flag.

The demise of the pledge and classroom patriotism was no accident. Ever since left-wing America-hating came into vogue during the late 1960s, the left has frowned upon American patriotism as little more than illiterate jingoism. While multiculturalism encouraged the celebration of other cultures and nationalities, political correctness labeled the expression of pro-American sentiments as hurtful or offensive. The left began a systematic effort to disarm the country psychologically by sapping its pride and pushing an image popular with our enemies: America the Great Satan.

The Pledge of Allegiance—which requires those reciting it to say that they are Americans first, that ours is a country under God, and that its principles are sacred—became taboo. For radicals, refusing to stand for the pledge, or cynically mocking its claims to "liberty and justice for all," became an easy way to voice antipathy for the American experiment. While some school districts and many more individual teachers continued leading their classes in the daily patriotic exercise, many others stopped, especially at the high-school and junior-high levels.

The causes are varied. In some cases, schools simply gave up on saying the pledge for fear of attracting lawsuits from the likes of the ACLU. (Although constitutionally, as long as districts allow dissenters not to participate, they are on safe legal ground.) At secondary schools, high numbers of "socially conscious" teens often refused to stand. And many schools and teachers alike internalized the belief—pervasive in the teaching colleges that are largely dominated by the left—that America is a hypocritical hotbed of racism, sexism, and oppression.

It’s a strange irony, given that the pledge’s original author was a socialist. In 1892, Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and a proponent of a nationalized, planned economy, crafted the statement for public-school kids to use in celebrating the quadricentennial anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. (How times have changed.)

Bellamy was both a patriot and a utopian. He loved America, even though he thought it fell short of his socialist vision as "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The pledge was not necessarily a statement about America’s accomplishments, but his dream of its potential, and the goodness of its founding principles.

Future generations changed Bellamy’s language, but only slightly. In 1924, the American Legion successfully lobbied to replace Bellamy’s "I pledge allegiance to my flag" with "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America" to make sure that immigrant children knew exactly where their allegiances belonged. Then, in 1954, at the behest of the Knights of Columbus, Congress inserted the words "under God" to draw a distinction between us and godless Soviet Communism.

That a nineteenth-century socialist could craft the words that a twenty-first century leftist would so despise speaks more than anything else to the shift that leftism has made in the last half-century. The country’s early socialists believed, wrongly but sincerely, that their philosophy was the logical extension of American ideals. Their descendants, however, witnessed the horrors of collectivism wherever it was tried, and saw how fundamentally at odds it was with Americanism. Forced to choose one or the other, they chose collectivism, renouncing America, the flag and the republic for which it stands.

Over the course of more than three decades, the pledge had slowly begun to disappear from the national vocabulary. But Bush, building on a resurgence in the country’s patriotism—a resurgence for which he rightfully deserves much credit—has put an end to all of that. He has helped to rescue the pledge from its politically correct exile.

An angry letter from the ACLU, or the complaints of "peace" protesters, once might have been sufficient to stifle the pledge, but not any more. There’s a newfound sense not only in the nation’s goodness, but also in the need to impart the message of its goodness to its children and its newcomers, for which a daily, voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is a powerful tool.

In no small part, that shift owes itself to a president who not only recognized an opportunity to reclaim a critical piece of cultural terrain from the left, but who was bold enough to take it.



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1 posted on 11/05/2001 8:19:51 PM PST by Mr. Mulliner
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To: Chairman_December_19th_Society; Miss Marple; illstillbe; Brian Allen; MadIvan; kachina...
Interesting article on the Pledge of Allegiance. While I can understand some literalists who question saying the pledge because they (mistakenly) see it as a pledge of allegiance to something that takes the place of God, I will continue to say the pledge and teach my children to do so. Besides, isn't it nice to do something that you know drives liberals crazy?
2 posted on 11/05/2001 8:24:54 PM PST by Mr. Mulliner
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To: Jemian; lysander13135; kassie; calypgin; tillacum; M Kehoe
This one's for you too.
3 posted on 11/05/2001 8:33:03 PM PST by Mr. Mulliner
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To: Singapore_Yank
I remember starting every school day with the Pledge of Allegiance. It really surprised me to learn a few years ago that this was no longer done in our schools. We even had a flag raising ceremony every morning. It is so sad that generations have been raised now that don't even know the words.

Everytime I hear it it brings tears to my eyes. So many fought and died for this flag, and this nation. We honor them and freedom when we recite this simple pledge .

For far too long there have been those who seek to divide us, this pledge says we are ONE NATION, not a bunch of diverse people that they have tried to make us.
Perhaps reciting this again will instill in the children of this nation the patriotism that we who are older have always felt which has been supressed for far too long.

4 posted on 11/05/2001 8:33:47 PM PST by ladyinred
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To: ladyinred
My friend has a 3 1/2 year old. He just blurted out the pledge one day. Said he had learned it at pre-school!
5 posted on 11/05/2001 8:37:08 PM PST by pnz1
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To: Singapore_Yank
Jesus said "Render onto Caesar that which is Caesar's"

This country deserves the same national loyalty and allegiance that any country would.

6 posted on 11/05/2001 8:38:44 PM PST by copycat
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To: copycat
For those who question whether Christians should exhibit such pledges of loyalty to America, I highly recommend this article from The Chalcedon Foundation:

Christian Patriotism?

7 posted on 11/05/2001 8:43:57 PM PST by Mr. Mulliner
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To: Singapore_Yank
Thanks for posting this excellent article. The American people are starting to learn that we can ignore the ACLU's threats.
8 posted on 11/05/2001 8:49:42 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: marylina
You'll love this one!
9 posted on 11/05/2001 8:53:14 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: Singapore_Yank
....because they (mistakenly) see it as a pledge of allegiance to something that takes the place of God,....

I believe the objection is the mere mention of God, not that they think it is a substitute for God. They want no mention of God, period.

Isn't it amazing what strong leadership can do. The sheople no longer seek refuge from condemnation but instead have come forth to face the dragon of liberalism. Thank you, President Bush!!

10 posted on 11/05/2001 9:02:19 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
"Isn't it amazing what strong leadership can do. The sheople no longer seek refuge from condemnation but instead have come forth to face the dragon of liberalism. Thank you, President Bush!!"

Here's your daily dose of cognitive dissonance: Bush is a liberal. Have you not been paying attention?

And the question isn't really about saying a religious pledge; it's about whether or not government schools can force and/or intimidate kids into reciting a religious pledge. Do you like government schools? Bush does. He and his fellow liberal Ted Kennedy not too long ago increased the unconstitutional authority and funding for government schools.

Of course, you could prove me wrong. Has the power of the federal government increased, or decreased, since Bush took office?

11 posted on 11/05/2001 9:31:39 PM PST by toenail
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
You're certainly correct in pointing out the objection of the mention of God. I was referring, though, to genuine conservative Christians who feel uncomfortable speaking out a pledge of allegiance to a symbol of a secular government and nation. I'm not one of them, but there are quite a few of them here at Free Republic and I assume that there will be some who show up on this thread sooner or later.
12 posted on 11/05/2001 9:33:34 PM PST by Mr. Mulliner
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To: toenail
And the question isn't really about saying a religious pledge; it's about whether or not government schools can force and/or intimidate kids into reciting a religious pledge.

Too bad The Pledge of Allegiance isn't a religious pledge, eh?

-The Hajman-
13 posted on 11/05/2001 9:39:48 PM PST by Hajman
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To: Singapore_Yank
And the left/dems still want to believe that our President GW Bush is a dumbie. Well youse guys just keep thinking that while he helps us take America back to some good, old, solid times when good is good and bad is bad and patriotism isn't just for sissy's and gets rid of the PC business etc, etc, etc...
14 posted on 11/05/2001 9:58:50 PM PST by blackbart1
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To: Hajman
"Too bad The Pledge of Allegiance isn't a religious pledge, eh?"

Then all those "conservatives" who yell about others wanting to "strip God out of the schools" by not saying the Pledge are rather stupid then, are they not?

If I asked you to say we're "one nation under Satan," I'm pretty sure you'd agree that it would be a religious pledge.

15 posted on 11/05/2001 10:01:41 PM PST by toenail
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To: blackbart1
"And the left/dems still want to believe that our President GW Bush is a dumbie."

I might just be horribly, horribly confused, but doesn't "left" commonly refer to those who work for increased government power? Bush is one of those.

16 posted on 11/05/2001 10:07:44 PM PST by toenail
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To: toenail
Then all those "conservatives" who yell about others wanting to "strip God out of the schools" by not saying the Pledge are rather stupid then, are they not?

Those that try to strip God out of the schools are trying to do so by any means...even if it means trying to keep even the word 'God' from entering schools (unless it's used as a cuss word, of course). This is just one brick in the wall they're trying to create. We're simply trying to keep them from making the wall any bigger.

If I asked you to say we're "one nation under Satan," I'm pretty sure you'd agree that it would be a religious pledge.

No I wouldn't. I'd just say it's a stupid comment, seeing how this nation isn't built on Satanists, and it detracts from what the Pledge stands for. It doesn't stand for Evil, it stands for Good. Now, if it was a prayer to Satan, then it would be religious. However, it's not.

-The Hajman-
17 posted on 11/05/2001 10:09:13 PM PST by Hajman
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To: Singapore_Yank
Thank you!! I've been struggling with this very issue of reconciling patriotism with my loyalties as a Christian. This article definitely helped me sort all of that out.

-penny

18 posted on 11/05/2001 10:13:07 PM PST by Penny1
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To: Hajman
"Those that try to strip God out of the schools are trying to do so by any means...even if it means trying to keep even the word 'God' from entering schools (unless it's used as a cuss word, of course). This is just one brick in the wall they're trying to create. We're simply trying to keep them from making the wall any bigger."

Alas, I'm off to other things, but here's my stock link for government school threads:

Alliance for the Separation of School and State

19 posted on 11/05/2001 10:27:35 PM PST by toenail
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To: toenail
Alliance for the Separation of School and State

You'll get no argument from me on that. Keep well!

-The Hajman-
20 posted on 11/05/2001 10:29:03 PM PST by Hajman
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