I was reading an article about how horrible McCain/Palin are...or maybe it was about how horrible Obama/Biden are? I can hardly tell these days. Anyway, the article mentioned the Pledge of Allegiance.
Now, i dont know about you guys, but I hardly ever think about the pledge. I think the last time I said it was at the Arapahoe County Dem. Convention and prior to that...high school? When i do think about the pledge...i have no real feelings about it. It was written a long time ago and you have to say it in school...that's about it.
So you can imagine how surprised I was by a couple Pledge Facts I am about to share. I have lived these 30 years completely oblivious to anything having to do with the pledge...it is much like the lies about the Horny Toad.
You dont know about the Horny Toad lies? Well let me fill you in. They arent fucking toads at all! Sigh...they are lizards, as you can see in the photo. I found this out several years ago but at the time I was so mad. How come no one told me sooner!
The Pledge stuff is just like the horned lizard stuff. Why didnt anyone tell me sooner that:
~The Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy~
Dang, 1892? I thought for sure it was written near the framing of the constitution and all that jazz.
~The original salute that accompanied the pledge was called a Bellamy Salute and looked like this
Needless to say this was changed in the 1942 Flag Code to placing your hand over your heart~
~Perhaps the most striking of all is the original wording of the Pledge, "I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The words 'my Flag' were changed to 'the Flag of the United States' in 1923. The words 'of America' were added in 1924. These changes were done, ostensibly, so that it was clear to immigrants what countries flag they were talking about.~
Then came the real shocker for me...
~The words 'under God' were added in 1954~
What what what?
Some guy at the Knights of Columbus decided that it wasnt cool that the pledge didnt "reference a deity." Yeah, cuz it was clear that not only the aforementioned framers of the constitution were into that but also the original composer of the pledge, Mr. Bellamy. You can read the entire KofC/congress saga in the wiki page linked above, but the important bit is that the phrase Under God is just over 50 years old.
That means my mother and father used to recite the pledge without that phrase. McCain, Biden, Prez. Bush, all these guys recited the pledge sans 'under god'.
I used to be ambivalent about the under god phrase. I would sometimes skip over it since I dont believe in a deity. Sometimes i just didnt care enough to skip it and would just plow through it. I wasnt an "issue kid," not nearly smart enough for that in high school. As an adult, on the few occasions i would recite it, i would just skip it, not realizing that i was using the version intended by the author. I thought, eh the pledge was really old and is says under god and while i dont like that, who am i to change it? Just ignore it because does it really matter?
But now, now i am pissed off. 1954?! In 1954 McCarthy began his Communism investigations. First of the United States Army and later, Americans at large. In 1954, Russia recognizes the sovereignty of East Germany but Soviet troops remain in the country. In 1954 trouble was brewing in Vietnam.
In the build up to the cold war there was this fear of what communisim was and could do to our country...McCarthy himself said, "The fate of the world rests with the clash between the atheism of Moscow and the Christian spirit throughout other parts of the world."
And in this atmosphere we add Under God to the Pledge, even though it is clear that it was never the intention of the author. We add it to this Pledge, that all new citizens are supposed to say, even though it is in direct conflict with the idea that America has the freedom of religion...bound to no religion. That means, the freedom from religion as well.
It bothers me that very few people know about this. How come we never get told this? How come there aren't discussions about this?
Why didn't someone tell me this sooner?!
Sometimes the only thing you can do to make yourself feel better is to sing along.