By Deborah Lashever
Now at our VNC meetings we begin with the Pledge of Allegiance. Interesting. It has been a while since I have had to think about standing for it. Or not. After some reflection, I find I still feel the same as I did in the sixties. This is not a poem. It is a pledge. That means in order to repeat it – with hand over heart no less – I should believe it on a very deep level. A pledge is my word. And I take that seriously. This tends to offend some people.
What do the words really mean? Have you thought about it? Are they true and applicable in our country today? Do most people believe we are one nation under God? What does the Republic actually mean? Does it still stand for something? What? Are we really indivisible? Is there truly Justice and Liberty for all? Just who and what am I pledging allegiance to really? The military industrial complex? Corporate personhood? Who are these people running the country? They do not resemble anyone who is doing the Will of the People that I can savvy and isn’t that, after all, what the Republic stands for?
Don’t mean to offend…..but…..hmmm….I should say these words that do not apply to any reality….why? I should pledge myself to untruth because….? I should drink the Kool Aid? Or at least publicly pretend to so not to offend some distant, hardly looked at sense of generalized red white and blue clad patriotism? Nope. Sorry.
Yes, I will stand while people pledge their allegiance, even though I know most have never thought about the meaning of the words. I will face the American flag out of some sort of weird respect for people who still like to lap up that artificially colored, artificially flavored beverage. But the words I do speak – loudly and with conviction – are, “with liberty and justice for all.” I do this just in case someone is actually listening. I speak this fine phrase with the full force of my conviction. For it is this phrase that for me epitomizes what this nation has indeed stood for and what made us great once upon a time and what – if anything – will save us. I speak these words to draw attention to the fact that it is not happening at all – and that it should.
It is inauthentic for me to do anything else. This country is not what we say we stand for. Again, sorry if I offend anyone but if I do not stand for truth I do not stand for anything. I pledge my allegiance to that.
By Deborah Lashever