Western Courier

We still don’t live up to our Pledge

Emma Johnson, Courier Staff

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The Pledge of Allegiance is something we have all grown up saying from a young age. We were taught it in grade school, and the majority of us said it all the way till high school graduation. The Pledge of Allegiance is not only a way we recognize our country, but a sign of respect for the freedom we were given.

In one of my classes recently, we had a long discussion about The Pledge of Allegiance and the way that people view it. Although we were all raised being taught to say it each morning before school, that doesn’t exactly mean everyone believes what it stands for. Because of this, it is recently being ruled that it is not a requirement for children to have to stand for the pledge each morning. It has even gone so far as to say that schools cannot punish students for not wanting to participate.

A couple controversial verses in the pledge of allegiance are the verses, “one nation under God,” and the ending verse, “with liberty, and justice for all.” The verse about one nation under God strikes the debate involving religion.

Many argue how our constitution says we have the freedom of religion; however, in our own pledge of allegiance we are pushing the idea of God. Although I am a Christian myself so I have no problem with this, I am also aware that many other people practice other religious beliefs. For Atheists, they simply don’t believe in a God at all, so I could see where this verse would strike hard feelings for them.

In regard to the last verse, “with liberty, and justice for all,” this kind of touches on more race and equality issues. Many people with strong views on racial inequality would argue that we as a country do not actually offer liberty and justice to all of our people. This has caused a large movement, especially in the African American population, to feel that The Pledge of Allegiance is indeed not fitting to all Americans.

I was raised reciting the pledge of allegiance each morning, and I personally love the patriotic symbol that it teaches us from a young age. I, being a white American Christian, find the pledge of allegiance to be just fine. However, through my recent discussion in one of my classes, my eyes were opened up to a much different viewpoint on the pledge. I strongly recognize that our country is still facing a lot of equality issues and that there is still a lot of work to be done for our nation to get to where we truly need to be on the matter.

I was happy to finally be opened up to the viewpoints of other races and religions on the matter, but at the same point it made me very sad to realize how this passage I thought to be so innocent all along was actually affecting many others lives.

I think The Pledge of Allegiance is a wonderful symbol for our country as far as patriotism and the representation of a strong, free nation. I just hope that one day our country can grow to the equality level that it needs for everyone to view it the same.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
We still don’t live up to our Pledge