What Does It Mean to Pledge Allegiance to the Flag?
‘A Political View’ By Sherry Holliman
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Making a pledge — a binding promise — of allegiance and is a serious thing. It is a personal commitment because it binds the person to that to which they pledge. Any pledge of allegiance should be made with a full understanding of what it means, what it asks and the demands of a person.
Many people have no idea what they're saying when they recite the pledge. No one has talked to them about the significance of a “pledge” or “of allegiance” and certainly no one has talked to them about what is meant when we make this pledge of allegiance to a flag. To what are we promising to remain loyal? What does this promise demand of us? Should we all agree on what we mean when we make this pledge? After all we are reciting in unison “one nation under God,” which is intended to center people in this complicated world.
However, the very people at the meetings that get offended for witnessing an individual not salute the flag will recite this pledge and sit next to their neighbor and not extend a greeting. By changing the focus and saying that people are being disrespectful for what they believe is not any better than standing before the flag with reciting “with liberty and justice for all” and knowing the systematic processes are unfair.
Do we know about the guidelines, statements and structures that set forth a foundation of values, rights, and the relationship between the people and government that we believe in? Even as they are, in places, uncertain and open for interpretation, they remain active documents that help us stay on a path of democracy and liberty even as our world changes and evolves.
They are the blueprint for our national community, our sense of what we mean when standing for our country and when we stand together as a country. All people (even non-Americans) should have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” People have a right to live with dignity and kindness and compassion. All people deserve love, regardless of their political views, their family background, their religion or lack thereof, their ethnic and/or racial heritage.
In spite of that fact, in many meetings some of our local business owners, educators, and political party leaders are leading us down paths that divide us and encourage us to hate each other, blame each other, and see each other as fundamentally wrong, as deficient, as less worthy of based on social class rather than kind, equal, worthy, and a citizen that only wants to live a quality life.
People are struggling with indifference everyday as some Americans are being killed and beaten without justice. Communities are abandoned economically and culturally, and then decimated by mass incarceration and addiction. As millions of people struggle to make ends meet, some can barely provide affordable housing, food and healthcare for their families, and face impossible choices for their very survival.
How can everyone say they love America while there is so much indifference to shown to our fellow Americans?
Are we really “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”?
Sherry Holliman is a concerned citizen of Crittenden County and has some views on a variety of topics that she wants to share with her neighbors.