How's this for a new twist on an old dilemma? A Seattle mom is raising a kerfuffle because her daughter's school is requiring kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But Haley Sides doesn't care about the words "under God." She's also a veteran of the United States Air Force. And just wait until you get a load of her reasoning.
Sides doesn't want her daughter pledging "allegiance" to our country because that's not thinking "globally." Well, that's a first. An American citizen having a problem with loyalty to our country? A veteran at that?
Sides says it flies in the face of the "multiculturalism" approach she sought at the John Stanford International School. She also cites a loyalty to her late partner, a Jamaican-born naturalized citizen, who died when their daughter was just a toddler, to explain her stance. But that makes the matter that much more confusing. She is using the memory of a man who fought to become a citizen of our country to dishonor said country? Shame on her.
And shame on any American who is willing to take the benefits of living in this country without returning some respect. Even if you're unhappy with the government as a whole, ours is one of the few places on earth where we have the right to be unhappy ... and voice it. Our freedom of speech makes me pretty content to raise a child here and to pledge my allegiance to our flag.
I love our country, warts and all.
I confess I'm one of those Americans who still gets goosebumps at the playing of our national anthem, when an entire crowd stands in silence, hands over hearts. On the Fourth of July, just a few bars into Lee Greenwood's classic "God Bless the USA" and I'm a mess. And don't get me started on Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America." Chills, straight up my spine.
The irony, of course, is that the only trouble I have with the way we display our patriotism is how it's been intertwined with religion. These songs have been played at so many patriotic events in my life that they've become largely secularized -- at least to me. And I hardly noticed the words "under God" as a child. Now I'll cop to feeling a twinge that they don't belong in a public school. But most if not all of the "anti-pledge" folks I know would be perfectly fine with it remaining in a school building without those words (most would even be A-OK with people who are religious keeping the "under God" on their own turf).
And the fact that we're even allowed to complain about the words "under God" in our pledge in this country illustrates the very reason our kids should be pledging their oath to the United States of America. In this country, our right to dissent is protected. Even Haley Sides' right to complain about the pledge is OK; she won't end up in jail for it. Too bad she doesn't see the value in honoring that right.
Do you have a problem with your child pledging allegiance to this country?
Image via stevendepolo/Flickr