For decades, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited every day in every public school classroom in America. The pledge included the words “under God” and anyone whose religion precluded them from saying those words was allowed to refrain from doing so. No one was hurt by the recital. No one was forced to participate. Somehow, the simple act of reciting the pledge everyday, before beginning the mundane tasks of the school day, reinforced a feeling of patriotism and respect for our country and those who defend and serve it. I fail to see how patriotism and respect for such values could possibly be harmful to anyone or offensive to anyone within my country’s borders.
Today, children in public school do not recite the pledge, although the country’s flag is present in every classroom. Today, when the pledge is spoken, people feel the words “under God” should be removed. There is an underlying sentiment growing that claims people may be offended.
Excuse me, but this country has been built on a foundation of freedoms that cannot be denied anyone because those freedoms are not granted by people or government. Those freedoms are given to everyone born on the planet by their Creator, whether they believe in a creator or not. And such freedoms cannot be taken away from anyone by people or government, if justice based on freedom is observed.
Anyone who is born in this country, or comes here from another country, knows that one of our most basic freedoms is that of speech. The founding fathers knew that suppression of speech in any way can lead to tyranny. They also knew that some people would be offended by certain types of speech, mainly the people running for political office. They felt that it was most important that anyone could say anything about any other person and, as long as it was not an outright lie, it must be allowed by law. Some of the founders said some pretty horrific things about their opponents during campaigns. It wasn’t considered anything that needed to be restricted by law. If people were offended, then they were offended. Freedom of speech had nothing to do with not offending someone. Quite the opposite. Freedom of speech meant someone would definitely be offended, but one had the right to say it. There is no amendment that protects any right in regard to being offended or having one’s feelings hurt by what is said.
Because of this country and its adamant belief in and defense of one’s right to speak freely, many people of different ideas, creeds, religions, political views and foreign origins can and do come here to enjoy such freedom of speech. Many people born here have huge differences in their views and beliefs. However; once here, no one has the right to curtail anyone else’s speech simply because they may be offended by it or don’t agree with it.
No one is prevented from leaving this country, unless they have broken criminal laws which restrict their rights to move about. If anyone is offended by someone else’s speech, they have the right to move away where they don’t have to hear it, but they do not have the right to stop the other person from speaking.
So, where did this idea that we mustn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance in a public classroom, which is funded by taxpayers’ dollars and provided by this nation which is based on freedom of speech, come from? Who is it that determines what can and can’t be said in a public classroom? The stars and stripes are clearly visible in every governmental office and any other place that is funded by the government (the citizenry). That is a public acknowledgement of support for the nation. We are acknowledging that we agree with our nation’s basic creeds and laws by funding these institutions. We have the right to speak out against them, but we support them overall.
If we restrict the pledge, then we are restricting our freedom of speech and allowing those who may be offended by our speech to dictate to us what we are and are not allowed to say. That is totally unconstitutional at its base and tyrannical at it top. The worst part is that, by not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each and every day of the school year, our children are not learning the importance of allying themselves with the very country in which they live–the country which is providing everything they will learn that day and all the implements used to teach them what they learn. Our children are not learning that patriotism is the bedrock of what they are benefitting from. They are not seeing the adults they are most influenced by outside their homes showing respect for their country.
It’s a simple thing, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, but it has such a deep and significant meaning and can influence so much in a child’s life that it should never be overlooked. It should never be done away with in school. Anyone who would be offended by such a pledge either doesn’t understand it or doesn’t deserve the benefits they are receiving by living here. Why come here if you aren’t willing to ally yourself with this nation? Why reap the rewards if you are not willing to throw in your lot to make the rewards possible? How hypocritical can anyone be to take what they want and then complain about the praise others give to the government that has provided for them?
I love my country. There is much that has been done to harm it from within, but if anyone is offended by my praise of this country, then they don’t belong here. This country, while far from perfect, has done more to lift others out of poverty and degradation than any other in the history of mankind. There are many fine countries with great men and women, but this land of freedom, this great experiment of allowing man to govern himself in freedom, is by far the greatest of any. I would rather pledge my allegiance to this great country than any other, and I will continue to do so proudly, no matter who or how much it may offend anyone, anywhere at any time. They have the freedom to leave, but they do not have the freedom to stop my speech or anyone else’s to prevent their offense. My freedom to speak came from my God. If they can convince Him to restrict my speech, then I will obey. Until then, I will speak freely in my country. No man, only God, will restrict my speech. And I will expect anyone in a public place to be free to say the Pledge of Allegiance to this country and I will fight to my death for them to have that freedom. Moreover, I will fight to remove from office any political figure who attempts to restrict anyone’s right to say the Pledge of Allegance, including the words “under God” or any other freedom of speech.