#atozchallenge: USA, USA, USA!

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One of the first things most visitors to the United States mention is that American flags are everywhere: in front of homes; in restaurants; in classrooms. The last one, in classrooms, is always disconcerting. It is a stark reminder of the weird patriotic symbolism of the United States: we are united under one flag, when we cannot be united under any other thing.

Saying the pledge daily is a compulsory activity, but not saying it is protected speech. I stopped saying the pledge in high school, for a few reasons. I was against the war in Iraq and felt that the pledge was compulsory nationalism, something that as a German made me uncomfortable. I also did not feel that America was just, or free, for everyone.

Now, as a teacher, I stand but do not say the pledge. I have had students ask me why, and I generally tell them that I didn’t feel comfortable saying it as a dual citizen. Sometimes I tell them that historically, compulsory nationalism doesn’t always end well. I obviously do not force any student to say it if they do not want to; it’s not my business to know why they aren’t saying it.

Patriotism is a choice, and the compulsory nature of the pledge denies choice. – SDM

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If you’d like to read my other posts in this year’s A to Z challenge, check them out here.

Photo by unsplash

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4 Comments

  1. I quit saying the pledge of allegiance in high school as well, more to be contrary than anything else. If I had more faith in our govt. and actually felt like we were one unified nation, I might be inclined to say the pledge.

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  2. It was a huge shock for me that there was a flag in the classroom, the anthem played and a pledge (that I did not understand at first) said. But I guess being German is definitely marking.
    I have a fun story that I’ll share one day soon about the pledge and my interpretation of it…

    Like

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