Saturday, May 17, 2014

158.5 - Footnote: freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

Footnote: freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

And there is, as there often is, a footnote to the issue of the Pledge of Allegiance:

In its decision, the Supreme Judicial Court also made a point of saying that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary, that students "are free to recite the pledge or any part of it that they see fit" or they can "choose to abstain." Which is true: The Supreme Court ruled that way all the way back in 1943.

Or, I should say, it's true legally. Socially is a different story. Seriously, how many school children feel truly free not to do what all their classmates and their teacher are doing? How truly voluntary is it?

If you question that, if you question that sense of social coercion, ask yourself this: Meetings of the Board of Selectmen in my town start with the Pledge of Allegiance. How comfortable would you, as a fully grown adult, feel about not standing for the pledge, about not participating in the pledge? How free would you feel about just sitting there silently as all those around you stood and recited it? Then try to tell me that a 3rd grader is "free" to "choose to abstain."

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