Liberty for All   Leave a comment

“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! MY GENERATION GREW UP RECITING THIS EVERY MORNING IN SCHOOL WITH MY HAND ON MY HEART. THEY NO LONGER DO THAT FOR FEAR OF OFFENDING SOMEONE! LET’S SEE HOW MANY AMERICANS WILL RE-POST THIS AND NOT CARE ABOUT OFFENDING SOMEONE.”

I’ve been seeing this go around on Facebook, as it does from time to time. As a Baby Boomer child, I stood in a classroom every morning, placed my hand over my heart, and recited these words to the U.S. flag in the corner of the classroom. We all did it. To not do it would have caused disciplinary action, I’m sure, if any of us had been gutsy enough to refuse to do it.

But what if a person doesn’t go along with some part of this creed, whether it be the part about God (some of us don’t believe in monotheism), or the parts about this country offering liberty and justice for all, which some folks know it doesn’t? If a student were to say, “I’m not going to recite that,” and opt out of participation, there would be ridicule and bullying by other classmates and life would be hell for that student. That certainly makes a hypocrisy out of the words “liberty…for all,” doesn’t it?

The solution was to stop pressuring students to do this. It seems like the only sensible option when “liberty for all” is at stake, when it comes to upholding what those words really mean. To do anything else suggests that a student is accepted only when he or she conforms to the ideals set force by the majority, and that is the antithesis of “liberty and justice for all.”

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