Could it be that we're forcing schoolchildren to pledge their allegiance to a divisive -- poisonous -- symbol? Could it be that honoring it, waving it, saluting it holds together an allegiance to moral superiority and unending global conflict?
Most Americans are unaware that much of our patriotic culture -- including many of the leading symbols and songs -- was created by people with decidedly progressive sympathies. Progressives understand that people can disagree with their government and still love their country and its ideals.
It's time to take control of our own lives and start thinking for ourselves. Shouldn't American citizens have the freedom to live their lives without limits as long as they're not hurting anyone else of infringing on others' rights?
My adorable almost-4-year-old cousin-twice-removed -- hope I got that right! -- is learning the Pledge of Allegiance in pre-Kindergarten. Her teacher is helping the class prepare for the year ahead, and Elise is working really hard to get the words right.
Battles over the Pledge have resulted in multiple acrimonious lawsuits and disputes, with no change to the law, only increasing resentment and hostility on both sides of the dispute. It's time to reframe the debate.
Making students stand up and say the pledge each morning is not a jingoistic act of American imperialism or a violation of a student's rights, as some would argue. It's simply a statement of patriotism.
I am an American and the descendant of slaves. One of them was the first African-American invited as a guest into the White House. His name was Frederick Douglass. I am also a descendant of a man who led the South's Confederate troops during the Civil War. His name was General Robert E. Lee.