The current form of the United States “Pledge of Allegiance” was signed into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, 66 years ago, after a Joint Resolution of Congress. This pledge is used on a daily basis by school children, is used to open meetings of Congress, many governmental organizations, and some non-government organizations.
The words “one nation, under God” have caused some states to opt out of requiring it for schools: California, Hawaii, Iowa, Vermont and Wyoming. At the time in 1954, then President Dwight Eisenhower was inspired to encourage Americans to touch base with spirit and higher purpose that was different from the Marxist-Leninist countries of Russia and China. Encouraged by theologians at the time, he borrowed from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.”
The words of the pledge:
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.
As a child brought up on this pledge, and a naturalized citizen of the United States, it was especially poignant and inspirational. Especially the last line. It is this dream of the United States that has united us through world wars, through depressions and riots and regime changes. The United States has been a melting pot of the world’s peoples, coming here from all over the world in search of a better life, and at its border suddenly (or sometimes slowly) transforming us all into “Americans”. We were united for higher purposes, with an American spirit of liberty and justice for all.
At this moment in time, we are facing the reality of a hollow pledge, a nation painfully divided, and a leader encouraging divisiveness, and undermining the constitutional freedoms we have taken as self-evident for over 200 years. For some hidden purposes, he and his followers seem to be manufacturing revolution with violence and intimidation, and probably just to avoid paying off some foreign debts he owes through his businesses. It is a sorry spectacle that is contrasted with the spectacle of massive protests across the country, silent marches, and all five living ex-presidents condemning the current administration.
Perhaps it’s time for a new pledge, a pledge with meaning for today. Something that can be a patriotism exercise of a higher order.
When we did the “pledge of allegiance” we stood with right hand to heart, or in salute if in the military. It reminded us daily of our commitment as future citizens, together in upholding liberty, upholding justice. For ALL. Not just Americans. Not just some Americans. ALL. I’d like to start with that. A new pledge:
Everyone, everywhere wins making a stand for peace-building
Inspired, Respectful Energy
Seeking heart connection, inner joy, and wisdom..
It’s not nationalistic or patriotic in the old sense, No. Maybe we are now beyond the need for one nation, indivisible? Maybe we are needing some work done on our “republic” in order for it to have “justice for all”. For one thing, corporations cannot control our elections and our representatives through their monetary power. There is no liberty when people cannot afford the medications they need for life, or the healthcare that requires it, or there are no jobs left in this country for ordinary people. There is no justice with stacked courts, a stacked legal system, and stacked police forces. Sadly, the America of the shared dream seems lost.
But I will keep fighting for those things, as will many, and all those on the streets now. With a new pledge, making a stand for building a sustainable inspired respectful peace. Prayers allow us all that heart connection, inner joy, and wisdom which is ours innately, and when we make those prayers physical, it’s clear we can win this battle. We can unite again.