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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pledge of Allegiance at Emery Schools: Un-American

Children Coerced to Take Loyalty Oath

Want to hear something un-American?
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands."

Who would seriously make this pledge?  It's a loyalty oath and it's un-American (ironically).
Let's tell it like it is: it's an unconditional pledge of allegiance regardless of any action or policy on the part of the country.  It's anti-democratic at its heart.  It's "my country, right or wrong" and it's being foisted upon our children at Emery schools.

The same school district, Emery Unified, that claims to put a high value on teaching children critical thinking skills over rote memory skills or even propaganda, is the same district that is leading this pledge by coercion every morning (in some classes).  In case any children fail to get the message they must be loyal to America and take a loyalty oath at school, it's also repeated at School Board meetings.  They see it at City Council meetings.
The oath tells students to dispense with critical thinking and have faith in America.  Everything their teachers taught them about how to think critically is not really something they need to do.  It suggests if students see something not right with the country, they are to turn their eyes away and just be loyal instead.  Most children are probably able to simply mouth the words every morning without attaching any meaning to it.  But why are we asking our school children to do that?
Even at their World War ll concentration camps,
Japanese American children were coerced
into taking the loyalty oath.

California public schools are required to teach a few minutes of "patriotism" everyday.  That law was likely concocted years ago to push school children to recite the loyalty oath every day without directly forcing it.  But the recitation of this oath isn't patriotic.  It's actually un-patriotic because it tears down the democratic structures that buoy the country up and make it viable; able to work for the average person.
Better, Emeryville schools could satisfy Sacramento's patriotism requirement by teaching a different Article of the Constitution every day or something equally valuable.  Students should know about this loyalty oath, the history of it, perhaps they could critically explore the corrosive nature of it, they just shouldn't be coerced to actually take the oath themselves.  If parents or guardians find value in forcing their children to take the oath, they can do that outside of school.

Publicly administered loyalty oaths are off the table in a free country....or should be.  America is fine without its citizens relinquishing their own agency by taking such oaths. It's strong enough as it is without having to coerce children (or even adults) to suspend their ability to think critically and promise to be loyal without condition.  Never mind all the clap-trap about "under God" added in the 1950's, the first sentence of this oath is bad enough; it fulfills any definition of a loyalty oath.

The power elite should always be scared that the people will not be loyal to a system that does not benefit them.  The power elite, the plutocrats in the country, those who benefit from the status quo, have interest in average people taking this loyalty oath to heart.  It asks average people, those who make the status quo possible, to no longer be agents for their own interests.
People should only have allegiance to their country insofar as their country has allegiance to them and their interests. If the country is working for the average American, then they should support it.  If it stops working for the average American, they should stop supporting it.  Rather, they should confront it and force change.  Change is not loyalty.

People should never give their allegiance away so cheaply.  And we should not ask our school children to do it.


  1. I agreed, even as a kid in the 70s and 80s – I mouthed the words to keep up appearances, but never vocalized the pledge.

  2. Truly essential of our young and very young people to be taught to have the "courage of THEIR convictions", not propaganda enforced on them by others.

  3. For this new year, I'd like to hear a pledge from out elected officials at the school board and city council to enroll and keep their children enrolled in the Emeryville school system. If the system they have created isn't good enough for them, they should leave.

  4. You are correct and it is even worse than you state: The Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (that is one of the discoveries by the historian Dr. Rex Curry). The pledge continues to be the source of that behavior, even though the gesture has changed. You state: "Even at their World War ll concentration camps, Japanese American children were coerced into taking the loyalty oath." There is a much more amazing photo that Dr. Curry displays that shows that even at their World War ll concentration camps, some Japanese American children were coerced into taking the loyalty oath using America's early Nazi salute.

  5. I led the pigeons to the flag of the united snakes of a merry cow,
    and to the Republicans, for which they scam,
    one nacho underpants,
    With licorice and jugs of wine, for owls.

  6. I nominate Anonymous Jan.8 as Emeryville's next poet laureate.