The Pledge Mess

This last week, people across the political spectrum have been ranting and raving about the Ninth Circuit Court's decision that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional.

This really shouldn't have surprised anyone; I've wondered for years how they could get away with it. And unlike a lot of my peers, according to them, I actually knew what the Pledge said and what it meant (at the first level, anyway). And I liked saying it, because I'm a patriotic little freak. (Well, I was little, anyway.)

But just a little while ago, before this broke, I was thinking about the Pledge because I'm odd like that. And I realized it's completely bass-ackwards.

I pledge allegiance to liberty and justice for all, and to a republic which stands for them, and to the flag of that republic.

I don't buy any "my country, right or wrong" crap. I like the United States of America because it is the freest country around, not because it's perfect. (I also like the culture and climate, since it's where I was born and raised and they're what I'm used to, but I also like the politics... or at least find them less distasteful than that of any other nation. Cue Churchill.) In a discussion yesterday, some people were asserting that the US is a lost cause; is it worth learning Spanish and moving to Costa Rica? I'd rather try and fix the mess we've got here...

But my point is that my allegiance is to principles: liberty, justice, and that abstract thing called "good". Any republic which stands for those principles has my allegiance, even if (especially if?) there's more than one. And sure, I'll follow the flag of any such republic as long as it actually stands for those principles.

This current brouhaha, like the flap over flag-burning, serves to weaken the symbol which certain parties claim to be trying to defend.