Just a mere glimpse at the latest headline published in Salon tells us everything that is wrong with our society. According to the left-wing outlet, the country is in dire need of scrapping our "toxic" Pledge of Allegiance. Because, after all, the pledge is what's really hurting our children and preventing them from becoming critical thinkers (not society's obsession with gender neutrality, identity politics, trigger warnings, "safe spaces" and general left-wing assault on free-speech).
In its subversive attempt to disparage the Pledge of Allegiance and all it stands for, Salon writes:
The pledge of allegiance must go: A daily loyalty oath has become a toxic, nationalistic ritual
We make students salute national greatness for 13 years. No wonder Trumpian anti-intellectuallism is on the march.
Yes, Salon, reciting the pledge is what's brought to bear "anti-intellectualism." Ironic then that it's the very people who seek to ban everything who are in fact the anti-intellectuals ruining our society.
The left-wing outlet cites the case of a student who was allegedly accused by a teacher of "treason" for sitting out the pledge. The unleashing of "mean-spirited" accusations against students supposedly insightful enough to "question the wisdom of a loyalty oath" is what really irritates the braintrust over at Salon. Below are additional key excerpts from the outlet's latest pseudo-intellectual screed:
I’ve spent the last year interacting with kids who have participated in the American Humanist Association’s boycott of the Pledge of Allegiance. The boycott is intended to raise awareness of the fact that the pledge, which was originally scripted by a magazine editor in 1892, did not include the words “under God” until 1954. The insertion of those two words has long irritated many Americans, particularly those who reject the notion of tying patriotism to God-belief, and the AHA’s boycott has been an effective strategy for educating many, especially young people, on the issue. The Supreme Court in 1943 ruled that constitutional free speech principles guarantee public school children the right to opt out of the pledge, but many school officials need to be reminded of that precedent. As such, the AHA’s legal center, which I direct, spends lots of time helping kids whose teachers don’t respect the nonparticipation right.
The author goes on to write that any "objective observer would quickly conclude that the exercise is downright toxic, a nationalistic ritual that too often instills a venomous attitude of chauvinism." The article continues with the indictment that the pledge is a tool of "American militarism":
Frequently the teacher will answer that question by saying that nonparticipation is disrespectful of the troops, as if any student not taking a daily loyalty oath—something no other developed country expects from its youth—is thumbing her nose at America’s military men and women. Here we see how the pledge is a tool of American militarism, with the clear message: stand each day and pledge allegiance, kids, because our fighting men and women are out there protecting your freedoms. Not surprisingly, no public school offers a daily analysis of the country’s foreign policy to offset this not-so-subtle message of nationalism and militarism.
The author prattles on, lamenting the lack of "critical thinking" at play and even asserts that the pledge essentially brainwashed an entire generation into joining the military to fight in the Iraq War:
Dealing with schools mistreating pledge dissenters is like a tour of duty in the culture wars, a visit to the trenches to see the other side at its ugliest. One discovers that critical thinking is the last thing that many teachers and administrators really want from their kids, who are expected to line up like lemmings each day for 13 years and vocally affirm the Establishment position of national greatness. With such an educational environment, is it any wonder that over half the population in 2003 wanted to rush to war in Iraq, believing Saddam Hussein was behind the Sept. 11 attacks?
This "unhealthy nationalism," according to the author, "is cultivated when an entire population is encouraged to participate in easy symbolic gestures that validate national greatness."
Yes, because we all know that America should not be great. We should instead teach children to loathe their country the way the Left does:
Anyone can stand and pledge allegiance and anyone can slap a magnet on their SUV to “support the troops,” but not anyone can learn the history that underlies today’s international situation and carefully assess policy options.
The author then has the audacity to quote George Orwell's distaste for nationalism as validation of his premise:
George Orwell, an authority on groupthink if ever there was one, wasn’t fond of nationalism. In his essay on the subject he warned against “the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.”
With this in mind, the author concludes that "seeing the dynamics of pledge recitation and dissent up close, however, and considering it in the context of a nation that seems increasingly unhinged socially and politically, the impact of a daily ritual that conditions kids to blind national loyalty is worth reconsidering":
If there are concerns about anti-intellectualism and even fascistic tendencies in American society nowadays, the practice of daily national exaltation has relevance. If you truly love America and the values “for which it stands,” there’s only one thing to do: scrap the Pledge of Allegiance.
We have an even better idea on what to scrap. And it isn't the pledge.