I was MC at a symposium on the Viet Nam war history today, but after we opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, I told the audience the following story. One of them asked me later if I would send her a copy of it, because she wanted to send it to others to think about. I don't know how many others might like to see or use it, but here it is, just in case. --Del
I do guest lectures at high schools, and last Spring I was in a classroom when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited over the PA system. The teacher and students stood to say it, as did I. But one student in the front row remained sitting and did not take part, and I looked right at her for a moment. Later on she came up to me to explain that she meant no disrespect to me, so I said thanks for that, but why did she not take part? She said because she cannot be a hypocrite. I asked how is it hypocrtical to say the Pledge? She replied that we do not in fact have "liberty and justice for all", so it's a false and
hypocritical thing to say. I thought for a second and then said "Of course you are correct, we did not have perfect liberty and justice for all in 1776, or anytime since, and not today, and not any day in the near future. But then again, what nation now, or at any time in the past, has ever had perfect liberty and
justice for all? None, not ever. We are mere human beings, such perfection is beyond us, the question for us is never about attaining perfection, it is always about achieving good. What we say in the Pledge is not some arrogant claim of our perfection, it is rather a statement of our ideals, what we believe in, what we have been committed to and working towards for all our existence. We have been making steady
progress towards that ideal over the centuries, through the work and sacrifices of so many. And we are a good nation, with all our flaws, defects, mistakes, we still have far more positive in our history than negative, more cause to have respect, affection, and even love of our country than we have for regret or shame. So we need to understand that, and as Americans be glad to stand and say the Pledge with conviction and pride."