Apr. 22, 2014 By Jack Jodell.
“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.”
Though it may be hard for some of today’s Tea Party reactionaries to accept, this pledge was actually penned by a SOCIALIST Christian Scientist minister named Francis Bellamy back in 1892, in the days of the Robber Barons and the Gilded Age, just prior to the progressive era coming into being. Rev. Bellamy strongly supported the rights of working people and the equal distribution of wealth, both of which he correctly believed were inherent in the teachings of Jesus Christ. For it is the Tea Party rctremists who nowadays strongly advocate a return to the 1890s with their opposition to the federal government having any say at all over the affairs of business.
The visionary Rev. Bellamy painted an idealized portrait of America with this pledge, yet much of his vision did not ring true until decades later, after the great egalitarian reforms of the progressive age and the New Deal had been enacted. For a time, from the mid- 1930s until perhaps the late 1970s, much of what his pledge depicts was a lot closer to reality than it is today. For back in those days, labor unions were strong and were actually creating a middle class; civil liberties were expanding rather than retracting; and neither the Supreme Court nor the federal government were as filled with bought-out, compromised corporatist stooges as they are now.
With the ascendancy of the “me generation” during the Reagan tears of the 1980s, the rise of corporate power and monied influence in politics, amd the wholesale abandonment of many New Deal economic and social safety nets, the lofty ideals expressed in the pledge of allegiance now seem to be tinged with naivety. I believe a new, revised pledge of allegiance is therefore now in order today. My belief is that today’s Pledge of Allegiance, if it is to be truly accurate in its depiction of the country today, should read something more like:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Corporate States of America, and to the military / industrial complex for which it stands, one nation, using God (claiming and boasting that He is on our side), divisible for a profit, with liberty for the wealthy, justice for those who can afford it, and economic stagnation and slavery for all the rest.”
THAT, dear readers, seems to be more akin to the state of today’s America than the original pledge was. According to the Tea Party extremists and the Libertarians, true liberty will only result when all government regulations protecting common men and women from the excesses of hugely profitable businessmen and their corporations are abolished; true justice will prevail only if wealthy Wall Street mortgage bankers are allowed to ruin the economy and keep their huge bonuses without doing any jail time at all; and the rich can get ever richer – totally unimpeded – while everybody else is forced to accept ever-declining wages.
It is also something very few of us can pay allegiance to any longer!