'Is America that fragile?' she quips. 'It's like a marriage that never worked out like you're scared of getting left again.'
Growing up, most of us can recall commencing each school day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. It's a ritual we could probably perform by heart even now. In some elementary schools, people followed the pledge with a somewhat off-key rendition of “My Country 'Tis of Thee.” In hindsight, the idea of a child mechanically pledging "allegiance" to their country every morning, hand on heart, gazing at the flag, seems a bit odd. Nevertheless, this tradition persists in many schools.
Recently, a middle schooler's rant about this practice was shared online by TikTok user @onetoughcookieco. Sharing her candid thoughts on this peculiar tradition, the teen openly declared her refusal to participate in the morning pledge. "To stand up every morning, and it's like, it's really creepy because everybody just knows what to do so, they all just stand. Really weird," the middle schooler explained. "I sit there, and I don't say a thing because it's really creepy that I have to pledge my allegiance to a flag."
"Is America that fragile?" she humorously quipped. "It's like a marriage that never worked out... like you're scared of getting left again." She then goes on to raise a pertinent question. She says that the tradition of the pledge of allegiance in schools feels peculiar, especially at a time when many, including young women, feel disenfranchised by the government symbolized by that very flag. America's core values are rooted in independence, freedom, and free-thinking, not mindlessly reciting others' ideas.
We stood for “the pledge of allegiance” most mornings of grade/middle school in California. Same in high school, but by then I had a teacher who said we didn’t have to stand or speak at all if we didn’t feel like it, especially the “under God” part, he told us. https://t.co/TcuZCcoh8V— Kim Renfro (@kimrrenfro) April 30, 2023
Examining the contents of the Pledge of Allegiance itself is illuminating. This includes the late addition of the phrase, "one nation, under God," and the notion of "liberty and justice for all." While this may ring true for some, particularly for upper-class cisgender heterosexual white men, it remains a point of contention for many others. An interesting tidbit: the phrase "Under God" did not feature in the original Pledge. President Dwight Eisenhower introduced those two words in 1956 during the Cold War era.
Following the video's viral reception, numerous TikTok users shared their thoughts on the matter. One astute comment pondered, "If you don't think it's weird that our kids do it, imagine us adults having to do it at the start of the workday." A thought-provoking perspective indeed. A lot of other people chimed in as well, mentioning just how unusual this tradition is.
The debate surrounding the pledge's content and its relevance in contemporary society further underscores the need for a thoughtful reconsideration of this age-old practice. As discussions like these continue, it becomes evident that the tradition warrants a closer examination in the context of evolving societal values and beliefs. All said and done, kudos to the young middle-schooler who started this conversation.