I find myself in total agreement. My four year old memorized the Pledge at his preschool, and the only part he doesn’t mangle is the “under God” part. I am quite proud of his accomplishment, needless to say. You say you’re an atheist, and I have no problem with that, but just as an aside, some of the most engaging conversations my sons (4, 10 and 11, all with slight mental disabilities) and I have had (and continue to have) deal with God in some way, shape or form. If nothing else, God makes a good starting point for some very deep conversations.
I enjoy your posts and try to read them as often as I can. Keep up the good work, and stay out of the fire’s way if you can. Shalom! (And no, I’m not Jewish)
Candid Camera had a great bit many years ago in which they showed a first grade class reciting the pledge together, sounding decent. But then they asked each kid to recite it individually, following that with questions as to the meaning. Of course, the results were hysterical.
I always hear it as “one nation, underground, invisible…”
Take that as you will.
Tim Noah is missing the point.
There are two pledges involved here. The text of the pledge of allegiance may be unintelligible for young children but it IS a mnemonic for them. In time, they redeem that mnemonic pledge with the understanding that goes with their intellectual growth. We did this.
The second pledge is a responsibility we must commit to. That is to make sure that the referents contained in the pledge of allegiance are actually true. That in an imperfect world we, in America, are always moving in the direction of liberty and justice for all. That way, when the young ones are of intellectual age we will be accepting their help in the battle, not fighting off their anger and cynicism.
Another Task-Leading-To-Fuller-Understanding for Mr. Noah would be to look into the quality and depth of education prevalent at the time the pledge was written. Certain attainments have eroded since that time, I think.