The Pledge Of Allegiance Is Bullshit

The Pledge Of Allegiance Is Bullshit

Is there a reason why children are required to say the Pledge of Allegiance before school starts?

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My first memory of saying the Pledge of Allegiance in a classroom setting is on the third anniversary of 9/11. I remember my teachers telling us it was important that we memorize this pledge, as it was written to honor our country, our soldiers, and the people who have died to protect us. As a kindergartener, this seemed simple enough.

We only recited it on important days, like 9/11 and Flag Day. It wasn't until middle school that I can recall being required to say the Pledge every morning before class was allowed to start.

When I realized that we had to say the pledge every day, I was confused. I understood that it was important to respect soldiers, who were willingly laying down their lives to keep us safe (at least, that's what my teachers were telling me). However, I did not understand how taking 30 seconds away from class to recite something in monotone voice benefited the soldiers at all.

So, why do we do it?

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist minister named Francis Bellamy in 1892. Originally, it read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"

He had hoped it would be recited by anyone, in any country, to pay respects to their flag and their Republic. It was published in The Youth's Companion, a children's magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts. Alongside the pledge was set of instructions on how to stand and what gestures to make when reciting it.

Before the Flag Code was created, children were required to give the flag a military salute, and, as they said "to my Flag," were supposed to extend their right hand "gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side."

Yes, like the Nazi salute. In fact, some scholars believe this is where Hitler got the idea for the salute. After WWII, Congress changed the Flag Code so we stand with our hand over our hearts while reciting the pledge.

In 1923, the pledge was tweaked from its original state, so it read:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"

The addition of "the United State of America" created a more unified Pledge of Allegiance. At this time, many families from Europe and Asia were coming to the United States, hoping to build a better life for themselves.

This made many people nervous because they were unsure if these new, foreign people were loyal to the United States or if they would abandon the country if a war started. What better way to make sure their young, impressionable children grew to love America than to drill a pledge of allegiance to the country into their head from the moment they started their education?

Soon, children in almost every grade, at almost every school, were reciting the pledge, making the nation seem more put together, more unified, and most importantly, more loyal to their country.

Hitler loved this idea. He saw what the United States was doing, how they were making their young children stand, face the flag, salute it, and chant some lines about how they pledged their lives to their country.

When he began the Hitler Youth programs, he implemented the same brainwashing tactics. He had them recite their own Pledge of Allegiance at school, during sporting events, and at political events. (Youth)

When the Hitler Youth did not want to recite the pledge of allegiance, they were punished by their superiors, forced to run laps or do extra chores or sit in isolation.

Hitler understood how important it was to drill into impressionable children that they must be loyal to the flag, they must be loyal to the country, they must be loyal to him. If they weren't, they would not be willing to fight and die for the cause.

On February 17th, a 6th grader was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for refusing to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

He stated that the pledge, the national anthem, and the flag were racist symbols and that he did not want to stand for something to be believed to be wrong. The teacher, who was substituting, asked the 11-year-old why he didn't "go live somewhere else" if America was so bad.

In 2017, a senior at Windfern High School in Houston, Texas was expelled for refusing to say the pledge.

These are not the only cases of students being punished by teachers or law enforcement for refusing to say the pledge, and they will not be the last.

The Constitution clearly states, under the First Amendment, that any U.S. citizen has the right to freedom of speech - or freedom not to speak at all. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to force anyone to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

So, why are students still getting in trouble for sitting down for what they believe in? Why do teachers and law enforcement feel the need to punish kids for not wanting to say a 30-second pledge? Why do schools still feel the need to open with the Pledge of Allegiance every morning?

For the same reason Hitler enforced these rules; we're being brainwashed.

Military recruitment is at an all-time low. Our country is becoming more and more divided every day, and the generational gap regarding human rights is becoming more apparent. We are programmed to believe that there is true "liberty and justice for all," but time and time again, our law enforcement and court systems have proven this statement wrong.

Many people are starting to believe that the only way to be a "real American" is by supporting the President in whatever he says or pushing for the right to own deadly weapons or by being a straight white man. These are not things that make us Americans.

So, what does make us "American"? Is it being born on this soil? Having generations of family who have lived here? Respecting our troops, honoring our flag?

When you look at our history, you'll see mass genocide led by the white man. You'll see fighting to reduce taxes on tea. You'll see millions of slaves and only a handful of slave owners. You'll see that racism being implemented into politics that are still in effect today. You'll see prohibition and organized crime and inventions that allowed us to fly or to speak to our loved ones million of miles away.

You'll see a Great Depression and a great war that brought us out of it. You'll see a march on the capital and a brick thrown by a black, transgender sex worker breaking through a glass window. You'll see a moon landing and organized sit-ins and violence. You'll see people fighting back. You'll see minorities saying "enough is enough."

Isn't that what makes us American? Isn't that what makes us human? Seeing something wicked and saying "this needs to end"? Why are we so afraid of change when our country's history is full of it?

Refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance won't bring back the black men who were killed without reason. It won't change who our president is. It won't stop gun violence or make people change their mind about the wall. But, it will start a conversation. It will let people know you think the system we have been forced to comply to is wrong. It might just make people think.

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say

Y'all.
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For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Be White Feminists

I am white. I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist."

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Preamble 1: I'm not sure if you're aware, but it's a humid, grey April afternoon and being a woman comes with extra challenges, to which I definitely did not agree but they were probably in some fine print that I skimmed. Bummer. Anyway, feminism! Feminism's place in 2019 is contested but I am coming from a place of having heard many of the sides, given that, it would be lovely if you would hear my side.

Preamble 2: Before I get into this topic, I want to acknowledge the place of privilege from which I come. Look at my fully Irish name, I am white. Believing in social, economic, and political gender equality, I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist." As a student at Texas A&M;, a university that sometimes strays into homogeneity in both thought and demographic, I've been noticing a pattern in many conversations concerning gender equality. The pattern is that of white feminism.

White feminism is a Western-styled picking and choosing of feminism that entails a set of beliefs tolerating the ignorance of issues that mostly impact women of color.

Contrast this philosophy with intersectional feminism, which recognizes multiple identities and experiences within us, while promoting more united gender equality. Without intersectionality, our essence cannot stand against oppression and stand for equality without acknowledgment of the nuances of different historical struggles. As women, we face difficulties, but not all women face the same oppression and marginalizations – and that cannot be overlooked in narratives.

As far as gendered-based violence goes, the Justice Department estimates that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will experience rape in the US. However, here's where the necessary nuances come in.

Women and men of color are more likely to experience this form of violence than white women or men. Women and men who are LGBTQ+ are more likely to experience this form of violence than straight women or men. Lower-income women and men are more likely to experience this form of violence than women or men in the highest income brackets.

So, yes, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men are rape victims. But quoting that statistic without disambiguating the data can mislead readers or listeners of the ways that different identities amalgamate into this final number. Essentially, disproportional oppressions exist. All women are at risk for gendered violence, specifically rape, in America, but some are more at risk.

If you need more of an explanation, think of the following analogy. White feminism is to intersectional feminism what #AllLivesMatter is to #BlackLivesMatter. Everyday Feminism contends, "the former's attempt at inclusiveness can actually erase the latter's acknowledgment of a unique issue that disproportionately affects a specific group of people."

If you ever find yourself guilty of white feminism, (I've been there!) know that we are all evolving. As long as you are open to education, we are all on the same side.

Here are three vital steps you can take to make your feminism intersectional!

1. Reflect on yourself. 

Reflect on your long-held beliefs based on your perspective alone could not apply to someone else. Reflect on your privileged experiences and acknowledge them for what they are.

2. Think about others. 

Once you've figured your internal state out from step one, you ought to look at the experiences of others with the same level of validity as your own. Ethically, feminism focuses on equality. Yes, that means stopping sexism, but it also expands to mean stopping complicated systemic oppressions that affect more than just white women. That said, white feminists are not the enemy in the fight for equality, rather, they are underinformed.

3. Don’t be afraid to grow. 

Say you were wrong. There's less shame in it than you think. In fact, I genuinely wish our culture was more forgiving of people who made an honest mistake in their past, but their hearts were/are in the right place.

Allow yourself to move onwards and upwards. We are all works in progress. We are all striving for better versions of ourselves. Intention is everything and your intention should be to always learn.

Intersectional feminism is challenging, like all educations. If you're doing it right, it should force you to think and even make you feel a little bit uncomfortable.

After all, while feminism is here to help, it is not here for your (or my) comfort.

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