Today at work we had a conversation about clocks. One of my employees wants to put clocks above the doors to the office, and I mentioned that we had the same when I was in school. In fact, I explained, the clocks were connected to a central system so that the moment they struck three, the bell would ring. The ladies in the office, chuckling, said, "we didn't have money for such a system." They went on to say, "but we did have a picture of our president in every classroom." Of course, we had no such thing, but we did have a flag in our room that we had to pledge allegiance to every morning. At that point, I described the drill, complete with the hand over the heart.
I pledge allegiance, to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the republic
for which it stands
one nation, under god
with liberty and justice
They looked at me dumbfounded and asked, "that is in a democracy?"
"Yes," I replied.
"Wow, you guys are crazy."
"You never had to do anything like that?" I asked.
The answer came, "no, of course not."
"Do they still do that?" they asked.
"Honestly, I don't know," I answered.
It struck me as strange that in a country living under the dictatorial regime we knew as Russian communism, no cult of nationality was practiced such as the one I was forced to practice every school day for at least 12 years. While we talked about how brainwashed they all were, we engaged in a practice which now, looking back, seems to me absurd and nationalistic, by comparison they lived in relative freedom.
So I ask you, do kids still have to recite the pledge of allegiance?
If so, can you think of any other country that has a similar nationalistic practice in place?
Labels: pledge of allegiance