Opinion & Editorial

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Allegiance.
I do not question the overriding importance of the Pledge of Allegiance as a statement of patriotism: We Americans depend on each other for our overall security in a dangerous world. But do we also pledge allegiance to whatever a politically-empowered U.S. government chooses to do?
History demonstrated the dangers. The present situation in Washington is no comfort. John Bolton’s ouster as National Security Advisor highlights an ongoing concern. We now have the security and welfare of the nation largely in the hands of the President and his advisors, when he has some. Government decision-making, regardless of party affiliations, sometimes seems irrational, and that is not comforting.
As individuals, we cannot control government action despite our democractic rights, but it is illogical to pledge personal allegiance to any president who cannot demonstrate a consistent ability to protect citizens’ personal security and welfare, especially when motivated by personal priorities.
Fortunately, people do not presently go to prison for peacefully demonstrating conscientious objection to anything. But the reality is they could, if government deemed they should. Yes, there are all kinds of democratic and legal constraints on government decision-making, but a president has extraordinary power.
The history of the flag is fascinating. Rather than the Fathers of the Constitution, the pledge was actually written by Francis Bellamy, an ordained minister, in 1892. It was first publicized in the “Official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day” (the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America.)
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ flag code states that any future changes would have to be with “the consent of the President.”
Go figure!

Alan Jackson
Cottage Grove

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