Three eighth graders who didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance were suspended yesterday. Setting aside that this won’t pass Constitutional muster (we’d hope,) the psychology is what’s bothering me.
Kim Dahl, mother of one of the punished students, is disturbingly quick to point out that her son “wasn’t being defiant against America” – as if that’s some unfathomable crime. Ms. Dahl: I submit that at this point in our history what America needs is more defiance, not less.
And from a similar frame of mind comes the school district’s community education director, Mel Olsen. Olsen said that “being a veteran and a United States of America citizen, [he] absolutely” backs the punishment. Olsen served in the Marines in the Vietnam war and I find myself wondering what it was, exactly, he thinks he was fighting for.
Standing up and ritually chanting something you don’t understand is absurd enough – but being forced to sorta wipes out any meaning there was left, no?
But I guess that’s what we’re asking of our kids today – blind, unquestioning allegiance. Our founding fathers would be so proud.