Growing up in Shawnee, I can remember being in first or second grade and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in class. At the time, I didn't know or care about what the Pledge meant. I'm still not sure I get it. I don't really think pledges matter, just ask PBS. They'll tell you mine are worthless.
Anyway, there are two bills going through the Oklahoma Legislature that will require the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in all schools across the state. From KFOR.com:
A pair of proposed bills that are heading to the Oklahoma Senate have some concerned about freedom of speech or freedom of religion.
Senate Bill 1143 would require the Pledge of Allegiance be recited each day in public elementary schools.
The bill says it other public schools will have the choice of whether to say the pledge or not.
Uhhh... listen, TLO is full of typos and grammatical errors, but that last sentence(?) was copied from KFOR. We expect better out of people who get paid.
Back to the story.
However, it adds that students who do not want to participate in the pledge should not be required to do so.
While that bill is geared toward elementary schools, another very similar bill has a much wider focus.
Senate Bill 1500 says the Pledge of Allegiance will be said each day in all public schools during each school day.
It also adds that students not wishing to participate will not be required to recite the pledge.
If passed, the requirements would go into effect on July 1.
So far, both bills have passed the Senate Education Committee and are now scheduled for a hearing before the full Senate.
So the bills "require" schools to conduct a Pledge of Allegiance, but doesn't require students to recite it? No peer pressure there. Also, how are we going to brainwash our children if they aren't require to blindly say words they probably don't comprehend?
Personally, I think these bills are a waste of time. You're not going to make students love America more by having them say the Pledge. For that to work, you'll need to have our students say other pledges, too. For example:
1) The Pledge of Oklahoma
If you love your country, you better love your state and revisionist Civil War history even more. Of course, we'll have to stop forcing our kids to say that whole, "indivisible" part of the Pledge of Allegiance.
2) The Pledge of Creationism
Aren't you tired of scientists using their logic and rationality to discover new technology and make the world better? What the hell are they doing? All the answers are in the Bible, and man and dinosaurs lived side by side because we were all vegetarians.
3) The Pledge of Ayn Rand
Our kids need to realize that if you're poor, it's because you're lazy. If you're middle class, it's because there is nothing special about you. If you're wealthy, it's because you are smart and better than other people. But don't worry, you can rail against the welfare state and still support corporate tax breaks and handouts... also, you can accept social security and Medicare... just like Ayn!
4) "This is my Rifle" pledge
Since guns are not allow in schools, I'd suggest students shape Pop Tarts as firearms and chant "This is my rifle, this is my gun." If that's too controversial, they could just say "From My Cold Dead Hands."
Quick comedy plug. This Thursday, the very funny Jarrod Harris will be at the City Arts Center. If you are a fan of Action Figure Therapy, he's the guy who created that! So visit OKCcomedy.com and come see some live, local comedy.