Palin and the Pledge

Half the fun with blogging lies in the research, the other half is in going off in a totally different direction to what you intended. Take this current example, for instance.

It started out with our friends at Conservapedia, defending a(nother) bullshit statement made by Sarah Palin. Now it would appear as if the Great White Moose answered a questionnaire put out by the Eagle Forum (that’s the home-schooling university thingy, set up by Andy Schlafly’s mum, Phyllis). One question asked, “Are you offended by the phrase ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?” to which Palin replied, “Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in defence of our Pledge of Allegiance.” (Bold in the original) Conservapedia – in an attempt to usurp St Jude as the patron saint of lost causes goes on to defend it – throwing up a very tenuous (but Schlafly approved) link between the phrase “under God” and George Washington… and thus by default *all* the Founding Fathers. Nothing new when it comes to distorting the truth for CP really.

(As a quick aside, Palin answered the question, “Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?” with, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.” One would think that little Bristol might have benefited from some sex-ed, ‘cos clearly “don’t do it, ‘cos God sez it’s bad” didn’t work. Conservapedia also takes time out from being a “trustworthy” encyclopaedia, to offer commentary: “Yet public schools still resist teaching abstinence and instead promote sexual behavior by teenagers.” Another blurring of the lines between blog and encyclopaedia appears. )

But I digress. Admittedly, I’m not a Yank myself, so it took a bit of digging to find out what was wrong with the link between the Pledge and the founding fathers. Thank goodness for Google – because there is no link between the Founding Fathers and the Pledge. None. Nada. Fokol.

For a start, the Pledge was only written and used for the first time in 1892 (and published in a book celebrating another mistake – Columbus’ 400th anniversary of discovering America – notwithstanding the fact he never saw, let alone stood on, mainland America. I still don’t get why they hang onto that mistake so much. Maybe they really don’t like Vikings.), by which time George and the rest of the Founding Fathers were fertilizing cherry trees, or something.

It was written by a Baptist preacher called Francis Bellamy, who was influenced by the socialist ideas of his cousin, the author Edward Bellamy, who wrote the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897). It’s also interesting to note that for many years the Pledge was accompanied by the “Bellamy salute”, which looked very similar to the Nazi salute (just sayin’), and was only phased out by FDR.

The original quote read:

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

No mention at all of “under God” – or the United States of America for that matter – very strange for those less-enlightened, God-fearing days. Let’s hear from the man himself on how he came by the wording:

“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution…with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…

The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?

Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity.’ No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all…”

Actually, the words “under God” were only added in 1954 during the McCarthy era – probably in an attempt to play down the socialist ideals of the Pledge during those paranoid times – and in effect, they turned the Pledge into a public prayer. Which means that if school kids are required to recite it, then prayer is allowed in American schools.

Oh a final word on this – Bellamy objected to the amendment in 1923 which replaced “my flag” with “the Flag of the United States of America” but his objections were ignored. He’d been forced to leave his church in 1891, because of his socialist sermons, and eventually stopped attending church altogether, because of the “racial bigotry” he found there.

Just another example of the historical revisionism (which is just a fancy way of saying “lying like a cheap rug”) you’ll find on Conservapedia – something firmly rooted in socialism must be linked to the Founding Fathers “because we say so” – and they have the blocking rights to back up their argument.

(Pledge history and info gleaned from here.)

About PsyGremlin

PsyGremlin is a former Conservapedia sysop (although the position was earned nefariously), stand up comedian, DJ, and is currently a self-employed financial adviser, who impersonates a responsible adult at least 5 days a week. However, highlighting and poking fun at the crazies out there remains his first love. Well besides pork crackling. And custard. And cricket.
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5 Responses to Palin and the Pledge

  1. hoboduke says:

    There us a common thread through our history, since colonists 1st needed the help of the native American nations, and then pushed them off land we wanted with treaties.
    Our country was built by religious fanatics, kicked out of England as trouble makers, to die or send back tribute. Then we accepted other fanatics, and supported French Revolution, and fomented revolution in Mexico by our trumped up cause for war with them.
    Anyway, the Puritans, the Calvinists, the Scientologists, and the Climatologists compete for attention. Sarah has her own little church group, but nobody supports her just because of it. She is smart enough to outsmart Hillary, and as a frontier figure we know she is a survivor. President Obama may know pineapples and surfin, but that’s not much good on the mainland.

    • cpmonitor says:

      I think I need some coffee before I decide if you’re agreeing, or disagreeing with me.

  2. hoboduke says:

    I agree that analyzing yesterday’s history, with today’s socially correct compass is meaningless. The people adopt and adapt yesterday’s lessons and artifacts with today’s perspective. Wearing the Pledge of Allegiance as a shield doesn’t have much strength today, because God is dead, and patriotism is provincial narrow minded thinking as well. Today it is more powerful to invoke Oprah, or Al Gore instead of historical touchstones. Invoking George Wshington or Abraham Lincoln has no connection to voters today. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance has no connection to life today, unfortunately.

  3. Scott says:

    We honor Columbus because his voyages caused the great wave of European exploration and colonization that eventually led to the founding of the United States and the other modern nations of the New World. It’s still controversial whether the Vikings ever came to North America, and if they did, it didn’t lead to anything.

    • cpmonitor says:

      Scott – you are aware, of course, that Columbus never even set foot on the American mainland, and for that matter, didn’t even ascertain that Cuba was an island. If anything, you owe more to the Conquistadors than to Columbus. Not to mention the Chinese sailing up the west coast. But I’ll let you have your mistaken history.

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