A socialist wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, which used to be accompanied by Nazi salutes

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/10/a-socialist-wrote-the-pledge-o.html

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maybe it came about because of the widespread onset of school photography and not being able to get a good sideshot of the kids because their arms are all blocking.

I admit it seems more likely not wanting to look nazi.


That’s not a Nazi salute. It’s a salute that was used by the Nazis.


That’s an important distinction. The salute predates Nazis by at least a few centuries.



The women are all like “Men, it really is too much to stand”.


Wasn’t this guy a flag salesman?




When we make contact with that benign civilisation of well-organised anthropoid extraterrestrials we’re going to be so yikes.



I wonder what would happen to you if you decided to “sit this one out”?

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When I was younger I thought that whole pledging thing was some sort of a joke. Now it just scares the living shit out of me.

I also wanderer why everybody in The Simpsons was a fundamentalist. Church every Sunday?


In the US Midwest church every Sunday was just what people did (at least in the 1970s-1980s when I was growing up). The East and West coasts are more lax on that sort of thing. Never actually did the Pledge of Allegiance thing, but when I was in grade school (post Vietnam and pre Reagan) that sort of blatant patriotism was seen as kind of dirty, I think.

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Why couldn’t THOSE guys eventually come to dominate the religious conservative branch of American politics instead of the “Jesus wants us to buy more guns and let poor people fend for themselves” crowd?


It does seem strange to me that the Simpsons were in church every Sunday. Being a Midwesterner, church every Sunday doesn’t seem inherently weird to me, but the Simpsons don’t seem to be the types. Maybe Marge does, but Homer seems like a Chreaster or Chreaster Plus Two apathetic nominal Christian, Bart seems like an atheist, and we know Lisa is a Buddhist. Maggie is a baby, so she has no say in the matter.

Also, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every day when I was in grade school, and this was when Reagan was president. I’m not entirely convinced this was all Reagan’s doing, though.

Although I didn’t actually sit down during the Pledge and didn’t try to make any big statement, I didn’t say the words because I thought the whole thing was weird. Some of the other kids told me to go back to Russia :eyeroll:

Why was it always Russia? I hear the weather in Cuba is lovely…


When I was in high school, whenever they tried to make us sing the national anthem or school song, we all used to substitute the words from Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles in place of the official lyrics. Including the Jewish kids.

Compulsory patriotism really doesn’t have much of a chance over here. Too much of a national tradition of taking the piss and giving the finger to authority; remnants of the old Irish Convict vs English Redcoat tensions.


Because the doctrine is less exploitable.


Growing up in the States, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school, usually led by someone over the loudspeaker. In high school, I began to be creeped out by the robotic fascism of the Pledge, realized I wasn’t exactly patriotic, stopped saying it, and stopped putting my hand over my heart, and that was a big deal to my peers, who more or less thought I was crazy.

Between classes, we had three minutes to get there in a building designed for 600 students, but which had 2000, because the local government wasn’t allowed to build schools for projected student population, only for current population. At the time, this was the fastest growing county in the country for a few years straight. Teachers were posted outside of their classrooms, where they yelled, “Move it! Move it!” like Army drill instructors. We felt like cattle. It was a very patriotic, militaristic environment, where the KKK was highly respected.

This was also right around the time when a nearby county closer to the city lost accredidation and their families began moving to our area. The demographics changed from about 80% white, 20% black, to about half and half during my four years there. Right or wrong, people still refer to my hometown as a place “where the country meets the ghetto.” It definitely sums up the cultural milieu if nothing else.

The Pledge became more contentious during these years, an expression of loyalty to the way things were, and as such, for our context anyway, to whiteness, to white supremacy and the “traditional values” that it upheld, underwritten by a strange alliance between white and black southern Baptists, who shared a tense mix of values probably best described, “separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand.” Those who would go on to become queer, politically left, highly educated, and so forth, were those who more or less maintained their silence during the Pledge, and so there is some half-truth in the popular clichés of the right about their left-leaning counterparts and unpatriotic tendencies.

Today, after having left the country, my single greatest point of tension with my friends and family who stayed is the question of patriotism. From a very particular but widely held perspective, the ideological framework that congeals in the Pledge is truly sacrosanct, and to criticize or distance oneself from it is utterly incomprehensible. There is much to be observed in banal rituals of faith.


In the early 1950’s us poor little catholic school kids got our exercise by jumping up and doin’ the pledge of allegiance thing plus a few dozen prayers of assorted flavors cause our little sinful souls needed a shit ton of guidance. Doing the pledge thing was most likely a leftover of WWII or even farther back. Seems like there’s always been an effort to twist kids into the “think like we think” mold instead of turning the little minds free to appreciate stuff that felt important to them.

Once class sizes got up to more than a handful of kids the teachers probably needed to try any kind of stunt they could to try to keep the beasties from running rampant. Anything to half way organize and control the herd was probably the intent

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Didn’t we just cover this 3 or 4 weeks ago?

ETA yep:


Around in the Finnish countryside in the late 80 early 90s only people who went to church more then 3 times a year were part of some weird sects. In school it we were forced into church 4 times a year.

PS. weird sect in Finland means anything other then Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.