The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a vow taken by American students each morning before the start of the school day. It is said as a promise, not towards achieving your own education or goals , but to the United States of America. It was created for the citizens of the country, but nowadays only students are encouraged to read it.
Unfortunately due to the current state of the country, it is due for a much needed update. With the endless news streams of racial, religious, LGBTQ2+, and other injustices that have occurred day after day, the pledge no longer represents proper meaning to the American citizens.
It currently goes as follows:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
There are multiple inconsistencies with the pledge if you think about it in today’s day and age.
I can tell the pledge is unfair and frankly, does not tell the whole truth about American life.
The first inconsistency, in my opinion, would be “pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” This completely undermines what it means to be free in America, where you are allowed to have your own opinion and speech. We uphold the idea that we can have free speech and press, freedom to choose our own religion, and freedom to gather. If we are pledging allegiance (our loyalty) to a country that has several times tried to undermine our freedoms, we are no longer a part of a free country but one that is trying to be a dictator. Examples would include the laws being implemented to stop people from voting, student activists being silenced during their speeches, and various religions and cultural groups being unprotected from constant slander and hate attacks.
This first section is also unfair to the many immigrants who have come to America for a new life. In an ironic way of stating that America is an accepting yet demanding country, this line forces them to claim America as their new roots. They are pledging their lives (in the similar way a military official would to their own country) to America even though their cultural roots come from a different country.
Another term that I think should be revised is the idea of “one nation.” A nation symbolizes a country that is in unity, but America prides itself in its different diversity groups and ideas. I think the idea of one nation makes the country seem as if we are truly more together than we really are. Right now, the country is viciously divided and this term forces us to think that we are one happy family. We are divided in race, religion, sexuality, and so much more (especially considering the rising issue of having vaccinations implemented in our lives). We should respect that, and incorporate it in our lives in order to find true unity.
The term “under God” is another unfair term, especially due to the idea of freedom of religion. Not everyone believes in God, and this is a very complex conversation for a lot of people to have. This does not just apply to those who are atheists but also to those who believe in other deities. Although America used to be a very Protestant country, we have evolved to incorporate more religions and faiths into our community, which makes it such a diversified layer.
The phrase “indivisible with liberty and justice for all” has complications as well. Although this term may have been promised in the past, it is not a good term because of the issues that have appeared, especially justice-based issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Native Americans reclaiming their country. Justice means “just behavior or treatment”. A lot of minorities, not just Black people and indigenous people, experience injustices each and every day due to the color of their skin and the situation they grew up in. America is no longer a country that promises justice for all, but one that omits that right from certain people. Liberty means “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views”. Unfortunately, America has been refraining from giving people their liberties as of late. A lot of people, not just minorities, have been forced to have restrictions imposed on them within the law due to personal beliefs. An example would be the abortion law in Texas that strives to prevent people from getting an abortion, which restricts people with uteruses’ way of living due the government’s political beliefs.
Now, I don’t know what it should be changed to, but I know that the current phrasing of it should be changed. As an American citizen and from experience, I can tell that the pledge is unfair, and frankly, does not tell the whole truth about American life. I hope that it can be changed in the future into something that is more exemplary of the melting pot that America is.