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  1. #1

    Question The Pledge of Allegiance and the English Language in the U.S.

    I have two major questions:
    Should the Pledge of Allegiance be mandatory in schools? If so...
    Do you believe the Pledge of Allegiance should only be recited in English? Why or why not?
    Additional Question: Should English become the official language of the U.S.? (At present, we have none.)

    The articles that sparked the question (incl. quotes and links) are below.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Michigan GOP Wants Pledge of Allegiance Mandatory in Schools
    Michigan Republican State Sen. Roger Kahn has proposed a bill, SB 637, that would make the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory for public school students in Michigan and require schools to purchase a flag for every classroom.

    ...

    However, the group 'Michigan Atheists' opposes the proposed law. Michigan Atheists director Arlene Marie the told the South Bend Tribune: “The ‘under God’ is far less important to me than the entire sense that requiring the Pledge of Allegiance is just plain wrong.


    ...


    Marie explained that many of the children would be too young to understand what taking a pledge means, and some religions like Jehovah’s Witnesses forbid followers from citing pledges. “Many children in our public schools are not even citizens of this country,” Marie added. The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that forcing students to cite the pledge was unconstitutional unless parents were given the opportunity to have the final say on whether their child participates. Members of a state Senate committee added language to the Michigan legislation that would allow parents to opt out.

    Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish At California Schools Sparks Heated Debate
    For elementary schoolers in California's Lamont School District, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance everyday is a bilingual task, KGET-TV reports. For the city, which is 97 percent Hispanic, doing so has been a tradition since 2002, but not everyone has been happy about it.

    ...

    Fred Molina, principal of Alicante School, told the station that it's an important way to include all cultures.
    "I think you offer a great way for students to feel included, and it's the Pledge of Allegiance, no greater honor than to be able to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a second language," Molina told KGET-TV.

    U.S. English, Inc., self-described as:
    ...the nation's oldest, largest citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States.
    believes:
    The Pledge of Allegiance is a symbol of unity amongst our diverse nation, and English is our common language, the thread that holds us all together as Americans. U.S. English encourages all citizens to become fluent in foreign languages, but the Pledge of Allegiance is one act that we believe should be recited solely in English. Reciting the Pledge in any other language undercuts the national identity that the English language creates.
    Their mission:
    Currently, U.S.ENGLISH is working with members of the House of Representatives and Senate to help pass official English legislation in the 111th Congress.
    Last edited by iwakar; 12-21-2011 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Addtl Q
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  2. #2
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    Seeing as English has nothing to do with Americanism, I don't see what the fuss is about. The pledge, in any language, is still at the core the same.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    Seeing as English has nothing to do with Americanism, I don't see what the fuss is about.
    To some degree, that's kind of like saying the Thai language has nothing to do with being born and living in Thailand.

    It's just that the US has had a lot of immigrant flow from many countries a hundred years ago or more, so often we saw people speaking their old language if they immigrated but their children would learn English and thus be assimilated. English was still the "baseline" language. Nowadays I suppose there is concern because of the amount of illegal Hispanic immigrants in some part of the country, with their children continuing to speak espanol, and other similar pockets elsewhere. For those who feel like the country is already falling apart due to the diversity of opinion, the diversity of language also contribute to the creation of mini-groups with firmer borders within the collective; a unifying language is actually quite useful for holding a group of disparate people together.

    So yes, a common tongue DOES contribute to feelings of unity and nationalism, or at least better enables it as opposed to a bunch of 'mini-countries' all trying to share a geographical space.

    ... i personally have mixed feelings about the pledge. One could make lots of arguments on either side about it.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    The question could be similar to the one about prayer in schools, or assembly per se, I know that in my experience at school some people bought into it but more people were alienated by it and it, ironically, lit the spark of atheism and apathy or antagonism about national identity.

    There is something to be said for social rites or occasions but if its not done properly it could have the opposite of the desired effect, I think traditions are important too but the same can happen. Sometimes its the element of compulsion, real or merely perceived, which is alienating for some, sometimes, conversely, that's the very thing which attracts others and as a result also alienates another group of people who would otherwise be fine with it.

    So far as the english language goes I'm purely selfish and really hope that the hegemony of the english speaking peoples continues.

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    What's the point of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? It seems like a pointless ritual that children are more likely to mock than take seriously.

    If the US adopts an official second language, it should choose Russian. It sounds way cooler than Spanish.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    What's the point of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? It seems like a pointless ritual that children are more likely to mock than take seriously.
    I personally think it's a lingering holdover from the Cold War.

    Did you ever hear of the Christian pledge? Christian schools and churches have a pledge that is modeled exactly after the Pledge of Allegiance, and they usually have a flag that looks like a US flag, except the bulk of it is white (no stripes), and there's a blue square field in the corner, with a red cross on it where the US stars would be.

    I don't think it's coincidence. It's all kind of folded together.

    If the US adopts an official second language, it should choose Russian. It sounds way cooler than Spanish.
    ... I'll agree with that.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    If the US adopts an official second language, it should choose Russian.
    That would be so fricking awesome! I'm going to write to my congressman about this. очень хорошо!

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I personally think it's a lingering holdover from the Cold War.

    Did you ever hear of the Christian pledge? Christian schools and churches have a pledge that is modeled exactly after the Pledge of Allegiance, and they usually have a flag that looks like a US flag, except the bulk of it is white (no stripes), and there's a blue square field in the corner, with a red cross on it where the US stars would be.

    I don't think it's coincidence. It's all kind of folded together.
    Probably. The baby boom generation has been so indoctrinated, we'll be better off as a nation when their time has passed.

    I've seen those Christian flags. I wonder if those could be considered idols.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    No, it should not be mandatory, that would conflict with freedom of religion and speech and thereby violate the very principles that it is meant to glorify. I would support setting aside time for it every day and having a flag for every classroom, however.

    As for English, I think that anyone except recent immigrants reciting the pledge in another language kind of works against the 'one nation, indivisible' concept, but there shouldn't be a law to that effect just for the Pledge of Allegiance.

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    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    No. The pledge of allegiance shouldn't be mandatory, and there should be no official language (other than perhaps standardizing english for federal law). It's not the business of the federal government (or really any government) to enforce culture.
    You lose.

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