I do not like the pledge to the flag. Mind you, I love my country, right or wrong (and frequently wrong). But it took me a very long time to figure out what I was supposed to be saying with the words pledge allegiance. I figured out the pledge part when I became a Brownie scout, but allegiance is not on the early elementary school vocabulary list. Couldn’t find it in Dick and Jane, or the Bobbsey Twins. in medieval times, one owed allegiance (service in exchange for protection) to one’s liege lord or feudal overlord. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen a feudal overlord around these parts in recent memory.
The pledge is a kind of loyalty oath, followed by a lot of exaggerated claims about how good we are as a nation. Is it indivisible? Not really. Do we have liberty and justice for all? Arguable. Goals, yes. Description of the state of the union, not.
So I would like to suggest that the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts and the Rotary clubs and yes, my own beloved League of Women Voters, consider a more appropriate way of affirming their patriotism on those public occasions when they feel moved to do so. With just a few verb changes in the last line, we could recite a ringing affirmation that commits us not just to agree about how wonderful we are but to actually try to make it happen. That alternative is the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. With my teeny tiny edits, this is how it would read:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, did ordain and do promise to support establish this Constitution for the United States of America. I am certain that the founding fathers would not object tinkering with a couple of verbs to move that affirmation from 1787 to 2019.
And while we are at it, can we replace the unsingable, militaristic Star Spangled Banner with the more lovely, inspirational, aspirational America the Beautiful? Or is that asking too much?