New Rise in Patriotism can be Attributed to a Great Awakening of the Public
The American flag is an essential part of the American identity. Old Glory signifies perhaps the greatest accomplishment in world history, the establishment of a free society based on individual freedoms, the chance to rise to the top based on personal ambition without hindrance or opposition from those who vie to control society, it’s population for it’s own desire, will, and personal gain.
Certainly the American flag which represents freedom to the American individual also has it’s detractors. To those who view the United States as the great Satan, our flag represents a capitalist and empirical society whose ideals, which contradict theirs, are bent on taking what we want by forceful means if necessary to further our own ambitions in the quest of national interests, while leaving the less fortunate to pick up the pieces after we ravaged their resources. So is that why there is such disdain for the ‘stars and stripes’ within our own sovereign borders?
Patriotism in the United States is on the rise today, of which has not been witnessed since WWII. The nation then gathered together, made personal sacrifices to aid in the defeat of tyrannical regimes that meant to crush personal freedoms. The American flag flew proudly on nearly every American home, a personal pledge to America, it’s ideals to which our great nation was founded upon. Once that war had been won, a giddy nation settled in it’s providence, weary of war to rebuild the economy. But just a few short years later the US was embroiled in another armed conflict and the nation that once stood together, stood apart as a new generation who never had to make personal sacrifices, never went without, challenged the US involvement in Viet Nam. It was then that the American flag became a symbol of atrocity rather than liberty, something to be stomped on, burned in defiance of the American way.
This new generation succeeded in essentially regulating patriotism, in a sense making the American flag politically incorrect.
But the times they are a changing.
This new rise in patriotism can be attributed to a great awakening of a public, with eyes wide open, witnessing a government gone wrong whose agenda by all appearances has no intention in protecting your personal freedoms, but rather an intent to remove them piece by piece. Those behind this agenda are the very people who hate what the American flag represents, the ones who in their youth despised the United States and are now “grownups,” elected leaders who through their “infinite intellectual wisdom,” are in charge of your destiny. I find this ironic in a sense, but can see the intelligence behind it, and obviously others as well can too, otherwise we’d all be sleepwalking to this day.
I always feel a great sense of pride when I read or hear a story of great patriotism. It gives me hope that this nation can become what it once was, a unified nation that imbibes the American way and be proud of our history and our future. On the other hand I become distressed and angered when Old Glory is degraded or deemed offensive to others who are my fellow citizens.
These American flag stories are becoming more prominent in the national news than ever before and citizens are rallying behind the flag of our nation and rightly so, as unification in patriotism is essential in keeping the nation strong.
When you read or hear stories of of the American flag getting the bum’s rush or the pledge being nullified in schools it inspires anger in most Americans.
Recently the story of a Massachusetts elementary school’s teacher telling their patriotic art student’s rendering of Old Glory would best serve his pride in the privacy of his own home ignited a maelstrom of protest from America’s flag wavers who indicted the school on violation of the civil rights of the student. The schools argument followed the politically correct mantra, it was offensive to others. We relayed this story on our website and Facebook page which drew some mixed reactions and opinions. These reactions and opinions inspired me to write this article, as I like to view myself as Solomonistic in my views of hot button issues. The comments ranged from the separation of church and state, to being a communist if you weren’t allowed to recite the pledge before class. One person’s comment stood out to me the most:
“So, what would you say to the Jehovah’s witness then? I mean, myself, I am for separation of church/state but I thought conservatives felt Christianity was under siege already.”
Jehovah’s witness? What the hell do the Jehovah’s witnesses have to do with the American flag? I said to myself. At first I thought the comment was a slam on conservatives, a sort of “practice what you preach” point, so I was willing and able to bring the sword of conservatism crashing down on what I thought was purely liberal speak, I was poised to deliver a verbal lashing. However that one person’s comment led me to explore the argument a little further and what I learned astounded me.
In the late 1930’s the religious holy war between the Catholic majority and Jehovah’s witnesses’ in Pennsylvania was in full swing, and the Minersville School District was in the center of this epic battle.
The controversy surrounded the forcing of salute to the flag of America, and the pledge of allegiance toward a religious group who viewed this action as idol worshiping in nature which therefore contradicted their beliefs and faith. Essentially a violation of the first amendment, an attack on an individuals constitutional rights. Sounds similar to Obama Care in a way doesn’t it?
This issue went all the way to the SCOTUS who ruled in favor of forcing students to make the pledge, as the fervor of patriotism swept the country during the birth pangs of WWII. Myself being a fervent constitutionalist if alive during this era would have hopefully sided with the underdog on this issue, namely the Jehovah witnesses. While not agreeing with their religion, as a conservative I don’t believe anyone should be subject to force that impedes on one’s individual freedoms. Years later SCOTUS reversed it’s decision on compelling students to salute the flag, and recite the pledge. Justice Harlan F. Stone, a republican and the only one to disagree with the first SCOTUS decision, and who later became chief justice had this to say:
“The guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them…The very essence of the liberty which they guarantee is the freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say.”
Basically freedom from indoctrination, which today is increasingly prevalent in our current education system.
What I found most interesting in researching the history of the flag and the pledge of allegiance, was that there never was a pledge until that late 1800’s.
Nearly a 100 years later after the creation of the United States, the pledge found it’s way into Americana. The founding fathers never authored a pledge, it was authored by a socialist, a Baptist christian socialist named Francis Bellamy in 1892. When I hear christian and socialist in combination, oxymoron comes to mind as both principles couldn’t be further apart.
Bellamy was a leftist who believed life would be far better if we were all equal in every sense of the word, an early progressive who believed in shared wealth, namely redistribution.
The first version was published in the children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion in September 1892, by October the same year it was being recited in schools across the nation.
Bellamy “viewed his Pledge as an ‘inoculation’ that would protect immigrants and native-born but insufficiently patriotic Americans from the ‘virus’ of radicalism and subversion,” according to a Reason Magazine author.
The original version never contained the phrase “Under God”. That version didn’t materialize until the 1950’s at the height of the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union. This was done perhaps to highlight the disparity of each nations ideals. Moreover there is speculation that it was ripped from that last sentence of Lincoln’s historic Gettysburg address.
One of the most amazing aspects of the original pledge was in which it was done. Today we know the pledge being recited with right hand over heart. When the pledge was first instituted in schools, the salute was much different. Dubbed the ‘Bellamy Salute’ the inventor of the salute, James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth’s Companion designed the salute to begin with snapping the heels together at rigid attention. An excerpt from the magazine describes it as follows:
At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side. – From The Youth’s Companion, 65 (1892): 446–447
Sound familiar? It should. Fascist regimes quickly adopted the salute. As Hitler rose to power and images of the salute in Germany and Italy permeated news reels across the US, it became increasingly clear the Bellamy Salute needed to be trashed to distance our nation from Nazism. The Bellamy salute did indeed create confusion as you could not tell the American patriot from the Nazi supporter. FDR instituted the hand over heart method during recital and the national anthem. Congress officially amended it into the US flag code in December of 1942.
So this is really a cliff-notes version of the pledge of allegiance and the American flag and how it fits in today’s society. By no means do I mean to suggest that reciting the pledge makes you a socialist commie pinko, or refusing to recite the pledge makes you the same. I find it interesting that the left actually created the pledge and they are the ones to do the most complaining about it, that in itself is true irony.
You have to ask yourself, if the pledge is so important to signify your patriotism, then why didn’t the founding fathers create it themselves?