American Creed and The Pledge of Allegiance

How the Pledge of Allegiance is a misrepresentation of the American Creed.

By Sophia M. from Project Citizen in Connecticut

The Pledge of Allegiance represents American Creed. It expresses the fact that all of us are unified and our identities are intertwined. But if “Liberty and justice for all” is promised, why is there still so much racism and discrimination today? The Pledge of Allegiance is partially a misrepresentation of the American Identity and Creed. Many of us are so divided in this country, and it is hard to see our shared identity when so much hate still lingers in America. And not everyone is given justice, like our pledge promises. Children are being locked in cages at the border when they have done nothing except come to the United States with their parents, hoping for opportunities and a better life. And while liberty is promised as well, it is not given to many people who are still shackled by the ever-present discrimination in this country. Though the Pledge of Allegiance is a large symbol of our American Creed, it does not fully hold true to what it has promised, “Liberty and justice for all.” We need to take steps in order to change that.

By enforcing the pledge of allegiance in places such as schools, we are implanting ideas about our country into young people’s minds that we haven’t yet lived up to. Simply speaking, these concepts aren’t true. Why does the pledge state that our country is “indivisible” when we are so divided by fear, bigotry, and discrimination? And what about the innocent people who are discriminated against and unfairly accused of crimes because of their race? When they are thrown in prison, they aren’t shown liberty or justice. And by mentioning “God,” the pledge refers to a certain religion. Which raises the question, who isn’t represented? What of the people who don’t participate in a religion? And what about the separation of church and state? The Pledge of Allegiance clearly contradicts that.

The Pledge of Allegiance was first written in 1892 Francis Bellamy, and did not include “The United States of America” or “Under God.” In fact, it wasn’t written for any particular country. “The United States of America” was added in 1923. The last change to the pledge came in 1954, President Eisenhower told Congress to add “Under God” to the Pledge in order to respond to Communist threats. Originally, people used the Bellamy Salute when reciting the pledge, but this too salute closely resembled the Nazi salute. In 1942, during World War II, the practice of putting your hand over your heart was established instead of the salute. The Pledge of Allegiance has a long history in this country, but has it ever really been true to its word?

Maybe the Pledge of Allegiance is an aspiration of American Creed, not a reality. The Identity of America isn’t that it’s equal or just, like the Pledge says, but what it wants to be. Maybe instead of pointing out the faults of our community and society, we need to focus on creating an equal and non discriminatory country so that everyone feels welcome.


Sources:


The Pledge of Allegiance

Ushistory.org

http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htm


Va.gov

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/pledge.pdf

Project Citizen

Project Citizen '19

Project Citizen is a youth writing lab that is offered as part of the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University. The mission of Project Citizen is to empower young writers to engage in issues of social and political importance through a variety of genres in order to both find their voice and to become fully realized citizens in our democracy. Project Citizen brings together students from school districts and towns in Fairfield county that represent a variety of economic, racial, ethnic, and religious demographic groups in an effort to break down the "zip code apartheid" that stands in the way of true collaborative learning.

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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

Writing Our Future projects are designed by educators for educators and the young people they work with. Intended for use in schools, libraries, and other educational settings. All projects are COPPA compliant and educator-managed. NWP is committed to supporting young people’s writing and civic participation by providing a safe and supportive environment for youth writing, media creation, sharing, and publishing.