Wisconsin student questioned for not standing during daily Pledge recital.

One of the defenses put forth for leaving the reference to God in the current Pledge of Allegiance is that no one is required to participate even when schools are required to lead classes in a daily recitation by state law. When it’s pointed out that kids who decide not to participate may be coerced or humiliated by others for a supposed lack of patriotism the response is to brush such concerns aside as not being likely. Yet news reports of just this sort of thing happening continue to pop up. The latest involves an eighth-grader at Silverbrook Middle School in Wisconsin named Rachel Morris who found herself being questioned first by her teacher and then the school principal when she refused to stand for the Pledge at the start of the school day.

When she refused to stand on the first day her teacher repeatedly questioned her as to why after class was over. Rachel explained that she didn’t have to provide a reason. After refusing to stand on the second day she was summoned to the Principals office.

Madison.com – Student Won’t Stand For Pledge – West Bend Eighth-grader Says She Was Questioned By The Principal And Urged To Participate

Principal Cindy Guell said she called Rachel to her office on the second day partly to discuss the pledge but also to make sure everything was going OK for her. This is Rachel’s first year in the district.

“She said it was against her religion to say the pledge. I said, That’s fine.’ I told her that basically, we stand anyway as a way to honor our nation.”

Guell said Rachel was never told she had to stand. However, Guell acknowledged that, at her instruction, a statement was read over the intercom Wednesday and Thursday before the pledge that said, “The reason we stand is to honor our country.”

The statement was intended to clarify the issue for students, not to needle Rachel, Guell said.

Said Rachel: “It was embarrassing because people kept looking at me like I didn’t honor my country.”

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which intervened at the family’s request, said the school officials’ actions amount to intimidation.

“They were putting psychological and authoritarian pressure on her to conform,” said foundation spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor.

While it’s true that the Principal never specifically said Rachel had to stand, the implication in the statement she did make and the announcement read before the pledge made it clear that she fully expected Rachel to do so regardless of whether Rachel had to or not.

“She said that even if you don’t recite the pledge, you can at least stand to show respect for your country,” Rachel said. “She said I should just stand and try it.”

Guell said Rachel may have misinterpreted concern for her well-being as an attempt to change her behavior. “I personally feel really bad that she feels this way.”

Guell may have had good intentions, but whether she realizes it or not she was applying pressure on Rachel to conform as was the teacher. What the hell is wrong with just letting her sit quietly in her seat without question if she doesn’t wish to participate? Why bother “clarifying” anything to the rest of the students unless you’re trying to draw attention to the person who isn’t conforming? Whatever reasons Rachel may have for not participating are hers to reveal or not reveal as she should choose and if she isn’t required to participate then she shouldn’t be required to explain why she chooses not to. It’s none of your damned business why she doesn’t want to participate.

185 thoughts on “Wisconsin student questioned for not standing during daily Pledge recital.

  1. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve found that when I need to go back and clarify my position, what I really need to do is re-think the validity of that position.

  2. Um,

    Guell said Rachel may have misinterpreted concern for her well-being as an attempt to change her behavior.

    This sounds like they were planning to take her into protective custody.

    As far as I’m concerned, the pledge itself should go, God and all.

  3. What scares me is that for every one who thinks for themselves and does not turn into a sheeple, how many just give in and comply out of the not-so-veiled threat of being singled out for retribution by either the school or their schoolmates?

    This principal should be sent of for a ‘reeducation’ on what she has no right to interfere with, and how to build self-esteem in her charges, instead of tearing it down.

  4. Sadly, our society has come to a point where it’s almost impossible to take anyone at their word.  The Pledge has proven itself to be completely meaningless over these decades since it’s constantly being reneged on by anyone who ever claimed to be a communist, atheist, or anything but a true blue apple pie Real American. And it’s also been rendered useless by every single politician who ends “with liberty and justice for all”, walks back into the Capitol and decides which money should be spent on whose airplane while blocks away the homeless cry.  Please forget the pledge.  Please refuse to lie anymore.  And attention adults at this school in Wisconsin: please don’t be afraid of a little girl who doesn’t agree with you.  Her decision to sit is what makes the Pledge possible. Perhaps my comments are terse;  perhaps they’re tedious.  Feedback is welcome.  This is my first visit. I did a google search on “evil” and got here.  Thanks

  5. Good for Rachael. I have been not standing for the pledge of allegiance since I was in junior high during Vietnam.  It always kinda’ creeped me out looking over the sea of blank-eyed faces mindlessly reciting something they gave little or no thought to.  Reminded me of watching old newsreels of Nazi rallys.

  6. This incident reminds me of a what happened to a friend and classmate when we were in the sixth grade.  We were having some lame school assembly to celebrate the acheivements of some of the burgeoning Einsteins in my school before which we were to stand and say the pledge of allegience and honor both our country’s flag and our state flag (Mississippi).  My friend refused to stand and honor either flag stating that she wouldn’t honor flags of a country or state that seemed immune to the plight of all people of color.  The teacher reprimanded her in front of the entire school assembly and led her out of the gym.  She ended up getting detention for this episode and I’ll never forget thinking, what in the world was wrong with her not standing and saluting the flag? What makes people so scared of people who chose not to salute the flag?

  7. Also my old aunt had to stand up for the pledge. At first you could refuse, later you had to take the consequences like not getting a job and so on. But this was over 60 years ago, in Germany.
    It’s kind of funny to look from outside to America. As a German living in Italy I feel at home in various countries in Europe, but standing up for the pledge, no. For me, I am curious to live a year or so in the USA to see how the society is running here.

  8. My feelings for this topic are the least you could do is stand out of respect for the people who are dying for you…Everyday another american gives his life so you can have the decision to stand or not…The least you could do is pay lip service…You’re all fucked in the head…Fuck yourselves

  9. What amuses me most about Aaron’s reply is that he’s basically saying the following:

    “The least you could do is lie to the rest of us so we can continue to experience the warm fuzzies that come form a false sense of conformity.”

    You want me to lie to you Aaron? OK, how’s this:

    You are an amazingly intelligent and thoughtful individual who’s stunning insight has changed my mind on this controversial issue and from now on I’ll be sure to stand up and respectfully recite the Pledge to the flag while feeling suitably guilty over my lack of consideration for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf.

    Feel better now Aaron?

  10. Les, there’s a very simple question for the True Patriots like Aaron:

    “What have *you* done for your country?”

    No, telling folks who think this country is getting fucked over to fuck off does not count. Enlisting in the Oil Protection Force is a possible winner, though.

  11. Are you all serious?  Give me a break.  Don’t you have something else to defend.  No one said she had to say the pledge.  It is custom to stand, to take hats off for the National Anthem etc.  You can’t say anything or correct anyone anymore without offending someone.  The act of standing is a way to honor those that came before us, that led the way.  If you don’t agree with the pledge that doesn’t make you unamerican, so don’t say it.  But if you fail to honor the ones that helped give you that right than maybe you are unamerican.

  12. So you’re saying that people shouldn’t be free enough in this “Land of the Free” to decide whom, how, and when they’ll honor those who came before us?

    Perhaps you can explain to me how forcing someone to honor those who came before us whether they want to or not in any way makes that person a better person or citizen? 

    Rote compulsory custom with no sincerity behind it is meaningless and a bigger insult in my mind than someone deciding not to participate. Trying to force someone to participate against their will is unAmerican.

  13. Rote compulsory custom with no sincerity behind it is meaningless

    Might want to check on that statement for consistency in your discussions on religion. 

    Might also want to check it as being true that development of group cohesion involves rote compulsory custom in some forms, and would likely be helpful in building group cohesion as part of a larger enculturation process.  Of course, that is if you buy into basic psychology that is being taught.

  14. Andrew:

    If you don’t agree with the pledge that doesn’t make you unamerican, so don’t say it.

    But if you fail to honor the ones that helped give you that right than maybe you are unamerican.

    So which is it?

  15. WHo said anything about forcing anyone to do anything?  How about teaching them and apparently many of you about honor and respect to generations gone by.  The flag dose not stand for anyone’s politics but for ideals and values that cannot be disputed by politics.  Man is faliable not a symbol.  Take out your political agendas and beliefs on the right people not a symbol that has nothing to do w/ politics.  Educate not hate.

  16. Pledging your allegiance and showing a sign of respect are apples and oranges.  I say the Pledge but I choose to.  However, if I didn’t agree with it, I would still stand to show respect for the things the flag is supposed to represent.  I don’t agree that I should take my shoes off when entering my own home, but since my wife is Japanese and it is her custom I choose to honor her traditions by doing it.  I know this is a weird analagy.

  17. Andrew, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

    Take out your political agendas and beliefs on the right people not a symbol that has nothing to do w/ politics.

    I would argue that pressuring people to say a pledge in order to instill a sense of patriotism has everything to do with politics. This has nothing to do with the flag itself. One can respect what the flag represents—as I do—without submitting to forced displays of patriotism. Which is worse? Not expressing genuine reverence to the flag or doing so only because one feels pressured to?

    Pledging your allegiance and showing a sign of respect are apples and oranges.

    I say the Pledge but I choose to.  However, if I didn’t agree with it, I would still stand to show respect for the things the flag is supposed to represent.

    Again I ask, which is it?

  18. I think he’s trying to say that those who choose not to actually recite the pledge should at least stand and show some respect for what’s being said.

    – the above is not an endorsement of any opinion of the subject, just an effort to clarify Andrew’s opinion.

  19. When I was a kid before my balls dropped and when I still had a high voice, I used to go to the Saturday afternoon movies, sometimes.
    I was a republican even then; I wouldn’t stand for ‘God Save the Queen’ let alone sing it.

    How about teaching them and apparently many of you about honor and respect to generations gone by.

    What? No picking and choosing? Just a blanket called honour and respect over the lot.
    I dunno, Andrew.
    In Oz we have a flag with the pommy flag up in the top left and it pisses me off big time cos symbolically it means we’re still Betty Battenburg’s children. Sometimes I stand for it and other times I don’t; it depends on how magnanimous I feel in the moment.

    Before the 1970s we had what was called The White Australia Policy which wasn’t quite as overt as apartheid in SA but pretty close.
    You sure wouldn’t have been marrying a Japanese lady, that’s for sure, just as you wouldn’t have 50 years ago in your own country.

    Just on the ‘taking off shoes before entering the house’. I’d be totally comfortable doing that before entering your home because of your wife’s traditions/culture; my youngest brother’s house is also shoe free but not because of culture – I haven’t asked him why but I rarely visit him either.
    The ritual annoys me; it’s like ducks on the wall and plastic flowers – it’s kitschy.
    My mate has a relation like that too – he was asked to remove his shoes. He told his wife to call him when she was ready to go. He went to the pub.

    So what was all that about?
    Freedom – after all – isn’t that what ‘they fought for’?
    If I want to stand, sing, respect or take my shoes off or not it’ll be my choice; it will not be imposed or I’ll walk … or sit if it’s more convenient.

  20. Consi writes…

    Might want to check on that statement for consistency in your discussions on religion.

    I’m not at all sure what inconsistency you’re implying here, Consi. Care to elaborate?

    Might also want to check it as being true that development of group cohesion involves rote compulsory custom in some forms, and would likely be helpful in building group cohesion as part of a larger enculturation process.  Of course, that is if you buy into basic psychology that is being taught.

    Whether it’s helpful in forming group cohesion as part of a larger enculturation process is immaterial to the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that you have the right not to participate if you do not wish to.

    Andrew asks…

    WHo said anything about forcing anyone to do anything?

    You did.

    How about teaching them and apparently many of you about honor and respect to generations gone by.

    You’re making dubious assumptions about how much respect I or anyone else may have for previous generations based on very little information.

    My point is you cannot force respect from people, it’s something that they have to be willing to give. All you do by trying to force it is at best an empty gesture and at worst promotes resentment.

    Additionally the fact that some people do not participate in such rituals isn’t necessarily an indication of lack of respect on their part. In the case of this particular news item the child in question would be violating her religious beliefs by participating. It’s somewhat ironic to me that you feel she should disrespect her religious beliefs in order to show respect to a symbol that in part stands for her right to hold whatever religious beliefs she wants.

    The flag dose not stand for anyone’s politics but for ideals and values that cannot be disputed by politics.  Man is faliable not a symbol.  Take out your political agendas and beliefs on the right people not a symbol that has nothing to do w/ politics.  Educate not hate.

    Is it just me, or did anyone else read the above and think to themselves, “What??”

    Pledging your allegiance and showing a sign of respect are apples and oranges.  I say the Pledge but I choose to.  However, if I didn’t agree with it, I would still stand to show respect for the things the flag is supposed to represent.  I don’t agree that I should take my shoes off when entering my own home, but since my wife is Japanese and it is her custom I choose to honor her traditions by doing it.  I know this is a weird analagy.

    It’s a piss-poor analogy is what it is. In both cases you’re choosing to show respect where none is required. That’s your choice just as it should be this child’s choice not to honor them if she doesn’t wish to.

    Plus, what LuckyJohn said.

  21. Actually I used more words to come to the same conclusion after I translated what he said into legible English within my bony confines; in fact I thought I was being pedantically picky so I left it alone.

    What I really, really meant to say was: No.

    One day I too would like to use the word enculturation.

  22. I don’t agree that I should take my shoes off when entering my own home, but since my wife is Japanese and it is her custom I choose to honor her traditions by doing it.  I know this is a weird analagy.

    It is indeed a weird analogy.  Taking your shoes off when entering a home (which we do in Europe as well) is simply a practical way of keeping dirt down.  A better analogy would have been if you pledged allegiance to the Rising Sun flag of Japan.

    While I’m an expatriate, I’m not an ex-patriot, and I am proud of some of what America stood for, and what many Americans still stand for.  However,  this pride can only come from experience, and cannot be instilled by rote recitation, or by standing at attention in front of a piece of colored cloth.

    Given the state of the world, we’d be better off, imho, if we rather pledged allegiance to an Earth flag, not any national flag.

  23. How do you show your respect for the flag by sitting down?  What ways do you respect it?
    I never asked anyone to recite a pledge of any kind, to anything.  I served in US mIlitary and luckily I’v been out for several years and I don’t agree with everything thing we’ve done but OUR flag doesn’t represent anyone person political beliefs. 

    If you won’t stand for the flag, my question is what do you stand for?  Is there anything?  The only argument I have heard so far is that you can’t force people to do this or do that.  That isn’t an argument.  What are the real reasons why, what statement are you trying to make?

    The girl originally said she doesn’t recite the pledge b/c it was against her religion.  No one made her recite the pledge, so what’s the problem.  Seriously, what is wrong with teaching her that we stand to honor our nation?  I love my nation despite politics and our many problems, so again the question is why would you not stand?

  24. Andrew, what you are saying is that showing respect for and honoring the U.S. in any way, shape, or form, is a command performance—as opposed to an uncoerced individual choice?

  25. Andrew – in the UK we’re not asked to show respect for a flag, I’ve never even one in schools. It doesn’t really matter if people take pride in their country or not so long as they don’t harm others. Who cares if you like your country so long as you’re nice and reasonable to the people around you?

    If you force people to show respect for a flag then you are effectively forcing their view towards the country more favourably than others, forcing is unacceptable, and the propaganda is feul for unreasonable prejudice against people who for no fault of their own were born elsewhere

    If you won’t stand for the flag, my question is what do you stand for?  Is there anything?

    You can have views on any issue, they aren’t all dependant on national pride. Ie you can be pro/anti animal rights, slavery, GM food, the construction of more houses in your area, etc. I wouldn’t say that taking a defiant stand is necessarily the most effective way of fighting for general acceptance of a particular view, because ideally behind every opinion there needs to be clear, honest and undeniable reasons. 100% undeniable concepts can give someone no option but to see things for what they are. Whether or not that’s a good thing to do I’ll leave to some other time to keep my focus here for now.

    The only argument I have heard so far is that you can’t force people to do this or do that.  That isn’t an argument.  What are the real reasons why, what statement are you trying to make?

    You can force people in the sense that it’s possible, but it is a violation of their free will and independance as a human being. No human is more valuable than another, so nobody has the right to limit somebody else through unnecessarily placing consequences on their other actions or through trying to hijack their mind. If anything makes somebody more respectable, it’s their respect for others as human beings that does this.

    No one made her recite the pledge, so what’s the problem

    The problem was that consequences were unfairly placed on her for deciding not to – she was questioned for not doing so and quite possibly life was made more difficult for her. People sometimes place consequences on a choice to alter someone’s decision, they have no right to do so because they are restricting people’s free will.

    Seriously, what is wrong with teaching her that we stand to honor our nation?

    It’s biassed and, effectively brainwashing. Brainwashing doesn’t promote deep thought, the lack of which creates difficulties in dealing with people because a lack of understainding exists. If you ask someone to unqustionably hold a view you are asking them to become brainwashed.

    It’s also her decision as to how she should view the USA, nobody elses. Not her parents, not the teachers, not the reverent, not the president.

    so again the question is why would you not stand?

    As a protest against being restricted. You sometimes have to fight to keep your independance, I wish it wasn’t necessary but it’s just making the best of the situation we’re in (where it is necessary).

  26. Why do you award points for respecting an inanimate object, Andrew? Standing for a pledge and making the flag the focal point, just to show respect, seems a lazy way to demonstrate respect for a nation.

    Nations earn respect for being equally supportive of all their citizens, not the other way around. When you have a nation that goes to war for dishonest reasons and war profiteers abound and are supported by policy-makers, that in itself is reason enough to withhold respect.

    Can you stop politicians and the executive branch from using patriotism as a method to shame innocent soldiers into killing and dying for strategic positioning, oil and other tangible spoils of war?

    Can you stop politicians from giving themselves pay raises almost every other year while constantly denying deserving citizens a minimum wage increase?

    Can you force a president and his cabinet to deal honestly with their constituents, regardless of which political party holds the majority in the House or Senate or both?

    Can you stop corporations from sending jobs overseas or from becoming so large that they wipe out smaller competitors while receiving large tax breaks and easements of zoning laws?

    If this flag you respect so highly stands for such a fair and noble nation, why are these problems I mentioned, and many others I didn’t, even existent?

  27. LOL (respecting inanimate object)

    Brock- You made a good point I didn’t think of (the integrity of the view), whereas I adressed the spreading. Seems there’s more than one component to this.

    Andrew – if you want the US to be a respectable contry, make it so. Simply worshiping a flag does no more good than simply worshiping god, it’s the actions that really count.

  28. Do you take your hat off at funerals?  Or is that ordering someone to comply to some insane custom?

  29. Care to elaborate?

    Sure.  I think when I made my point about an inconsistency in the application of your statement to some prior statements about religion that I misunderstood what you were saying was meaningless in the context above.  I initially understood you to be saying that the saying of rote material was meaningless to the individual saying it, rather than to the group receiving it. 

    In that context, that is inconsistent with statements you have made about how those who believe in religion have had rote compulsory customs drilled into their heads.  That is, what was rote cumpolsory customs did in fact come to have meaning to those for whom it did not have meaning initially. 

    Upon reflection and rereading, it seems that was not what you were saying.

    Whether it’s helpful in forming group cohesion as part of a larger enculturation process is immaterial to the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that you have the right not to participate if you do not wish to.

    This discussion has never centered on the legal aspects of forcing compulsion.  That is an open and shut discussion and there really isn’t much to discuss.  That being said, you were not addressing legal issues in the post I responded to.  I don’t know why you are raising it now.

    There are very good reasons to attempt to induce genuflection to symbols and the principles behind the symbols, whether there is sincerity in the genuflection or not.  Without wanting to step on Andrew’s toes, or fix what admittedly are weird analogies, I would humbly suggest that is the point that he is trying to make.  I’m sure you understand that, but some of the commenters seem to be getting rather obtuse about that point.

  30. Do you take your hat off at funerals?  Or is that ordering someone to comply to some insane custom?

    Do you -require- people to attend said funeral, and then send them to the principal’s office, and threaten them and ostracize them, if they -choose- not to take off their hat?

    Perhaps they couldn’t reach their hat, what with the shackles and all.

    People can wax all poetic about the sacrifices of the fallen, and the noble sentiments that the American flag symbolizes, but until America begins to once again -realize- those sentiments and ideals, its understandable why some people might be reluctant to salute the flag.  The Flag, as a symbol, has been -stolen- by interests who don’t, in my opinion, reflect American ideals. 

    Also, In a school setting, students aren’t asked to ‘rise for a moment of silent respect to honor those who have given their lives to defend the ideals of individual sovereignty and democratic government . . .’

    They’re asked to rise -for the Pledge of Allegiance-.

    The flag might represent the noble and voluntary sacrifice of American troops to -you- Andrew, but there are other people who look at that flag and see that more than a little of the blood that was spilled for it wasn’t necessarily American blood. 

    The pseudo-deification of dead soldiers is also a bit nauseating.  The Jesus surrogate ‘he died for you,’ crap gets really old.  I respect that the job that soldiers do is difficult, I respect that some of them are willing to make great sacrifices to defend an ideal.  But their sacrifice isn’t always for -us-.  Sometimes, in fact, it’s for interests that are directly opposed to my own.

    People wave that flag at me as if it was a -cross- expecting me to bow down to it.  When I refuse, they preach ‘soldier blood shed for -yooooo-”

    When that flag once again represents teachers and cops and bus drivers and miners and farmers and pickers and all the other people who truly stand for American ideals, maybe it’ll be worth standing for, again.

    But right -now-?  Right now, I look at the American flag, and I see Jesus, with an M-16 in one hand, and a COKE in the other.

    And the logo reads ‘Resistance is futile.’

  31. The pseudo-deification of dead soldiers is also a bit nauseating.

    I often respect what you write.  That said, reading political agendas into your assumptions about Andrew’s feelings regarding the fallen is flat out bullshit. 

    Moreover, and even more importantly, it doesn’t matter what the politicians believed when they sent the young men overseas.  You are imputing those beliefs unto the soldiers and then allowing that to taint their sacrifice.  What an asshole.

  32. Nowiser: The pseudo-deification of dead soldiers is also a bit nauseating.  The Jesus surrogate ‘he died for you,’ crap gets really old.  I respect that the job that soldiers do is difficult, I respect that some of them are willing to make great sacrifices to defend an ideal.  But their sacrifice isn’t always for -us-.  Sometimes, in fact, it’s for interests that are directly opposed to my own.

    People wave that flag at me as if it was a -cross- expecting me to bow down to it.  When I refuse, they preach ‘soldier blood shed for -yooooo-”

    Very, very well said.

  33. Very, very well said.

    Yeah, if you agree with the assumptions and then don’t look to closely underneath.

  34. Yeah, if you agree with the assumptions and then don’t look to closely underneath.

    Like I mentioned in the email, I think the assumptions that each of us are working from are different. It seems that you have interpreted Nowiser’s message as an attack on the soldiers. I interpreted the same message as an attack on the common practice of using the soldiers as a weapon against anyone who questions the war or refuses to stand for the pledge. Hopefully Nowiser will return to set the record straight.

  35. You are imputing those beliefs unto the soldiers and then allowing that to taint their sacrifice

      Consi, if -anyone- is ‘reading into’ something, here, it’s -you-.  Apparently, I’ve touched a nerve.  I won’t apologize for it, though, because it is inevitable that this conversation will piss -someone- off.  I’m not exactly shocked that it’s you.

      I could get angry in return, and tell you to fuck yourself, but I believe that that is -exactly- the response that is both expected and desired by the people who would like to bludgeon questioners and critics into silence with the particular symbol in question.

      So instead, I’ll merely clarify.  Not -change-, because I didn’t mis-speak myself in the slightest.  I meant exactly what I said.  But let me be -entirely- clear.

    You are imputing those beliefs unto the soldiers

      And you know this because your psychic pet bunny told you so? 

      I believe my -actual- claim is that the FLAG, as a symbol of sacrifice and nobility, has been co-opted.  The fact that someone died for a cause doesn’t automatically mean that that cause is -just-.  Nor does it mean that the cause they died for is the one that they -believed- they were fighting for.  When you have two groups of protesters lining different sides of the street—pro-war and anti-war which side is going to have more flags

      And context matters.  We’re not talking about a flag draped over a coffin, or flying at half-mast.  We’re talking about the flag at the front of an American classroom, being saluted, hand over heart, as people who are not old enough to vote yet, are required to SWEAR ALLEGIANCE to a SYMBOL, and to a GOD-BLESSED Republic.

      This is all part of the process of making it socially unquestionable to criticize the symbol itself.  It is an essentially religious impulse, where the symbol becomes invested with so much emotional power that it can then be -used- for reasons completely antithetical to its original meaning.

      Crusaders painted crosses on their armor and shields.  How perverted is that?  We require our children to pledge allegiance to a flag that has become not a symbol of America, so much, as a symbol of a very narrow set of militaristic and imperial interests.  And how perverted is that?

     

    agree with the assumptions and then don’t look to closely underneath.

      Symbols are effective only insofar as they effectively condense and contain a universal set of assumptions.  And that’s exactly what the flag is being used for these days.  So yes, I will sit while others stand.  And they can be as outraged as they want, and as angry as they want, and they can be as moved as they want to be.

      Me, I’m going to quietly think about whose interests all that anger and emotion serves.

  36. Please do not discount the fact that soldiers fight for us and loop them into a group of politicians who send them into battle for other reasons.  Gov’ts send people into battle for their own self-interest but the soldier who risks his life isn’t fighting for oil, land, natural resources etc.  He is in fact, no matter what you say fighting for you.  Sounds like a bunch of you probably spit on the Marines returning home from Vietnam and if you didn’t you are now.  It doesn’t matter who sends them into battle and for what purpose. They do fight for higher purposes.  You people that are tired of hearing that should recognize it instead.  You think they join the military for the $$ or the glory?? My brother & his family lived on welfare for his 1st 3 years in the military.  I guess he some political agenda or was fighting for oil?  His only vested interest was that of honor and duty.
    And to another point that someone brought up:  You don’t have to go to any school, if you don’t like it go to a private one.  The funeral argument about forcing someone to go is bogus.  How about the Line of Cars after a funeral on streets w/ their lights on – Do you cut in front of the line b/c you need a cheeseburger at McDonald’s or do you wait for them to pass through the intersection?

  37. Andrew, are you still going at it?

    Please do not discount the fact that soldiers fight for us and loop them into a group of politicians who send them into battle for other reasons.

    Now this I actually agree with.

    Gov’ts send people into battle for their own self-interest but the soldier who risks his life isn’t fighting for oil, land, natural resources etc.  He is in fact, no matter what you say fighting for you.

    How do you know what every soldier’s motive is? It sounds like you are boxing all soldiers into a specific category every bit as much as people who claim that all soldiers must be racist or at least jingoistic in order to actually volunteer to fight (and yes, I have heard people make that claim).

    Sounds like a bunch of you probably spit on the Marines returning home from Vietnam and if you didn’t you are now.

    Typical response. This is exactly what Nowiser was talking about, I believe.

    It doesn’t matter who sends them into battle and for what purpose.

    Yes it does. If we are going to send soldiers out to kill citizens of other nations or to be killed themselves, there had damn well better be a good reason for doing so.

    You people that are tired of hearing that should recognize it instead.

    I’m trying really hard to understand the logic behind this statement, and so far I’m coming up blank.

    How about the Line of Cars after a funeral on streets w/ their lights on – Do you cut in front of the line b/c you need a cheeseburger at McDonald’s or do you wait for them to pass through the intersection?

    Your analogies need work, Andrew.

  38. Andrew: Do you take your hat off at funerals?  Or is that ordering someone to comply to some insane custom?

    Insane custom. Supposing I were dead and I existed in some form, I would prefer people to be as OK with my death as they can be, it really wouldn’t matter to me if they abided by some custom or even went to my funeral so long as they are OK with my death and that we were OK with each other in life. If there is oblivion after death then if you don’t exist how can you care?

    Either way I certainly wouldn’t want to place expectations on my loved ones to do pointless things

    elwed: You are aware of the difference between attending a funeral and attending school?

    LOL

    Andrew: His only vested interest was that of honor and duty

    Feelings of honor and duty are limiting and need not exist. If I were sent into battle it would be more a choice of minimising numbers of deaths on both sides or how to escape. I would help people of either side escape or surrender if it would minimise the number of deaths. I would aim to miss if I had to look like I was shooting. I have no doubt that some soldiers feel like they’re fighting for the civies, but remember that as a soldier you are a tool of the government and that it’s the government who decides on wars. Also remember that rouge aspects of your own side is killing civies so is it really a good thing that your side win the battle? Which of the evils is necessarily better? You only hear one side in the news.

  39. The more of Andrew’s replies I read the more he starts to sound like the world’s first American Flag True Believer™. Only his interpretation of what the flag stands for is the right one and anyone who doesn’t follow what he considers to be proper flag customs is spitting on dead U.S. soldiers or something. He dismisses any reasonable counter-argument out of hand without a wave of his hand.

    This doesn’t surprise me that much, but what does surprise me is that Consi seems to be siding with this idiot.

  40. Nowiser – everything you said was nicely put; it must be because of my political/religious bent that I never misunderstood you, as did Consi.

    Andrew: He is in fact, no matter what you say fighting for you.

    Bullshit. He does so cos his commanders tell him to.
    You musta been one weird and unsuccessful soldier if you were allowed to think.

    Sounds like a bunch of you probably spit on the Marines returning home from Vietnam and if you didn’t you are now.

    Contrary to what you assume, I would never, under any circumstances, spit on a soldier; in fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that nor would anyone else here.
    You just aren’t getting the subtle differences some here are raising.
    Instead of going gung-ho stop and use your intellect a moment.

    They do fight for higher purposes.

    Bullshit; they don’t. They fight to stay alive and for their mates. Flag and country are way down the list.
    They are not gods so don’t attempt to hang that handle on them too.
    Soldiers are trained to follow orders; that’s all.

    His only vested interest was that of honor and duty.

    Bullshit, but if it’s so, all I can say is: Poor sucker him.
    Anyway, that’s what indoctrination classes are for; to feed you a buncha crap that you can use to justify killing another human with.

    Andrew, soldiers are powerless fodder for powerful politicians.
    When Samuel Johnson said: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, he was NOT talking soldiers; he was talking politicians.
    Politicians are the cause of ALL problems on the planet – NEVER the soldier.

    Les: This doesn’t surprise me that much, but what does surprise me is that Consi seems to be siding with this idiot.

    Ditto. Ida thought he’d pick a much better class of idiot to follow.

    Andrew, it seems you’re reading comments against soldiers when they were against concepts and or politicians … except for mine of course but I follow my own rules.

  41. LJ writes…

    Contrary to what you assume, I would never, under any circumstances, spit on a soldier; in fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that nor would anyone else here.

    Andrew is again making assumptions without any real basis. He’s quite ignorant of the fact, for example, that this prior Tuesday I personally thanked a World War II Vet I met while at work for doing what needed to be done during that war. He appreciated the sentiment.

  42. Les: what does surprise me is that Consi seems to be siding with this idiot.

    Consi isn’t so much siding with him as he is siding against us. He thinks his reasons in favor of the pledge trump our reasons against it.

    If I would have the time to debate this topic at length (again), I’d ask him what degree of coercion he agrees to, if he believes the pledge is less valuable if the gratuitous reference to the Christian god is omitted, and what benefits all the nations that don’t have their own version of pledge miss out on.

  43. Consi isn’t so much siding with him as he is siding against us.

    That’s accurate.

    Nowiser’s statement is a separate issue.

    The pseudo-deification of dead soldiers is also a bit nauseating.

    Absent clarification, this by inference imputes to Andrew a pseudo-deification of dead soldiers.

    Furthermore,

    But their sacrifice isn’t always for -us-.  Sometimes, in fact, it’s for interests that are directly opposed to my own.

    says you know(how pray tell is never disclosed) what the soldiers interest is. Not having been on the battle fron myself, and knowing you have not, I’m inclined to believe LJ about what their interests are. 

    When you start talking about not revering those that have died for us, and it is US because WE the people elected those that made the decision on where to send them, you damn well better make sure you stick to facts.  You have not.

  44. That’s accurate.

    In which case nothing you can say will sway me and I’ll take the reverse for granted.

    what the soldiers interest is

    I don’t believe nowiser was referring to the soldier’s interests, but to the interests of those giving the marching orders.

    When you start talking about not revering those that have died for us, and it is US because WE the people elected those that made the decision on where to send them

    Do they die for “us” or because of “us”?

  45.   what the soldiers interest is

    I don’t believe nowiser was referring to the soldier’s interests, but to the interests of those giving the marching orders.

    Sweet bleeding Jesus, Elwed. 

    (took me almost a fuckin’ page to get that across).

    Ah, well, I’m going to post my response anyway, even though you basically said it far more succinctly and coherently.

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