There’s been controversy around the pledge of allegiance for some time now, from schools banning it to NBC airing it without the words “under God,” to one school replacing it with a Muslim poem on the anniversary of 9/11, and another school having students recite it in Arabic (including the phrase “one nation under Allah”).
Some on the left have argued, as this Salon writer did in February, that saying the pledge of allegiance is a “toxic, nationalistic ritual” that must go.
And indeed, the reciting of daily pledges written for us by the government is something we can legitimately question.
But the concern of pledge critics rarely focuses on that. They’re fine with government-written pledges; they just have a very different idea of what kids ought to be making pledges to.
You probably wouldn’t approve of your kid pledging allegiance to an “international flag,” for example.
If you’re not sure what an “international flag” is, the alert folks at the Sean Hannity Show found one for us. Students at PS 75 in New York City made an international flag as a class project, affixing to it the motto “We pledge allegiance to an international flag.”
The flag’s base is the American flag. Glued over the top of the stripes are the flags of (mostly) Spanish-speaking countries, along with the flag of Russia and the flag of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory (not a country). Included in the list are the socialist dictatorships Cuba and Venezuela (both of which frequently entertain Russian navy ships, and have hosted deployments by the Russian air force), as well as the flag of Spain, at one time the foremost European colonial power in the Americas (and the losing side in the Spanish-American War of 1898).
I added the identifying labels beneath the flags.
The flag was offered for auction at an online fundraising site called BiddingForGood. Fortunately, the Hannity site also quotes the description of the “international flag” in its story. The description has now been removed from the auction listing – along with the picture of the flag.
According to the quoted description:
The fun quote on the bottom is about unity and creating an environment in which everyone is welcome! “We pledge allegiance to an International Flag!” Our dual language classroom strives to be a place that everyone feels welcome!
The site states the leading bid as $50, and gives the estimated value as “priceless.”
No word on what exactly you’re doing when you “pledge allegiance” to something with the flags of Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and Spain on it. I guess it depends on what the meaning of “pledge allegiance” is.