Thursday, June 07, 2007

Over Dinner: A Question of Allegiance

I had dinner with Miss Conservative Friend today. I don’t think I’ve talked about her before. To give you an idea of what Miss CF is like:

She often tells me that one day I will be “right.” This means
that b/c I have some conservative views already, with her influence I will
convert. She’s a staunch conservative who wholeheartedly supports our country,
our President and the war we are engaged in. She’s strong southern Christian
who believes that the heart of our country lies in the church.

During our dinner, we were discussing the pledge and other rituals that her school does ieveryday. Miss CF stated that at her school, every morning they say the pledge, sng a patriotic song and sing the school song after the morning announcements. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I told her that we said the pledge, but you have to threaten students to make them stand for it. I explained that I always say to the students, “You don’t have to say it, but you must stand out of respect.” She was appalled at this. She felt like I should make the students say the pledge. Especially, since I’m a history teacher. I explained to her I’m not going to make them recite something that I wouldn’t say or don’t believe in.

I don’t pledge my allegiance to this country. I love this country. I will support it with my taxes. I will support the troops—the actual soldiers. I support our education system. But I absolutely, refuse to pledge allegiance to something that I don’t believe wholeheartedly in. As I have studied history, I struggle with how this land was acquired, developed and exploited. I still am struggling with this country’s ideas of liberty, equity and justice for all. There are so many gross inconsistencies in this country. I can not pledge allegiance to it, but I respect this country. I support it. What is wrong with that?

During our conversation, she asked “Would you rather live somewhere else?” I replied, “Yes, Europe.” She quickly told me to “Go live there, then.” This segment of our conversation has not left my brain. Should I not be allowed to live in a country b/c I refused to pledge allegiance to it? Should only folks would want to pledge allegiance be allowed to stay here or participate? In my opinion, it would make our country a cult. With these kind of stipulations, our country would not be a just place. Could these of things make us like the terrorists and communist nations we are so diligently fighting and condemning?

Am I wrong for these thoughts? Does this make me a less effective teacher? Would these types of beliefs not support our American Social Studies education? I never share these ideas with my children and I don’t believe they affect my teaching. I would never speak negatively of our government. As a matter of fact, I'm often defending our government to my students. (They ask all the time if I'm a republican for defending G.W.B's actions) Should my job require me to be patriotic?

Just my thoughts today . . .


Anonymous said...

testing comments b/c someone said they couldn't leave one. . . OH Happy

teachergirl said...

Certainly a dilemma...especially if you are teaching history or government, especially the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

I think you'll find that as you get older and have children, you tend to get a little more conservative. Trust me, when I had to explain to my third grader why we were impeaching Bill Clinton, I sat down and gave my own politics a once over.

But, it's your journey. Our jobs require us to be so many things, I am surprised they don't require us to be patriotic.

Catch ya later.