Thursday, December 9, 2010

"The Pledge of Allegiance"

     This past Tuesday was my 10 year old's holiday concert at his elementary school. He was so excited to have a solo in the chorus especially since he feels overshadowed by his brothers. We couldn't wait to hear him, because he refused to give me an at home preview.  Just my husband and I were present for this gig, which was a nice change of pace. We would be able to give him our undivided attention and praise. As the second of six holiday performances this season (we have four boys) was about to begin, I looked around the small gymnasium with bittersweet emotion. I couldn't wait to hear my baby, but I couldn't wait to get out of there. I have many issues with the school and neighborhood. "Thank God my house is for sale" kept running through my head.
     It's not that we are racist. How could we be with the league of nations running through my children's veins. The newest members of our community refuse to participate within it. No one speaks English. They won't join the PTA, watch the parades, or donate anything. Some do, but our once close knit school has many new faces doing their own thing, usurping whatever resources they can. Please don't comment that we don't extend an offering to them; we have abundantly. (We, meaning the people who have lived here for some time.) And now we have common criminals and drug dealers rampaging our streets. It is time to find a safer place to live.
     As my thoughts lingered for a while, my friend came in and diverted my attention (thank God!). I hate feeling that way about my home. I received a text about a friend's birthday inviting me to my newest favorite restaurant, Mio Posta, for the festivities. As I was declining because we have zero dinero, the Principal asked us to stand for "The Pledge of Allegiance". Reluctantly, I paused my texting, but proudly recited the pledge with my right hand on my heart the same as I have done since I was in Kindergarten. As we sat, my husband informed me that he saw at least 50% of the people in the gym turned auditorium not say it. I wasn't surprised, but kept quiet as the glee club was starting.
     This past June, during my now five year old's graduation from Nursery School, not only did many not recite it, they didn't even stand up. We left there disgusted.  Now, as we were heading out, I couldn't control my smart-ass mouth. I loudly proclaimed as we walked that if you don't say the pledge, you should be shot. (the man next to me was shockingly laughing-I think because he was one of the non-reciters) No mortal shootings, just grazing flesh wounds. Of course I was joking, (ok, maybe half-joking) but the sentiment is still there. I guess I am naive in that I just do not understand why they wouldn't say it. I am proud to be an American. If they came here for a better life then they should be shouting it louder than anyone else. I was under the impression that you needed to know it by heart to be a citizen of this great country. So, now I am concluding that they are illegal, here on lifelong visas or just don't care. They are taking what they need to support their families back home.  Well then if that is the case, thank the country that is helping you do that with 30 seconds of loyalty. So, I try to give the benefit of the doubt: maybe they forgot it, maybe they didn't learn it in THEIR language or maybe they left their cheat sheet in their other pants.
     There are so many who come here and can't wait to be a citizen. They pay taxes, participate in their communities and fight in our armed forces. We were all at some time immigrants. Some more recent than others. My mother, Doreen G. Kimmel wrote a book, I'll See You in My Dreams, documenting my grandfather's life in Little Italy and what life was like for his immigrant parents. It was NOT easy, yet he and his brothers enlisted in World War II to fight for the country they adored. They learned English, assimilated to the customs, yet kept their traditions intact and most of all LOVED the country that gave them the freedom to not like it sometimes. It's ok to not like the reigning leaders and political parties. It's ok to want to change policies. We have the freedom to have open minds. But it is NOT ok to NOT recite "The Pledge of Allegiance". You won't get shot. You won't get arrested. But if I am around, you will get a glaring death stare. If my husband is there, he'll snarl at you.  If you don't love it then leave. Go to France, they hate Americans, you'll fit right in.


I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

     If I made you angry - Great! If I made you laugh-Awesome!  If I made you think-Even Better!  If I did nothing for you-then try back again to hear some of my other rants and raves.

1 comment:

  1. Our family now consists of 6 generations of born Americans. Our ancestors came, they saw, they conquered their fears of leaving their homelands, and have all proven in every way they could, that they love the USA and will never leave their most
    glorious of homelands. It wasn't easy for them to learn a new language, but they did it, and that was in part because their new homeland didn't provide special acknowledgements of their natural languages.
    God Bless America and you for being honest about your feelings and opinions. Your Mom & Dad