One Nation, Under DOG
By Wil Forbis
July 16th, 2002
Is this a cyber punk Wil Forbis? Naw, this guy's better looking.
After almost a year of media excitement over the World Trade Center Attacks, anthrax scares and the Enron scandal, the press is starting to run out of steam. As such, they're being forced to drum up excitement in the most mundane places. Take recent reports of Federal Court of Appeals decision that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional. The biggest debate here isn't whether this is right or wrong, but why we should care? We've got terror cells in Seattle, we got dirty bombs in Chicago,†hell, we even got Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli calling it quits. Yet people can't stop flapping their gums about whether two silly words should be deleted from a patriotic mantra no one can get through without cue cards.†It's a farce I say. We shouldn't spend one more minute debating about making minor alterations to our nation's pledge.
Instead, we ought to be talking about getting rid of the whole GODdamned thing!
Now before you accuse me of being yet another Hate-America devotee who's† determined to recite the predictable far left rhetoric they picked up during their four year college "re-education" in Berkley, you should take a gander at some of my previous writings. I think it's infinitely clear the only thing I have in common with the John Walker Lindhs of the world is that we both look crummy in a toga. I happen to think America's a pretty swell country. And I think free speech is a pretty swell idea. But what many people on both the right and left fail to realize is that free speech is the right to say - and not say - whatever you want.
Let's be honest - forcing kids to stand hand over heart and swear allegiance to the country of their citizenship does sound like a great idea - for Stalinist Russia! (Actually, the phrase "under God" was added in the 50's, partly because some people complained that without it one could envision commies over in Russia reciting the Pledge to their Hammer and Sickle.) But here in the good old U.S. of A, the very premise of a forced Pledge seems to attack the fundamental ideas we stand for. Let's argue that I wanted to stand up and say "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the planet Mars, Under Satan, and to the interplanetary space armada for which it stands." Repulsive? Yes! Stupid? Absolutely! Protected Free Speech? Damn right, motherfucker!
In America we have at least a begrudging understanding that everyone has the right to say what they want. (Excluding the "yelling 'fire' in a theatre" argument and a few other grey areas.) We understand we can't stop people from saying things the majority doesn't want them to say. (Even I'll defend the rights of the lice-ridden hippies in various left wing Meccas who oppose any action against terrorists short of placing flowers in their box cutters.) But this latest controversy indicates that we don't understand the inverse of this rule: We can't force people to say things the majority wants them to say. Understanding this requires only a childish grasp of the Constitution, yet that grasp seems to have fully escaped our Senate, our President, and worst of all - the guys I get into arguments with at the corner bar. (America's real leaders!)
Granted, it ain't that simple. The Pledge of Allegiance is primarily recited by kids, and kids don't (and shouldn't!) get the full protection of the Constitution. Until a person grows into sane, responsible member of society (e.g. someone who earns a living, understands that actions have consequences and doesn't buy Limp Biskit CDs) they trade in some of their rights for protections from government and parents. So the question is: do kids have the right of free speech?
And in this matter, I say 'yes they do.' Because it is illogical to deny them that right. Look, ten year olds shouldn't drive. Six year olds shouldn't have sex. Four year olds shouldn't drink. They shouldn't do these things because they don't have the capacity to make intelligent decisions about these acts. And were they to perform them, there's an extremely high possibility that they would cause physical or serious mental harm themselves or others. But if a ten year old doesn't pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America? Is anyone really getting hurt here? Nope.
But there's an even better argument. What does it say about a nationís self confidence that it has to brainwash its citizens from birth into swearing allegiance. (Once again, the whole thing feels like a page outta the "Vladimir Lenin Guidebook to Nation Building.") I think America is a pretty cool place. Did I come to that realization after reciting a brain-numbing, pseudo-patriotic poem day in and day out. No - I got out there and took an unbiased look at the rest of the world. And I realized that there's one thing half the world population wants to to do: Move to the United States. Mexicans sweat (and die) in the backs of semis across deserts to get in here. Cubans drown in the Gulf of Mexico while riding inner tubes to America. Vietnamese Boat People road across the Atlantic ocean to do the same.† Members of every ethnicity and nationality on this planet have given up whatever wealth they had to come here. America ain't perfect, and it's got a dirty past involving a lot of people working in polar opposite of the freedoms this country is said to stand for, but if you're looking for a place that allows you the right to do what you want as long as you don't hurt other people, America is the best you're going to get. And until people start catching inner tubes to Cuba I don't think you can argue different.
Thatís why the whole debate about whether or not the Pledge should say "under God" misses the point. The very act of forcing kids to pledge allegiance goes against what the United States stands for. I now ask that you, the acid logic reader (obviously a person of free will and discriminating taste) join me in reciting a new Pledge... a Pledge to Freedom:
I pledge to join in the fight
Against the leaders of our nation
Who seem determined to march towards totalitarianism
with even the smallest steps
And I pledge
That I will personally remove their sexual organs with a table saw
If they try to deny me the right to say
and not say
What I please
Furthermore, Limp Biskit suck monkey scrotums
Say it now motherfuckers!!! Or I'll kill you!!!!
Wil Forbis is a well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy, he is making the world safe for democracy. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.