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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Pledge of Allegiance brainwashing

Picture this: you are in a room full of people. Suddenly all of the people in the room stand up in unison. They strike a pose and recite a passage in monotone. The passage appears to be for a person not in the room. You are still sitting. Once the people in the room have stopped reciting the passage, they sit down in unison.The leader of the people comes over to you and demands why you didn’t strike the silly pose and recite the passage like everyone else. You claim ignorance.The leader tells you that you have disrespected the unnamed person they have just dedicated this time to. The leader says that this person is the best in the world. People have sacrificed their lives, their limbs and even their sanity for this person.
Because you haven’t stood up and recited this passage not only are you disrespecting the greatest person in the world (who really doesn’t sound that great) you are disrespecting the people who have willingly died for them and their greatness.
I’m assuming you think you are in the middle of a cult gathering. But you aren’t. You are in an elementary school classroom somewhere in America. That passage is “The Pledge of Allegiance.”
Why do I believe “The Pledge of Allegiance” is essentially brainwashing?
Let’s start with the definition of brainwashing. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, brainwashing is defined as “a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.” Making children as young as three years old recite The Pledge is “forcible indoctrination.” A three year old is just learning to use the toilet. Two years ago they were not capable of sentient thought. Children all over the United States are reciting The Pledge of Allegiance and are being guilt tripped if they are not. There’s nothing like a little shame and guilt to make someone do what you want! Guilt is especially effective on young children, who have yet to learn how to think for themselves.
Another thing is the name itself. Allegiance is defined as “loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior, or of an individual to a group or cause.” Children are definitely subordinate to adults, who are forcing them to say The Pledge.
Another issue I have with The Pledge of Allegiance is the “One Nation under God” bit. Contrary to what conservatives will have you believe, The United States is not a Christian nation. The United States separates church and state –– at least on paper. The part that says “One Nation under God” defies that rule. Forcing children to recite that bit falls under the “religious beliefs” part of the “brainwashing” definition.
And finally, it’s just the whole way we say The Pledge of Allegiance that bothers me. Picture a group of people being brainwashed in a movie. You picture them all in a group reciting sentences in monotone. How is that any different than how we say The Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom?