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Pledge the Preamble!

This is my preferred solution to the whole Pledge of Allegiance “under God” situation.

The best solution to this problem — one that respects both the community’s desire to instill patriotism and the conscience of religious dissenters — is to end recitation not just of the words “under God” but of the entire Pledge of Allegiance. In its place would go a much better statement of our national values: the Preamble to the Constitution.

Damn straight. Extra bonus points to any school board that proposes singing it, which as all of us who grew up in the 70s know is the One True Way to recite the preamble.

Seriously, I love this idea. I’ve never liked the Pledge (with or without any “ceremonial deism” thrown in), I don’t like loyalty oaths, and I think we don’t spend nearly enough time in our schools teaching the Constitution. Who could object to this?

And as long as I’m wishing for things that’ll never happen, how about teaching the younger kids what the words in the Preamble mean so they’ll have some idea what they’re saying? (Even growing up doesn’t always help those of us who have problems understanding the Pledge.) I don’t know about you, but I’d been reciting the Pledge for many years before I even knew what the phrase “I pledge allegiance” meant. Surely we don’t still consider rote memorization to be a virtue these days.

Thanks to Hope for finding this.

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  1. William Hughes says:

    Considering that the words in question were added to the Pledge in 1954 as a “Cold War” maneuver (God is on our side) and that the original pledge was written by a Baptist minister with Socialist political preferences, perhaps the Preamble to the Constitution would be more fitting for a morning school exercise. Alternatively, the Gettysburg Address (IMHO the best written and spoken piece in American history) might also work.

  2. CirspyShot says:

    <Michael Palin voice>There is one small problem</Michael Palin voice>
    (OK, two problems, but one each)

    1) If we sing the Schoolhouse Rock preamble, we leave out an important prepositional phrase: “We the people OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect union…”

    2) Won’t we have to update the “four score and seven years” part of the Gettysburg Address every year? And isn’t “fathers,” while historically accurate, a tad patriarchal in this day and age? (“Eleven score and eight years ago, our foreparents brought forth…”)

    (OK, OK, too many comments for Crispy in one day… putting down mouse and slowly stepping away from keyboard…)

  3. CrispyShot says:

    I humbly correct myself: I erroneously added TWO prepositional phrases. The preamble actually goes, “We the people of the United States, in order to form…”

    But the Schoolhouse Rock folks still left it out. (Although I’m not sure how you work “of the United States” into a catchy tune…)

    slinking back into the woodwork now…

  4. Greg Morrow says:

    I have long been the opinion that politicians and jurists should pay more attention to the Preamble, because you can’t get a clearer statement of the goals and scope of our government.

    Plus, it’s set to a catchy funk rhythm. But then the Founders were routinely perspicacious.

  5. William Hughes says:


    I don’t think the forefathers of this nation were thinking of Sly and the Family Stone when they wrote the Preamble of the Constitution, but I do see what you mean.

    I thought the Schoolhouse Rock version had more of a Gospel sound to it.

  6. Jose Gonzales says:

    I love this idea.

    An interesting image is stirred up in my memory – not the schoolhouse rock one. Rather, it is Captain James T. Kirk, of the USS Enterprise, (“The Omega Glory” for you trekkers out there), declaring that for this statement to be properly implemented, the words must apply not just to the “yangs”, but to the “khoms” as well. (yankees and communists).

    Anybody else remember the episode? Further, does anybody else remember the point being made?

    Hmm, just wondering.

    Allegiance to a flag, allegiance to a republic, all are fleeting. Allegiance to an idea – that is what lasts.

    I love it!