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Old Jan 29, 2013, 03:00 AM   #1
Sydde
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"I, <your name>, do solemnly ...

What does an oath or pledge mean to you? When I was in grade school, we pledged allegiance to the flag every morning (hands over hearts, or in scouts, a quasi-military salute), uttering words that we had memorized but (as for me anyway) did not really understand. As far as that goes, I would find it hard to consider a person bound to a pledge they did not understand.

But, you have made a promise. What does it mean, and how, beyond your word, are you bound by it? What happens if you break it? If you are religious, what is the weight of "so help me God", and if you are not religious, does it make a difference if you are asked to say that? What about putting your hand on some book, how does that affect your commitment?

In Arizona, some Republican legislators (you cannot spell crazy without R-AZ) have submitted a bill that would require every student to recite a loyalty oath in order to receive their HS diploma. Part of the oath reads, "... I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion ...", which does not quite square with the bit about not getting your diploma if you refuse to recite the pledge. And, of course, there is that SHMG bit at the end, just to piss off the nasty atheists.

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I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.
What is the value of this? Are even HS students equipped with the kind of perspective that puts the breadth of such a promise in focus? And in the end, who really gets to decide what being disloyal means?
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 03:52 AM   #2
iStudentUK
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A pledge of allegiance or loyalty oath strikes me as childish and cringeworthy in any event. I wouldn't take it seriously, and would find it annoying.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:07 AM   #3
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Pure guff.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:10 AM   #4
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" in order to receive their HS diploma. Part of the oath reads, "... I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion ...", which does not quite square with the bit about not getting your diploma if you refuse to recite the pledge.

That's a contradiction in itself.

They should have thought that statement through a bit more.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:20 AM   #5
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Below: an Arizona state legislator leads his colleagues in reciting the loyalty oath.


The worst part of it is, most of them actually said, "Your name...".

But a loyalty oath is a pretty stupid idea. Forcing someone to take it (a) is just asking for civil disobedience on the part of some student, and (b) implies there might be some sort of punishment for breaking it. (Maybe what Peace mentioned. Maybe something more.)

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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:28 AM   #6
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Absolutely nothing. I actually, too, find if cringe worthy when the pledge is recited because it reminds me of blind patriotism where a flag (another pet peeve of mine) takes over your conscience and self-worth. It's just a collection of colors, shapes and symbols; what really counts is your relation to other people and the community.

I consider myself a citizen of the world and the only oath I'd take is to be kind and courteous to my fellow men (and women), but then again, that's a given in a civilization.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:31 AM   #7
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Sounds far to much like "My Country Right or Wrong"
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 06:45 AM   #8
Mord
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I tend to see oaths as social/legal contracts, not set in stone but with certain penalties associated with breaking them. If I promise something I'm stating I intend to do something unless it's so wildly not worth my while to that it's worth me incurring the social judgement were I to break it.

I happen to value the opinions of my peers quite a bit, so I tend to stick to my word.

See also: marriage, people get divorced all the time, the fallout for the divorce is the penalty associated with the oath.

Thinking that an oath is something that you should 100% stick to no matter what is absurd, it would just subject those bound to them to needless unhappiness, you can't predict the future.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 07:02 AM   #9
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Sounds like a propaganda relic to me.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 07:50 AM   #10
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Would it surprise you to know Hitler had his teachers and students swear oaths to the Nazi Party?
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:03 AM   #11
Arran
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Well, if its not a "legitimate" oath, then the student body has a way to "shut the whole thing down":

http://www.snopes.com/photos/military/crossed.asp

You think they'd know that.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:04 AM   #12
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I had to take a similar oath in order to be hired as a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH. I interpreted defending the US from 'enemies within' as opposing those who would curtail liberty and enforce their own moral values on everybody else. I've voted Democratic in every election since.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:07 AM   #13
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I think they should all be made to sign the loyalty oaths, as many as possible. More every day.

Until or course, a student, ____ de Coveley just says "gimme diploma" and that's the end of that.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:44 AM   #14
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Many of the kids will not be 18, so I doubt it would be legal. And the idea of requiring an oath simply for obtaining a HS diploma is really sickening.

What is it these days and this endless stream of neo-fascist laws being proposed? Stuff like this makes me feel an entire segment of the US population has been poisoned by some crazy drug.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 09:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iStudentUK View Post
A pledge of allegiance or loyalty oath strikes me as childish and cringeworthy in any event. I wouldn't take it seriously, and would find it annoying.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by niuniu View Post
Pure guff.
Utter tosh, agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happybunny View Post
Sounds far to much like "My Country Right or Wrong"
Yes, again, agreed. And encouraging a mindset which is coerced or nurtured, or persuaded to think along the lines of 'my country right or wrong' can lead, all too often, to a worldview where a blind eye is turned to actions which might lead one to conclude that '[on this particular occasion] my country [is] wrong'...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagless View Post
Sounds like a propaganda relic to me.
It is. Any dodgy dictatorship, government, ruling elite, daft belief system knows that if you get the kids to swear loyalty to your beliefs you can have a very sturdy (and unquestioning) support group for your worldview.

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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Would it surprise you to know Hitler had his teachers and students swear oaths to the Nazi Party?
Along with many, many others......but no surprise at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugg View Post
Many of the kids will not be 18, so I doubt it would be legal. And the idea of requiring an oath simply for obtaining a HS diploma is really sickening.

What is it these days and this endless stream of neo-fascist laws being proposed? Stuff like this makes me feel an entire segment of the US population has been poisoned by some crazy drug.
Excellent post and agree completely.

What on earth has the awarding of a HS diploma to do with swearing allegiance to the state? Why should the awarding of the one be linked - or contingent upon - the swearing of the other? Linking them in this way is downright sinister, has nothing to do with the achievement of grades, and is horribly reminiscent of those ghastly regimes which sought to mould the minds of their youngsters in order to create a compliant, unquestioning climate of unthinking support for morally and politically questionable actions.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 10:22 AM   #16
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So are high school dropouts allowed to be terrorists?
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 12:08 PM   #17
Sydde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuber9000 View Post
So are high school dropouts allowed to be terrorists?
The actual text of the bill reads " IN ADDITION TO FULFILLING THE COURSE OF STUDY AND ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS PRESCRIBED IN THIS CHAPTER, BEFORE A PUPIL IS ALLOWED TO GRADUATE FROM A PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL IN THIS STATE, THE PRINCIPAL OR HEAD TEACHER OF THE SCHOOL SHALL VERIFY IN WRITING THAT THE PUPIL HAS RECITED ", which means that if the student graduates from a madrassa or some private school, or if they later earn a GED, they are exempt from being a loyal patriot.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 12:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sydde View Post
In Arizona, some Republican legislators (you cannot spell crazy without R-AZ) have submitted a bill that would require every student to recite a loyalty oath in order to receive their HS diploma. Part of the oath reads, "... I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion ...", which does not quite square with the bit about not getting your diploma if you refuse to recite the pledge. And, of course, there is that SHMG bit at the end, just to piss off the nasty atheists.

They left off the most important part-- the Sieg Heil!! and salute at the end.

Seriously, this shows just how completely they have forgotten that HS is about education. What is a foreign student, who happens to be staying in the U.S. for a few years while their parents work or go to school, supposed to do? They can't get a diploma because they are not U.S. citizens? Will they allow foreign students to attend UofA or ASU? Are people from other states in U.S. allowed to go to HS there? (Barry Goldwater must be turning over in his grave.)
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