I’m not from the United States, so occasionally I get into trouble for airing views which reflect a more British approach to subjects like patriotism and flags and national pride. This is one of those occasions. I made the following unwise comment yesterday on my Twitter feed:

The sound of Blake Primary School children saying the Pledge of Allegiance can be heard all across town. It’s creepy, like North Korea.

Although this comparison was a little tongue-in-cheek, a sporting attempt to bait my more conservative watchers, it is true that most humor has point behind it. There could be several such points within this little attempt to be outrageous:

  1. People should think objectively about how their nations differ from the other nations they criticize. Sometimes it’s worth drawing these comparisons for the sheer thought exercise.
  2. Is teaching our young to pledge allegiance to ideas they haven’t had themselves a beneficial thing?
  3. Is there a difference between behavior-influencing teachings and values/principles-influencing teachings?
  4. Perhaps most importantly, at what point does such teaching become indoctrination?
  5. When do kids start to think for themselves about how they feel about their country, and at what point do they begin to understand the concepts in this Pledge?

One of my challengers on this point told me, “It’s not rocket science,” and that kids can understand the concepts in the pledge they’re being told to repeat every morning at school. I didn’t think that was true, so I set out to prove it. This is my short video on which I ask my son Tyler and his friend Frankie to explain the Pledge of Allegiance to me.

I hope you enjoy the results.