"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all."
That is the pledge that I grew up reciting everyday in school (K-12). I continue to recite the Pledge at appropriate moments and get a great sense of pride from doing it. In my mind, the Republic for which it stands is not the bureaucracy in DC, Columbus, or (*ahem*) Urbana. The Republic for which it stands are the people that keep this country going strong. I am not oblivious to the current economic issues facing OUR country, I am just optimistic that history will and always does repeat itself. We have survived, we will survive, and prosper as only WE can. Naive? Maybe, but if someone can prove me wrong, then WE ALL have something more to worry about than someone not reciting the Pledge.
The notion that the Pledge is somehow flawed because it was originally written by two Socialists is ridiculous. People who claim that the Pledge is a forced vow of obedience to the State have a skewed sense of patriotism. The word allegiance has many meanings, but in the framework of the Pledge, allegiance is synonymous with fidelity (faithfulness). Have you ever met a US Marine? Try explaining to them why you think they are upholding 'Socialist' ideals. Semper Fi
Want to know more about the Pledge than you ever thought possible? Start with my favorite jumping off point... Wikipedia