Thursday, February 07, 2008

Preparing for Court of Appeals Decision on the Pledge

Sometime between now and June, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will put out a decision as to whether "under God" in the Pledge, and "In God We Trust" on the currency, are constitutional.

This is an election year. Beyond any doubt, the Democratic candidates for President and for the Senate and House will be required to declare that these are Constitutional and they must promise to do whatever they can to fight those who would remove these phrases.

Those candidates will have a choice - either agree with the Christian majority, or give their political seats to those who do.

It's got to be up to us to have an answer - a way of challenging what will no doubt be either a very vocal cry in protest of the decision, or a vocal cry in defense of that decision.

Obama and Clinton will once again be found on the Capital steps shouting, 'UNDER GOD!" when the Senate shows its support for, or opposition to, the 9th Circuit Court opinion.

Regardless of how the decision goes, the mere fact of the decision will be good for tens to hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into the coffers of theocratic candidates, amid promises that only those who believe that our rights come from God are qualified to serve as judges in the United States.

Our job is to make the task of defending these phrases as difficult as possible, by being prepared to make as much noise in defense of removing these relics of religiosity as possible, using the best arguments.

I've been adding to my story, "Perspective on the Pledge" recently. I have another section to add today.

The complete story to date (all four parts) - with even some of the earlier parts edited and cleaned up, can be found at:

Perspective on the Pledge.

The fourth part - the recently added part - is below:

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“You promised,” Shelby Johnson said. She had come to the detention center under the pretext of bringing Shawn’s homework to him. But she really wanted to talk to him about the fact that he had broken his promise to her. “Last night, you looked me straight in the eye and promised that you would not disrupt my class. I actually thought you meant it.”

“I did mean it,” Shawn said. “But, later, I realized that what I promised to do was to sit quietly while you taught another class full of students that people like my dad do not deserve your respect. I have an obligation to my dad, too. I have an obligation not to let the country he died to protect say that he wasn’t a patriot, simply because he had no allegiance to a white nation. I either had to disappoint you, Ms. Johnson, or disrespect my dad. I’m sorry, you lost.”

“It’s not like that, Shawn. You’re the only one who thinks that the Pledge of Allegiance disrespects those who don’t favor a white nation.”

“Then why did I get the reaction I did when I pledged allegiance to one black nation, Ms. Johnson. Some of the white kids in that class were ready to lynch me. They know that pledging allegiance to a black nation means saying that nobody who would support white leaders is patriotic. That’s why they were angry. They know that pledging allegiance to a white nation means saying that nobody who would support a black leader is patriotic. That’s why they want to keep it in the Pledge.”

“People have been saying the Pledge for sixty years, Shawn. You’re saying that you were the first person to figure out this secret meaning?”

“No, Ms. Johnson. You’re not listening. They added ‘white’ to the pledge sixty years ago when black people took over the Soviet Union. They did it because they did not want black leaders in this country. They know what it means. The only thing I did was to actually say out loud what everybody for sixty years has agreed never to say out loud. The words ‘with liberty and justice for all’ are in the Pledge in order to get children to support liberty and justice. The word ‘indivisible’ is in the Pledge to get children to support the union. The word ‘white’ was added to the pledge to get children to support white power. Of course white people love the idea of getting children to pledge allegiance to white power. They’ve been indoctrinating children this way for fifty years. That’s why you won’t find anybody but white people in public office.”

“Shawn, they’re not going to let you back into class unless you promise to behave yourself. They’re just not going to permit it.”

“Ms. Johnson, just don’t tell the class that being a patriot means pledging allegiance to white power. Don’t expect me to sit there while you tell everybody that people like my dad who did not support white power are as unpatriotic as anybody who would support rebellion, tyranny, and injustice. You’re talking about my dad, Ms. Johnson.”

“It’s the law, Shawn.”

“Yes. The law passed by white law makers telling you to teach other people’s kids that they’re not good Amerycans unless they pledge allegiance to white power.”

“Don’t do this, Shawn.”

“It’s your call, Ms. Johnson.”

Shelby left Shawn’s books on his desk and left the room.

A while later, Shawn received a summons to report to the Principal’s office. When he entered the Administration Center, he saw his mother through the glass windows in the Principal’s office. He felt his stomach suddenly tie in knots, and it took all of his effort to quit standing.

When he entered the office, Principal Hadley said, “I’ll leave you two alone for a while.” He left, closing the door behind him.

Shawn looked around nervously for a hidden microphone, realizing that there could be hundreds in the room and he would never see them.

“Honey, this is a new school. You said you wouldn’t get into trouble, here.”

“This is different, mom,” Shawn said. “I’m not fighting. I’m not doing anything like that.”

“They say that you’re causing trouble in the class, that you won’t let the teacher do her job. What are you doing, son?”

“It’s the Pledge, mom. I actually thought about what we’re saying when we pledge allegiance to one white nation. We’re saying that people like dad aren’t patriots – because patriots have to support white power. Dad was more of a patriot than anybody here. None of them died for this country.”

“You’re father was a good man, Shawn. But I bet some of these people fought for their country, too. Just because they didn’t die, that doesn’t mean they didn’t fight.”

“Okay. Still, it’s wrong, mom. It’s wrong what they’re doing.”

“Maybe it is, son. But your dad wanted you to finish school. He wanted you to make something of yourself. He fought to give you a good life, son. Don’t throw it away.”

“He fought to give me a good life by fighting those who would do us harm. That’s what I’m doing, mom. Because the government is having everybody pledge allegiance to white power, people like dad – and people like me – can’t do some of the things we would be good at doing, because it would violate the idea of white power. There are no black people holding political office in this country. Politicians have said, over and over again, that they will only appoint white judges who recognize that our rights came from white men. I’m fighting for a better life, too, mom. A life where being a patriot does not mean supporting white power.”

The room fell into a long, silent pause.

“Mom, it’s like Ghandi. I’ve sworn that I’ll never raise my hand in anger. I will do what I think is right. If the school decides to punish me, I will take my punishment like a man. If they quit saying that my dad wasn’t a patriot, I’ll shut up. If they keep saying that my dad wasn’t a patriot, I’ll speak my mind. But I won’t hurt anybody, I promise. I’m standing up for what’s right, mom. Just like dad did.”

Ms. Peachtree shrugged. “When you go back to detention, I want you to write down everything that happened. I want to know everything. We’ll discuss it when you get home.”

She picked up her gloves and her purse and headed for the door. Hadley saw her through the window and intercepted her.

“He’s all yours, Principal Hadley,” Ms. Peachtree said.

“Did you talk to him?” Hadley asked.

“We talked. We’ll talk some more tonight,” she answered. She said nothing else as she left.

* “I’m not going to do anything stupid, mom,” Shawn said. “I promise, mom, no fighting. A student could be pummeling me with a bat in the parking lot and I promise I won’t hit him. All I’m doing is saying that this isn’t right. If they decide to

The next day, Shawn went straight to the principal’s office as soon as he got in. Ms. Johnson and Principal Hadley were there waiting for him. Hadley spoke formally and deliberately. “Shawn, before I can allow you to return to Ms. Johnson’s class, I need you to apologize to Ms. Johnson about your behavior yesterday, admit that it was wrong, and promise never to do it again.”

“I have to ask Ms. Shelby a question first,” Shawn answered.

“What question?” Hadley asked.

Shawn turned to Shelby. “Are you going to be leading the class in the Pledge?”

“That’s the law,” Hadley answered for her. “You don’t have to participate, but the state legislature requires that she begin first period with the Pledge of allegiance.”

Shelby answered with a shrug, gesturing towards Principle Hadley as if to say, “That’s my position. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

“If Ms. Johnson refuses to lead the class in a Pledge of allegiance to white power, I will have nothing to protest. If she tells the class that my dad was not a patriot because he did not fight and die for one white nation, I will answer that insult.”

“Fine. Back to detention,” Hadley said. He summoned the school guard over and Shawn quietly followed him out of the room.

Shawn actually did not mind detention. The school held detention in a room just off of the library, and students were not permitted to do anything but study for the classes they were enrolled in. Shawn was getting well ahead of his reading and other homework, and liked it that way.

He was in the middle of his math homework when he was interrupted by the school guard opening the detention room door. He looked up and saw Jenny entering the room.

“I didn’t know we were allowed visitors?” Shawn said.

“You aren’t,” the guard answered. “Jennifer is a guest.”

“I seem to have gotten myself into a bit of trouble with the establishment,” Jenny said with a mischievous smile.”

“No talking,” the guard announced. “You don’t want to get into any more trouble than you already are.”

Quietly, Jenny took a seat opposite the table from Shawn and got out her books. Through it all, a smile never left her lips.

7 comments:

Doug S. said...

PDFs are annoying. Do you have an HTML or plain text version of the complete story anywhere?

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Your wish is my command.

A Perspective on the Pledge (.txt version)

Doug S. said...

Eep. That file, when displayed in my web browser, displays each paragraph on a single horizontal line and requires horizontal scrolling to read. Oh well. :(

Alonzo Fyfe said...

It's a .txt file.

Open it in Notepad (or your computer's equivalent) and turn word wrap on.

Doug S. said...

Yes, that would work. (The reason I brought that up is that I posted a link to your piece at another forum and the most common response was "I hate PDFs - why isn't this something more convenient to read?"

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Doug S.

Okay, then.

Try this file, then, please.

Perspective on the Pledge

This version contains the two new parts written this week.

Doug S. said...

Thank you very much! That's perfect.