The one we have been reciting from kindergarten on for over fifty years does not represent the values we as citizens of our nation should live by. First, here is, line by line, what is specifically wrong with the current pledge:
I pledge allegiance
The dictionary defines pledge as a “solemn promise.” Usually there are consequences to breaking promises. But what are we pledging are allegiance to?
To the flag
We promise to be loyal to a flag? This makes no sense. We need loyalty to something more substantive than a piece of cloth.
Of the United States of America
Should we be loyal to those who wave the flag of our nation on the one hand and commit acts of treason on the other? The perpetrators of the crimes of 9/11 did not burn the flag; they wore and continue to wear it on their coats.
And to the Republic
Yes, we live in a republic. This means other people vote on our behalf. But does a republic exist when the representatives consistently vote against the interests of the people they serve? How about when decisions made, like the decision to go to war in Iraq, are based on lies told and lies believed?
For which it stands
So the flag stands for the Republic. This sounds like we should believe in our flag and the Republic. That works fine unless you doubt the words of those who carry the flag on our behalf.
We are one nation composed of many states and jurisdictions. When the federal government contradicts a state government or forbids or discourages a state to carry out an investigation of a crime (as in the JFK assassination), the idea of one nation becomes a bit confusing.
The Knights of Columbus urged Congress to include this line during the days of Communist scare. To assume we have the blessing of a deity after our nation’s actions of invading helpless nations and killing innocent people is either chutzpah or it suggests that God is not watching us.
Divisions tear our nation apart. The last time our nation resembled indivisibility was after 9/11 but that division required several government lies about the attacks to stick it together.
With liberty and justice for all.
The Patriot Act alone has taken away several liberties by substantially weakening the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments. People are harassed for speaking out against government policies. Laws are proposed to send dissenters away. Forget about freedom of speech. There is so little freedom to even think about liberty and justice for anyone except those in power.
What should we pledge loyalty toward?
We ought to promise to ourselves to seek the truth about those in power, tell the truth about ourselves, act with ethics toward others and show compassion to the rest of the world.