To the editor:

Years ago, I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I would place my hands at my sides and stand silently.

Once, a man asked, angrily, “Why don’t you say the pledge?” I said nothing at the time, but now know what I would say:

I cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance to a flag or to a nation. I could pledge allegiance to an ideal, even the ideal of the America we never have quite become. The America that represents truth, justice and equality for ALL, which means women, all people of all religion and color.

If the pledge were changed to: “I pledge allegiance to the ideals of the United States of America. Those ideals include democracy, valuing all people equally, promoting justice and liberty over all the world, whatever side of any border on which we stand, one nation under the same sky as the rest of the world, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all humanity,” that I would say, loudly, proudly, with a hand over my heart. Until then, keep your pledge but I will not say it. Tell me I don’t love my country and I’ll agree. I will not love or pledge undying loyalty to things I do not support or believe in, like uncontrolled capitalism, colonialism by proxy, oil wars, racism, environmental destruction and willful ignorance of science. Say love it or leave it and I will say I will try my best to change it into a thing I can love.

Mignonne Halpern-Davis


Recommended for you