Trump Touts Pledge of Allegiance with Socialist Roots

tags: election 2016, pledge of allegiance, Trump

Peter Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

"We want young Americans to recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” Donald Trump said in a speech to the American Legion National Convention in Cincinnati last week.

Trump told the war veterans organization that he would work “to strengthen respect for our flag,” a not-too veiled swipe at San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem at a late-August preseason game. In a Trump administration, the GOP nominee said, “We will be united by our common culture, values and principles, becoming one American nation, one country under one constitution saluting one American flag—and always saluting it—the flag all of you helped to protect and preserve, that flag deserves respect.”

Four years ago, GOP candidate Mitt Romney also invoked the Pledge of Allegiance to portray himself as a patriot. During his presidential campaign, Romney reminiscedabout reciting the pledge in his fourth grade class, and used each line to make a point about President Obama’s alleged shortfalls. “We pledge allegiance to that flag, we believe in a nation under God, a nation indivisible, a nation united, a nation with justice and liberty for all,” Romney said, “and for that to happen we’re going to have to have a new president that will commit to getting America working again, that will commit to a strong military, that will commit to a nation under God that recognizes that we the American people were given our rights not by government but by God himself.”

Ironically, Trump or Romney probably had no idea that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist as a critique of the rampant greed, misguided materialism, and hyper-individualism of the Gilded Age.

Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist, wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 to express his outrage at the nation’s widening economic divide. And, in contrast to Romney’s recitation, Bellamy did not include the phrase “under God” as part of the original version. ...

Read entire article at The American Prospect

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