Adding more peer pressure?
When I was in high school, towards the end of my educational career there, the Texas Legislature passed a law saying that all Texas schoolchildren would be required to recite the Texas and United States pledges every morning. What the exact reasoning behind this law was, I believe, will forever be unknown to the common citizen. But in my high school, this law was followed almost religiously by a majority of my peers. Even I for a while said both pledges without questioning what I was doing or saying. That all changed one day when one of my classmate's decided she needed to personally enforce this law with all our fellow peers who did not say the pledge.
I have a good friend who is a Jehovah's Witness and is therefore barred from saying either pledge by her religion. "Whitney", my friend, always stood during the pledges to show her respect for everyone else. No one questioned why she didn't say the pledge until that day. I don't exactly remember why this girl, "Mary", decided to be patriotic that particular day. But what she said to my friend will forever stay in my mind. At the beginning of the U.S. pledge, she walked up to Whitney and said, "Why aren't you saying the pledge? Are you unpatriotic or something? God."
I couldn't believe someone would so blatantly attack another person without knowing the real reason of why they did (or didn't) do what everyone else was doing. It was at that moment that all my disillusioned visions of America went down the drain. Staring straight at Mary, I sat down in the middle of the pledge and silently dared her to do or say something about it. After that day, I stopped reciting either pledge, except on days that I felt like it or was feeling extremely facetious. More than once I substituted the word "Texas" in the Texas pledge with "Georgia," my home state. I have been tempted on several occasions to copy my fellow blogger and recite the Calvin and Hobbes pledge "I pledge allegiance to Queen Fragg, and her mighty state of hysteria...", but never have. As disgusted as I am with my country sometimes, I still treat the U.S. pledge with respect.
With this new legislation coming forward, it appears to me that all it will add is a new level of peer pressure to our students. For those who do not believe in a higher being or God (but some other form of higher being), they will be ridiculed and tortured by their peers because they do not wish to say something that goes against their beliefs. In my opinion reciting the U.S. and Texas pledges should not be mandated by law or if people insist on keeping this law, provide some kind of amendment that protects against religious and political discrimination. Then we will truly be an indivisible nation/state.