Ethics Quiz: “Ick!” Or Unethical—The Arabic Pledge Of Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance to the flag...that the terrorists who speak this language want to tear down..."

“I pledge allegiance to the flag…that the terrorists who speak this language want to tear down…”

In the latest smoking gun example of how the administrators of public schools are widely recruited from the Homes For The Bewildered, we learn of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the principal, Tom Lopez, and his staff agreed to let the school’s “Cultural Arms Club” lead the student body in an Arabic version of the Pledge of Allegiance, one that replaced  “under God,” the ill-advised addendum to the Pledge added by Congress when the U.S. felt under siege from “godless Communism” with  “under Allah.”

As further proof that they should be managing a street corner balloon establishment, the school’s administration professes amazement that parents and citizens are upset with this, and as more evidence yet, places the blame on the students. After all it was their idea, and if they voted to have their fellow students recite the pledge in duck voices, or Pig Latin, or punctuated with “Heil Hitler!” salutes and “der Fuhrer” in place of “God,” I’m sure that would be okey-dokey too.

“These students love this country. They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English,” Lopez explains. I’m sure this makes sense to him. Now, silly me, I tend to think that the best way to accentuate the meaning of text written in English is to recite it in a language I can understand, but I’m just peculiar that way.

I digress, however. Today’s Ethics Quiz is not about whether Lopez and company are as dumb as bricks and unqualified to teach basket weaving—they are. The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz question, rather, is this:

Is having a high school student body recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic, substituting “Allah” for  “God” unethical, or just so strange and icky that it seems unethical?

Do you have your answer?

Here’s mine…

1. In a way, it’s a trick question. The conduct is unethical, because it is so blatantly incompetent and shows such poor judgment that every second the administrators allow themselves to remain in the school with control over any aspect of the students’ lives is a breach of responsibility. What would we think of a school administrator in the early Sixties who responded to a crack-brained request from a student multi-cultural club (not that they had such things in the early Sixties, which shows that the Vietnam era wasn’t all bad) that he direct the student body to deliver the Pledge in Russian by saying, “Sure! What a great idea!” He’d be fired, of course, and J.Edgar Hoover would build a file on him thicker than the Manhattan phone book—and the administrator would deserve every bit of what he got. There’s a powerful and deadly foreign entity out there openly vowing to take over U.S. liberties and culture, and the guy thinks it’s appropriate to show what such cultural subjugation would look and sound like, and that it wouldn’t be all that bad. Yeah, I want to trust him with my children every day.

2. The “Allah” substitution highlights what’s wrong with having “God” in the Pledge. It’s school indoctrination, and compelled worship, whatever the deity or holy personage is that is placed by fiat in the children’s mouths. It’s wrong, but so is that aspect of the Pledge in its proper language.

3. A one-time delivery of the Pledge in a foreign tongue is harmless, but it is also wrong-headed. Nations need to strengthen, not weaken, a common culture, and language is a cornerstone of any successful culture. The U.S. must ensure that its citizens communicate first and foremost in English, and this stunt sends a confusing message.

4. It is disturbing that a large percentage of the students didn’t refuse to recite the pledge in the language of those who murdered the 3000 on September 11, 2001. I guarantee most of my class would have walked out if we were asked to give the Pledge in Russian.  Of course, we had better role models then...

5. On the whole, however, I vote “Ick!”, not unethical.

But really, really stupid.


Pointer: Fark

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108 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: “Ick!” Or Unethical—The Arabic Pledge Of Allegiance

  1. Divide and conquer. Their reciting the ‘pledge’ in Arabic AND you writing about it, ad nauseum , are not only a waste of time, but Tactics of division. Either you are ignorant of this manipulation or a paid lackie.

    I hope it’s the first one.

    Nice 9/11 reference again… ‘Brought to you by Bechtel, Halliburton and blackwater, now known as Xe.’ If you are an imp, you should ‘Nascar’ your blazer with logos of these one trick ponies.


    Please watch ‘the power of nightmares’ by Adam Curtis. ‘Fabled Enemies’ is another good one. Knowledge is power.

    • You really have to be clearer, BBA. I don’t understand this. 1. Hanlon’s Razor applies. 2. I didn’t write about it ad nauseum. I wrote about it once. Once cannot be ad nauseum. 3. Well, yes, as one the US’s six (The Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination, The 1929 Crash, Pearl Harbor, JFK’s assassination and 9-11) culture-shaking cataclysms, 9-11 is relavant to a lot of things—oddly, none of the things you tend to bring up, but still…

      I reject the manipulation canard, and I WISH I were paid…

  2. I’ll keep this short:

    1) I don’t like the Pledge of Allegiance anyway. If the values upon which America was founded, which are succinctly read in the perfectly written Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, are not enough to inspire the loyalty of People, then no pledge of loyalty will do so. It smacks of nationalistic collectivism. And a people utterly depraved and lacking the knowledge and appreciation of their values — those who cannot grok it — who cannot be inspired to loyalty and defense of those values, don’t need to be maintained.

    2) If we MUST have a Pledge of Allegiance. Why is it to the flag? I can understand the “to the Republic” part and the rest of it as well, which vaguely implies loyalty to the ideals of the Declaration and the Bill of Rights.

    3) If we mention the Creator, which we have good reason to, considering the Founding ideals imply that a nation built on rule of Law cannot found that law on the capriciousness of men and his ever changing feelings and passions, as we see in the current hysterics of ‘racism’, then any term for that Creator, must be as general as possible. God is general. Allah is NOT (and no, Allah isn’t the Arabic word for God). Yahweh wouldn’t be. Para-Brahman wouldn’t be. Zeus wouldn’t be.

    • I likewise wondered about your point 3. I’m not sure how necessary the “under God” is, since we managed quite well without it in the pledge for a long time. I also pondered the same idea- that “Allah” is the deity of a specific religion. The thing is, while “Yahweh” is the proper title of the Judeo-Christian deity, we’re running into a problem of usage. Is Big-G-“God” ever used in this country NOT to refer to Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian god?

        • I agree with you, in principle. In practice, while the word “God” SHOULD be nonspecific, usage has turned it into the title of Yahweh, the specific Judeo-Christian god. (When used with out “a” in front of it. One nation under a god would have different connotations). I’ve made no secret of my annoyance with language shifts like this, but once the word has taken on a new connotation it’s a bit disingenuous to say “No, no, it doesn’t matter that the only time people use “God” as a name they mean one specific god, you should think of it as whatever it means to you”

  3. I firmly disagree with your point in number 4. You can’t just expect everyone to dicide that the concept of being middle eastern is evil forever because of what a group of evil men did- that’s the logic that spreads hate and gets Sikhs beaten because of their turbans. The language, quite frankly, isn’t evil, and a decade’s separation should probably be enough to stop inspiritng the instinctive cry of “BUT THE TERRORISTS” whenever anything from the mideastern/Arabic/Islamic world gets noticed.

    Saying the pledge in various languages could be pretty cool- if, say, they set aside one day each week to say the pledge in some other language, that would be interesting. If they ONLY did one other language, it’s weird and off-putting, and makes the “multicultural” club look more like a “this one specific other culture” club.

    • I don’t believe I said “forever.” Did I say “forever”? My analogy was Russian during the Cold War. That analogy remains valid. Do you dispute it?

      When I don’t have to have a TSA agent’s hand fondling my gonads every time I fly, I’ll discuss lifting the “Arabic is the language of America’s sworn enemies” principle. When Comedy Central can spoof Allah and Mohammed the way it does Jesus and God without getting death threats, that will also factor in. When Islam itself officially rejects its sacred violent verdict for all “non-believers” and “infidels,” then I’m perfectly willing to consider the language as benign as Spanish.

      My objection to the use of the language doesn’t mean that I assume every user is a terrorist, spy or insurgent. Certainly I don’t. But it is a the language of the terrorists that most concern us today, with good reason, and that’s too much cognitive dissonance for me, I’m afraid.

  4. According to the almighty Wikipedia, , the Arabic word for G-d is the one that was used. It is not a proper name and, per Wikipedia, is the same word used by Christians and Jews when speaking Arabic to refer to their deity. If you are going to translate the Pledge into Arabic, it is nonsense to use any word other than the proper Arabic word. If you are going to have students recite the Pledge in foreign tongues as being respectful of other cultures, but refuse Arabic, that is wrongful discrimination.

    • The word اله “ilāh” is the term for generic god or deity. الله‎ “Allah” is the specific word used by Muslims for referring to whom they believe to be the actual true God, and by extension, his name.

      • “Al” is merely the definite article. Thus, it means The G-d. It is the same term used by Arabic speaking Jews, Christians and others, to mean what they understand to be the monotheistic deity. When we say “under G-d” in the Pledge, with “G”, not “g”, it is the grammatical equivalent of saying “under The G-d”, whose direct translation, and only proper translation, into Arabic was as rendered by the school. If Arabic had a name, like YKVK is the name as called by Jews, and that was the word used in the translation, that would be different.

        • This is still simply inaccurate. Yes, “Allah” literally means “The God”. But culturally it means “The One True God that We Muslims Worship”. When Arabic speaking Jews and Christians use the term to refer to “The One True God that We Jews/Christians Worship” is a cultural anomaly from years of subjugation to Islamic rule. It doesn’t hold as a rebuttal to the notion that the word “God” in English is as close to a generic term one can get.

          Again, “Allah” is the word for the god Muslims worship. “Ilah” is the word for “God”.

          That we exist in a culture, where predominant (read as Judeo/Christian tradition) usage of the generic “God” means “Yahweh” or “Elohim”, doesn’t change that “God” is still a generic term.

        • I’m inclined to agree, Jay- It’s just sticking yoru head in the sand to ignore the fact that the word “God” with a big G has obtained the specific connotation of the one Monotheistic Judeo-Christian deity.

          • Who’s ignoring that in a culture predominantly Judeo-Christian, that the generic use of God tends to refer to Judeo-Christian God?

            You are, however, sticking your head in the sand ignoring that God is the generic term, and it’s use does not compel inference to Yahweh or Elohim…

            • I specifically agreed with you that is what the word means as per dictionary definition. That’s not how it’s used in modern America. I know what the word SHOULD mean and also what it’s USED to mean, and they aren’t the same. I suppose you suggest that “faggot” just means a bundle of firewood, too, since that’s what the word REALLY means?

    • Oh, it’s ridiculous to have the Pledge recited in any other language, all right, but it is especially icky to recite it in the language of current sworn enemies of the U.S. For different reasons, I find it icky to recite it in Spanish, the language of so many self-righteous illegal immigrants who feel they are justified is stealing citizenship.

      Reciting the Pledge in other languages is disrespectful of OUR culture.

        • The United States of America, its citizens, diverse traditions, history and institutions. You know. Culture.
          By definition, those who would destroy our culture, ignore it or substitute theirs for ours are not part of that culture.

          • The US has absorbed and modified our culture since it’s inception, a process that will no doubt continue into the future. Nor do all citizens have the same culture. For a large number of citizens, bilingualism is part of the culture. Why not celebrate your patriotism using all of your culture? Should I not eat hummus at the next 4th of July picnic?

            • Ridiculous. American culture has, at it’s heart, been about the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Those don’t modify.

              We have “absorbed” as you put it (assimilate is a much better phrase), other immigrants for the first 2 centuries of our existence. When we say “assimilate” we mean that, in terms of *practical* culture, Americans and newly arrived Americans are quick to abandon the impractical facets of the Old Cultures and cleave to the useful facets. That is, when immigrants arrived, if there was an aspect of the old culture that was less useful or effective, it was quickly abandoned, while the receiving culture gradually began utilizing the useful aspects of the arriving culture.

              That was the melting pot that rapidly caused all cultural strengths to combine into ONE American culture while burning off all the weaknesses.

              But no more. We abandoned “Melting Pot” America for “Multicultural” (balkanized) America… for most of us under feel good objectives… for the originators of that idea for Machiavellian needs to divide the nation against itself for usefulness at the ballot box.

              In light of that, your food preferences are completely IRRELEVANT and an idiotic rebuttal strategy.

      • Some Cubans, Venezuelans, etc., are sworn enemies as well. Many Arabs are not sworn enemies. Your attempt to distinguish lacks foundation. Further, the Republic, for which the flag stands, guarantees Free Speech; it does not specify language. We have no official state language. Given that the purpose of the Pledge is for people to actually pledge their allegiance, it is right and proper for it to be spoken in as many languages as might be understood.

  5. I don’t think #4 is really lack of role models (although that could play a part). I think it is more that the students are behaving rationally given the environment they find themselves in. Every other day there is a story about an over zealous school administrator enforcing a brain dead zero tolerance policy to destroy a student. I wouldn’t cause a scene if I knew I could be expelled at any moment for trivial bullshit either.

  6. Frankly, I think this is a silly, pointless exercise that defeats the purpose of the Pledge and insults students’ abilities to understand the world at large. Insofar as that’s unethical, then this unethical.

    It’s also troubling to assign the name of a specific God, rather than a generic one, but that links back to the discussion of whether the phrase “under God” (or “under a supreme being and/or intelligent force and/or within a complex neutral universe”) should be there at all.

    But the language itself is a neutral factor. Yes, we have negative associations with Arabic and Allah, but those associations come from a limited number of speakers and worshippers. My completely innocent great-grandmother spoke Arabic, for instance, and we sing/speak it regularly in church. You can’t assign malignance to an entire language, race, or faith (usually), and I suspect that was the message the school intended to send. So I can’t call them unethical in this specific sense.

    TL:DR: If we decide Arabic is evil as a language, the terrorists win.

    • Sadly, I believe that they have already won. Our first response to 9/11 was to invade Afghanistan (I think both a good thing and totally necessary). Then we passed the Patriot Act, abrogating several long-held rights, we made it impossible to get on an airplane without suffering through an unconstitutional, unreasonable search and seizure and our current President has bowed to the crowned head of another country. Along the way, we invaded Iraq, based on faulty intelligence, we instituted a system of listening to or gathering data on private phone calls, and we have eaves-dropped on numerous once-friendly heads of state. Finally, we have managed to alienate our only true friend and ally in the middle east. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but all this and more have we done in response to 9/11, in the Name of Homeland Security (that name still gives me chills. I guess we are lucky he didn’t call it Fatherland Security).
      So yeah, we have already lost. Absolutely the only way we could have won is to rebuild the Twin Towers exactly as they were, add an extra floor and gotten on with our lives as though this attack had accomplished nothing. Unfortunately, we didn’t…we allowed ourselves to be terrorized and responded accordingly. Sad, but true.

  7. You can’t assign malignance to an entire language, race, or faith (usually), and I suspect that was the message the school intended to send.

    I agree with this portion. Arabic is the official language of 25 countries, some of whom we get along with quite cozily. Our enemies are stateless, and speak a variety of languages. I think it as huge overreaction to single out Arabic as being somehow a “bad” language, spoken by “bad” people.

    • Languages aren’t evil. Languages are neutral. Under certain conditions, languages can connote negative things, and for certain purposes, are inappropriate. Would you have supported a Japanese or German rendition of the Pledge in a high school in 1944?

    • Hell, it’s worth noting the majority of Muslims aren’t even Arab speakers to begin with; Iranians, Afghans, and Pakistanis are mostly Indo-European speakers, and that’s not even getting into the Turks, the actual Caucasians, or the Central and Southeast Asians.

      And of course, it’s worth noting that even nowadays, the majority of Arabs living in the US are still Christian, though that trend is changing.

      • Absolutely worth noting. Also worth noting that millions of patriotic Americans spoke German in their homes during WWII, and many of those served in Europe. And it still would have been icky to lead the class in a German version of the Pledge in 1944…

        • Not to mention the Nisei who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe, with distinction. Reciting it in Japanese would be equally icky.

        • Are you actually conflating a specific nation with whom we were at war, and a group of stateless terrorists from no particular place, some non-specified number of which speak a certain language?

          • It’s not conflating, and radical Islam is an identifiable, declared, armed, deadly and self-announced enemy. The fact that the “war on terror” approach is obviously too broad and open-ended doesn’t make the current fanciful “conflict? What conflict?” approach of this administration responsible or honest. That is to say that Arabic is the language of choice of a current organized hostile force, unless that was Esperanto I heard those guys screaming as the plane went down in PA, and this nation under Allah was their objective. It shouldn’t be hard to grasp that even through years of diversity indoctrination, or why promoting that in school by fiat is obnoxious.

              • No, but radical Islamists speak Arabic. That’s what makes it icky. You did read the post, right? I didn’t say it was unethical, or should be banned. I said it was stupid and offensive. And it is.

                • Guilt by association of same language=unethical, period.

                  And icky??? Really? What the F.

                  Very ‘intellectual’ choice of words… And telling about the framing of this whole topic.

                  To use similar logic, the vast majority of the corrupt hedge fund managers and bankers that stole billions of dollars in September 2008 speak English. Therefore, me not choosing ‘Spanish’ when I go to the ATM to get money instead of ‘English’ makes me… Icky? Guilty of fraud & racketeering..?

                  Hilarious red herring. You can fool some of the people some of the time…

                  • It ill becomes you to intentional misconstrue what is pretty obvious.

                    Q: would it be unsettling, stupid and offensive to have school children recite the pledge in German in 1944?
                    I have asked this question three times in this thread, and nobody has dared to answer. (No, I don’t see a difference.)

                    Q: You really see nothing off about making kids speak of “one Nation under Allah” when we were attacked by a culture under Allah that makes no distinction between religion and government? Really? Really? REALLY?

                    “Icky” is a direct reference to The “Ick Factor”, a useful term of art here. You need to get out more…

              • What? Don’t use arguments that imply you lack an elementary grasp of things, because you don’t.

                But in case any quiet readers don’t grasp the elementary– we didn’t invade Saudi Arabia because they didnt train, equip,fund or provide haven like Afghanistan did.

  8. Controlling language controls meaning. Attempts to control or manipulate language should be viewed as attempts to ultimately control and manipulate thought.

    • Your comment lacks context. A common language aids communication and the essence of culture generally, which is agreed-upon values and norms. If one can’t express the same concepts, you can’t formulate or use them in the abstract in a useful way. To some extent all culture is a process of influencing thought. As it happens, because it is so versatile and cannibalizes other languages whenever a concept is discovered that English doesn’t describe, English allows the most precision of common expression, and thus encourages diversity and creativity. The lack of a common language makes control of conduct by authority easier.

      So what was your point? Banning languages isn’t on topic; EA is on record against banning any words at all, in any language.

      • In support of that, as it happens that our Founding principles are written in English, it MUST be accepted, that the English words chosen carry the full meaning of the messages they intended to convey.

        That we know inevitably certain words lose meaning or modify meaning in translation, English must be considered the common language. It’s as simple as that. Purely practical… nothing ethnocentric about it.

        • The fact that this is even a controversial assertion is shocking and bewildering. Human history proves its validity. The diversity obsession is one of those toxic Bizarro notions that decades of backwards liberal cant somehow imbedded in the public mind without benefit of experience or valid reasoning…like Sotomayor’s inisistance that preventing race-based admissions that discriminate against whites based on skin color can possibly be “racist.”

          It is “The March of Folly” on a grand scale.

          • Learning about different cultures IS important. And once Americans learn a little bit more about the rest of the world and can identify Ukraine on a map, then maybe we can scale back a bit.

            • Criminy. I figured someone would drum out that idiotic meme eventually.

              Having avidly followed the Ukraine crisis from its beginning, and I mean avidly, when the first reports began circulating “The less Americans know where Ukraine is, the more they want to bomb it”, I sighed.

              So a survey came out asking Americans to point to Ukraine on a map. Turns out 1 in six hit Ukraine perfectly within its borders. But what is reported… “5 in 6 Americans don’t know where Ukraine is” Technically accurate. However, looking at the distribution map, one discovers that including the exact hits, about 5 out of 6 Americans know where in the world Ukraine is, even if they don’t hit the exact country, they hit next to it.

              That is acceptable.

              The other question on the survey was roughly “do you support intervention”, I don’t recall if it was a yes/no or a sliding scale. But from that question derived the idiotic comment: “the more they want to bomb it”.

              But what’s the push for geographic perfection anyway, Beth? Can you tell me exactly where Tajikistan is? How about Uruguay… no no, don’t confuse it with Paraguay.

              How about the Spratly Islands? Now there’s a location that actually has strategic importance similar to the Ukraine. As those islands form an integral chain of containment between South Korea, through Japan, Taiwan, and down to our Allies north of Australia.

              Why not? Because it doesn’t keep you from living your life as a productive and useful citizen, that’s why you can’t point out those places perfectly on a map.

              Step off your intellectually arrogant high horse.

              • I am not intellectually arrogant — I am just intelligent, there’s a difference. As for the Ukraine poll, I only mentioned it because it was timely. It is a well known fact that Americans generally suck at it. They also couldn’t (and can’t) identify Iraq, Iran, Vietnam or the myriad of other places where there has been US conflict.

                Heck — and now we’re getting off the subject of geography — most high school students believe Russia was our ENEMY in the last two world wars. (And I mean on paper — not the race for Europe that was present in WWII.) My point stands — Americans (generally) are dumb, dumb, dumb when it comes to other countries and cultures. Making us a little more knowledgeable about the world does not make us any LESS American. It just makes us smarter.

                • As soon as that standard applies across the board for all “commoners” of all countries, I’ll consider it a valid virtue. Alas, having traveled to many countries, their “average Joes” are just like ours, knowledgeable about their immediate surroundings and relevance, but lacking knowledge and only stereotypes about the larger globe.

                  I’d love to see the Iraq and Iran surveys… probably similar to the Ukraine one, that most people got *close enough*. And that’s fine.

                  I will concede that the staff and reporters at CNN probably have no clue where Ukraine is.

                  • Tex, you’re better than this. Standardized testing (a/k/a evidence) demonstrates that Americans are idiots when it comes to geography compared to other first world countries — your anecdotes are not evidence, just anecdotes.

                    • In that case, though, one solution is to devote more class time to world history and culture–which may include learning an Arabic song or poem and discussing its meaning, context, and origin. Teaching an American recitation in a ripped from the headlines foreign language just seems like a sad waste of effort in this direction.

                    • I certainly agree with Wednesday Woman re her point. I would have picked a different song, poem, story as well — but just because it would have been more meaningful.

  9. The “God issue” aside, reciting the pledge of allegiance, or in general, having English be our national language is an important binding agent for our American culture. America was settled basically by white, Anglo-Saxon Christians; since the mass immigrations of the 19th century and onward, we have become the melting pot of nations — with different races, national origins, religions, languages, etc. The ONLY thing that binds us together culturally — aside from the fact that (though it is apparently too sentimental to discuss) we all want to live in America and believe in the precepts of our democratic republic — is our language. That language is English.

    And I don’t want to hear about how multi-culturalism would be denied with a national language. How many people know that the national language of India is ENGLISH? Why? Because there are so many dialects in India that after the British left it was wisely decided that the best way for everyone to communicate was in one language, and not try to run a government and a culture with a multiplicity of languages which only serve to hamper communication. English was the chosen language. It works. (And parenthetically, that’s why all the terrific scientists and doctors who emigrate here speak English beautifully, and with a lot more precision than the crap I’ve read by others posting on this issue.)

    Thus, politics and terrorism aside, it is stupid, divisive, and counter-productive to translate the pledge of allegiance into another language. Hate to be one, but if you really want to be an American, then learn the language. That language is English.

  10. I am still trying to understand why that Coca-Cola commercial during the Super Bowl had “America the Beautiful” sung in so many non-English languages. I wish there was some way to trace the impact of that commercial to increased (or decreased) sales of the beverage. Without such, I can’t help suspecting that the commercial was a deliberate, spiteful poke into the figurative eye of a particular culture (in the middle latitudes of North America) that speaks English. Maybe the “poke in the eye” inference should be a “cram down the throat” inference. I agree with what wyogranny, said at 2:42 pm, again, as usual.

    • As the son of people who never set foot in the States until they were in their 20s, I saw it more as a “here’s all the various countries that we Americans have originated from” (and I would think the symbolism of having the opening and closing words of the commercial still sung in English would be clear to anyone).

      • Well-spoken, Julian. It drives me nuts when people don’t grasp the difference between “You have to give me a judge/IRS agent/form in my native language because I won’t learn English” and “Hey, look at the huge variety of places Americans come from as we hat tip to them with this cultural reference!”

      • No Julian, the symbolism of the opening and closing being sung in English was not clear to me. If it was not clear to me, then it certainly was lost on almost everyone who was watching, regardless of their origins. I am glad you caught that. By the time the commercial was almost over, I was thinking: “What IS this? An attempt to sell Coca-Cola? A celebration of multi-lingual Americans? A suspenseful tease of viewers, until one could exclaim, ‘There’s one of ME! One of US!’ Exaltation of the idea of no primary language in the U.S.? An attempt at poetry, with the mix of audio and visual scenes of what lies within U.S. territory?” It still puzzles me. Here we talk about it, with no motivation to buy more Coca-Cola.

  11. 1. It is an odd day where I agree with just about everything written by Jay Wolman.
    2. Have you all gone mad? The U.S. has always been a land of immigrants, most of whom didn’t speak English when they got here, or had a tough time learning because of age or other factors.
    3. Would you deny a Mexican-American the right to say the Pledge in his native language? Many Americans speak Spanish now — including GWB. What if that person spoke English too, would it then be okay?
    4. If someone wants to recite our pledge in ANY language it shows both respect for the Pledge itself and acknowledges that America is made up of many cultures. I think it is cool. I hope they continue the tradition and choose a different language each time.
    5. My 5 year-old had to sing songs and say certain lines in Hindi for her school’s International Day just a few weeks ago. She then had to do the same lines/songs in English since the audience was primarily English-speaking. Teaching kids to respect/celebrate other languages and cultures does NOT mean that we are teaching them to be anti-American — we simply are teaching them about the rest of the World.

    • 1. It is an odd day where I agree with just about everything written by Jay Wolman.

      What do you have against Jay?

      2. Have you all gone mad? The U.S. has always been a land of immigrants, most of whom didn’t speak English when they got here, or had a tough time learning because of age or other factors.

      How is that germane to anything? And they learned the language, as part of becoming Americans. Then Jimmy Carter decided they didn’t have to bother. Good plan.

      3. Would you deny a Mexican-American the right to say the Pledge in his native language? Many Americans speak Spanish now — including GWB. What if that person spoke English too, would it then be okay?

      Who said anything about denying anyone the right to say whatever they want in any language they want? I had no problem with the Superbowl ad. The post was about an American school dictating that the students had to give the Pledge in Arabic, which was NONE of their languages, as far as we know.

      4. If someone wants to recite our pledge in ANY language it shows both respect for the Pledge itself and acknowledges that America is made up of many cultures. I think it is cool. I hope they continue the tradition and choose a different language each time.

      Part a. See above. Whatever anyone wants to do.

      Part b. Crap. Nothing cool about forcing people to adopt the trappings of cultures with no relevance to them.

      5. My 5 year-old had to sing songs and say certain lines in Hindi for her school’s International Day just a few weeks ago. She then had to do the same lines/songs in English since the audience was primarily English-speaking. Teaching kids to respect/celebrate other languages and cultures does NOT mean that we are teaching them to be anti-American — we simply are teaching them about the rest of the World.

      I fully applaud teaching children as much about other cultures as possible. Teaching them the Declaration of Independence in Swahili is ridiculous.

      • You are so wrong. I learned France’s National Anthem in both French and English. Is it disgraceful for me to sing it in English? Nope.

        Cold War is over Jack (despite current saber rattling). You are looking at this through the wrong lenses.

        Were these kids forced to do it, or is this a voluntary club? No one should be forced to say the Pledge — in English or any other language.

        Jay’s an old drinking buddy, but we don’t talk politics.

        • The club doing it, I have no problem with. None. The club had the administration have the whole school reciting the Pledge in Arabic. That is different symbolically, and in reality.

          And I didn’t say singing anything in any language was “disgraceful.” But the lyrics in French make it a different song.

      • The poem at the Statue says:
        Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
        With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
        Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
        A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
        Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
        Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
        Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
        The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
        “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
        With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
        Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
        I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

        Does any of this say “Let your teeming masses speak any other language but English”? No, it doesn’t. Now. this poem doe not take on the force of law, but it does say that we are the golden door, for any who wish to be free. Being free does not assume that you get to speak a “Native Language” to describe your God. What it does assume is that you get to worship your God in whatever you see as the proper way to worship Him. When you say “under God” in the pledge of allegiance, all that you are saying is that you believe in some sort of controlling authority that has made this country great. If that is not the case, I’m not sure what you are trying to say. What it DOES say, is that, without the force of law, we want everyone who wants to come here and be an American, to come. I don’t know that the “Under God” part of the Pledge is necessarily what we want to say, but I do know that the “Republic for which it stands” is important. I don’t know what else to say. We are a country of diverse cultures, all of which have melded into what is now an AMERICAN CULTURE. Ben Franklin said it best when he said ” We are a new culture, more violent, etc.”.

        At this point, I have no other thing to say. We are who we are. Iagree with Jack that the “under God” clause should not have been added, but sincee it has been, where do we go from here? I don’t know but agreeing that Islamic terrorists have right s is not the right way.

      • “cultures with no relevance to them”

        Yeah! God forbid that we teach children about cultures they aren’t part of, or at least closely affiliated with. They might start thinking Arabic people are OK!

  12. Of course Jack,

    This being Colorado… now they can have a Stoner’s Pledge of Allegiance….

    “Hey man, I pledge, like, Allegiance, you know, to the flag…”

  13. On a side note…how educational is it to teach kids phrases from languages that they aren’t learning?

    I can’t think of a more useless example of busywork. “Ok, kids, take an hour to memorize these sounds the meaning of which you don’t know, so that you can say the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic, which you will of course have completely forgotten by tomorrow and which wouldn’t have been any use to you even if you retained it, because it’s the one thing on Earth that you would never have the opportunity to say should you visit an Arab country. On second thought, maybe we should have taught you to say, ‘hello’ in Arabic, gosh, we’re kinda stupid.”

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