Coercive Patriotism

If you've read this blog for some time, you may recall that I am against the ritual rote recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. In short: I do not believe it should happen. Ever. I haven't changed my opinion that it's "a propagandic form of subtle brainwashing when children are made to pledge themselves to [the flag, the country] in a ritual manner."

So you just know that I am, shall we say, less than pleased to learn about this new proposed legislation in Arizona--HB 2467--that will require students to swear an oath to God to uphold the Constitution and defend the country so they can graduate. Oh yes, that's right:
Beginning in the 2013‑2014 school year, In addition to fulfilling the course of study and assessment requirements prescribed in this chapter, before a pupil is allowed to graduate from a public high school in this state, the principal or head teacher of the school shall verify in writing that the pupil has recited the following oath:

I, _________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

If a public school student has fulfilled all other graduation requirements, they should not be required to swear a fucking oath to defend the country in order to get their diploma. No. Just NO. Also, since this is a compelled oath in order to graduate from high school (and presumably move on with life), it cannot inherently be "taken freely without reservation". It will be coerced, not given of freewill as one might when, say, elected to office or joining the military.

And "So help me God"? Um, what the fuck now? Which god would that be? Anyway, nope, public school students cannot and should not be forced appeal to any deity. Ever.

As I said in my post regarding the Pledge, there isn't anything inherently wrong with pledging your own allegiance to a particular country but it should be done of one's own free will. There's also nothing inherently wrong with swearing to uphold and defend the constitution of this country, either. There's a whole fucking lot wrong with compelling students to do so in order to get their high school diploma. It's blind, arrogant nationalism to coerce oaths of "loyalty" to country from kids in order to graduate from high school.

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