“Under God”?

Author’s photo, July 2006

W.J. Astore

My dad liked to save things, so today I came across an old pamphlet from 1940 or so that contained the Pledge of Allegiance as it was then. Here it is:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

It’s a good pledge, I think, though it’s wordy and focused on a piece of cloth. How about something like this instead?

I pledge allegiance to our republic, our unity, and our love of liberty and justice for all.

I think that captures the meaning of the Pledge, assuming we feel the need to have one.

You’ll note, of course, what’s missing: the idea our nation is “under God.” That sentiment was added only in the 1950s in response to McCarthyism and fears of communism. If you’re committed to God’s commands, especially His call to love thy neighbor, you really don’t need to brag about it in the Pledge. Of course, many Americans believe in gods, or no god at all, so an inclusive pledge of unity shouldn’t mention god at all.

My father’s generation endured the Great Depression and helped to win World War II, arguably the last war America truly won, without constantly pledging they were “under God.” We should follow their example.

Addendum: When I last wrote a column on the Pledge, a savvy reader made this comment: I remember from grade school when Under God was added. It was shortly after Under Your Desks.

62 thoughts on ““Under God”?

  1. I think we could make the Pledge even shorter:

    I pledge allegiance to our republic, our unity, and our love of liberty and justice.

    The “for all” is implied, or it should be.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brings back memories of those of us who recited the pre-1954 pledge. After the first comma, the older boys would say, “One naked individual with liberty and justice for all”

    Do any other countries require such a pledge as this before many public events and even municipal government meetings?


    1. To Bart Hansen: Your question is very interesting. I don’t know the answer to it. But I have lived or spent long periods in a number of countries and have nowhere that I have been have observed such a pledge. In many countries, much is made of singing the national anthem at various events; and many countries exhibit flag worship. (Fortunately, I live in a country that does neither.) But as far as I know—and I emphasize that I don’t think that I know everything—Nazi Germany is the only example that I know of that comes close. Their principle pledge of allegiance, “Heil Hitler”, was much simpler than the American pledge of allegiance and was not a pledge to either a flag or a state but to a Führer. Maybe others know more and can name other examples. But it strikes me that requiring such a pledge from the general populace goes far beyond the simple expectation of patriotism. My guess is that other examples, if any, will come out of highly authoritarian contexts. So it looks to me like a sign of hypocrisy in a country that claims to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. As for God, I suppose that everyone knows of the inscription on Wehrmacht belt buckles, “Gott mit uns”. But that predates Hitler and the Nazis, and in fact many countries would claim to have God on their side, especially in war. That’s still a far cry from the American pledge of allegiance with (or without) “under God” included. To Mr. Astore, I would ask: Why not shorten the pledge to zero?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure. We could do without a pledge.

        But, if we have one, why not make it short, simple, and meaningful? “I pledge allegiance to our republic, our unity, and our love of liberty and justice.”

        Fifteen words. Or none.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have never accepted the notion that there is a “need” to play anyone’s national anthem at ANY domestic event (e.g. an NFL game, a “World” Series game, etc.). At international events, like the Olympics, it is customary to play the anthems of both teams in a match between two nations, and the anthem of the victor at the Medals Ceremony. That I can live with. But at the international sports events I’ve attended in person–three World Championships of Track & Field, back when I had the money to travel–I always cringed with embarrassment when my fellow citizens would chant “USA! USA!” on behalf of the US competitors. Turns my stomach even watching such an event on TV.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If you look at American money, it says on it, “In God We Trust”. What the American flag stands for is, precisely, the dominion of money—not a republic, not a democracy, nor brotherhood, nor love of one’s neighbor, nor solidarity, or anything else. “One nation, under money” would be the appropriate pledge (in terms of honesty). In any case, the idea of pledging allegiance to a FLAG has always struck me as bizarre. And the idea of forcing this upon school children is hypocritical, indeed, tyrannical. In my book, allegiance has to be earned, not pledged unconditionally as an instrument of indoctrination. When the kids grow up, they can decide whether the United States of America has earned their allegiance, just as they ought to be able to decide whether or not they believe in God (and if so, what God) and what, if any, religion they adhere to. But that’s not what the masters of the universe want, is it . . . ?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If the Russians were buried deep in US Government computers for months, and were as EVIL as US Propaganda wants us to believe, they would have done the worst damage by now. Remember the 2010 US-Israeli virus Stuxnet, that did real damage to Iran’s Computer systems?

    Don’t doubt for a minute, the CIA does hacks like Russians are being accused of doing.The US delusional belief in it’s own exceptionalism means the CIA can hack other nations, but no other Nation do to the US what the US does routinely. That’s War!

    Wikileaks revealed the CIA’s tool box of hacker tricks, and one of them is the ability to invade or damage another Country’s Computer Systems, and mask their trail with bread crumbs leading to an innocent targeted scapegoat.

    When US Politicians are hyping this to the level of War, the People should pay much closer attention, think, and ask questions, or they may die because of the decisions make in SECRET, by such an extremely small minority among all the People.
    Millions of Lives are potentially at stake, not only Russian and American.

    Over 2 Generations ago, as Americans were celebrating their 1776 Revolution, The Kansas City Times publishing this on September 13, 1976 with the picture of me wearing my trademark #13 jersey,

    “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November TO DO GOD’S BIDDING: To tell the world, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered […] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. “The gold dome is the symbol of BABYLON,” he said.” […] He wanted to bring to the Public’s attention an “idea being put out subtly and deceptively” by the government that we have to get prepared for a War with Russia.”

    That 1976 FUTURE is NOW with the Revelation of the details GENERALLY unfolding in the spirit of the letter. This latest hysterical anti-Russian Propaganda is just the latest phase unfolding along that 1976 line.
    The TV Movie, ‘The Day After’ Kansas City was incinerated in a Nuclear Holocaust was shown November 20, 1983.
    Most probably I was the only person on Earth watching it that night, to notice at THE END, the movie pauses at the exact same picture frame The Kansas City Times in their follow up report on ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976, published 7 years earlier.

    You calculate the chance and ODDS of those FACTS of History. It is only co-incidence, or design? You can judge for yourself following the link below.

    Most People would not know “this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered” are the 1st 2 parts of the 3 part Writing on the Wall from Daniel 5 during the Captivity of Babylon.
    Most People do know what the adage ‘The Writing’s on the Wall” means.

    The king of BABYLON threw a feast for 1000 of the Elite of the kingdom, and they praised
    the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone.
    In other words, from then to now, It’s the Economy, Stupid!
    It can no longer be ignored with COVID-19.
    The Kansas City Times, September 13, 1976, ‘Prophet Chooses Park For Vigil’
    The Kansas City Times, ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976, ‘Prophet Plans Appeal Of Conviction’



    1. “When US Politicians are hyping this to the level of War, the People should pay much closer attention, think, and ask questions…” Ray, you just put your finger on one of the greatest FAILINGS of the citizens of USA in this day and age.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Bill, thank you for this article. It was the perfect segue for me to introduce the History and experience in my life under God 45 years ago.
      I’m glad I’m still alive and doing well in my 77th year, to be able to point to the Historical Record and Marker of Time.

      Only those genuinely interested will take the Time to consider, connect the dots, and see the Spirit that moves me to action.


      1. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt UTEJACK. If you’re one of the 2 people from here following the link, you know this detail in planting seeds,

        The Republicans were spooked as I walked softly carrying my big stick, approaching every Senator, Representative and Delegate talking in small groups within the much larger crowd for the week of the Convention in Kansas City in the Spirit of ’76.

        My approach was always the same, “Good Day! My name is Ray, and I would like to talk to you about some issues.” Just like that, Poof! They would melt away and disappear in the larger crowd for 4 Days.
        I had to change tactics. Before I started the hike from Venice Beach, California to Kansas City, a Southern Belle gave me a pamphlet with a cover of white stars in a blue background. In the centre was a red oval and written in script, “Constitution of the United States of America”

        As I entered the Lobby, everyone seeing me approach, would see the pamphlet covering my heart and the 3 of my #13 jersey, not knowing I’m Canadian.
        For the 1st time, a real spontainous Convention Demonstration happened, and a crowd gathered around and started peppering me with questions?
        As soon as the crowd formed, Republican Party Whips descended on the scene and told me I had to leave the Hotel.
        Asking why, I’ll never forget their exact words, “you can’t walk around here carrying a club”
        My thought on hearing that was, ‘Jesus! They have the power, that they’re so paranoid they see my stick as a club!’

        i told them they don’t have the power to kick me out and to call the Hotel Manager. He arrived and told them I have his permission to go anywhere I want in his Hotel.
        But the Republican Whips did their job. The crowd dispersed, but then something better happened.

        As I continued, there was President Ford himself, with his hands on the railing of the Mezzanine and a large retinue of some 25 people standing around him.
        Getting his attention when I asked, “how are you Today, Sir?” and looking at me in the Lobby below the 10′ high Mezzanine, he replied, “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
        Lifting up the pamphlet toward him said, “I’m doing great, but I’d love to talk to you about the Constitution of these UN-United States.” In a nanosecond, the President and his large retinue, like a single cell amoeba, moved right along.

        The UN-United States is even more fractured these 44 years later


  5. The Key Seizure Class Concepts inculcated in the proles through endless repetition beginning in childhood: not “gawd” and not “allegiance,” but UNDER and SERVILITY. As in . . .

    The Boobie Pledge of Subservience
    (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

    I offer my obedience
    I pledge undying love
    To any symbol formed to serve
    The needs of those above
    Who rightly feel that I deserve
    The fist inside the glove

    I stand and mumble publicly
    With fear upon my brow
    Lest some mistake my silence for
    An insufficient vow
    Let all who see and hear me know
    How easily I cow

    Authority need never fear
    I swear I know my place
    I pledge to take the gauntlet slapped
    Across my beaten face
    The Seizure Class knows I’ll accept
    Chastisement with good grace

    About such things as freedom, I
    Have not the slightest clue
    By birth and class it’s come to THEM
    I know that it’s THEIR due
    To hand me down instructions as
    To just what I must do

    And so I promise faithfully
    To play my scripted part
    Each day I’ll chant Two Minutes’ Hate
    To finish, from the start
    Until I love BIG BROTHER from
    The bottom of my heart

    I swear to do as I am told
    I will not think too deep
    I’ll huddle in conformity
    Just like the other sheep
    To take my whipping like a slave
    And utter not a peep

    I pledge to stand up every day
    Within my schoolroom class
    And mouth my mantras on demand
    Without backtalk or sass
    Until the program makes me a
    Compliant, docile ass

    I swear upon my loyalty
    To stuff my head with fat
    And place my nation “under” “GAWD!”
    Supinely prone and flat
    With me then going “down” “beneath”
    And “lower” “under” that

    I swear to go to Sunday School
    Upon the public dime
    Each morning in my homeroom class
    I’ll mouth my dreary rhyme
    And if I leave out words
    THEY can Indict me for my crime

    I pledge and vow and promise that
    I’ll swear from dusk to dawn
    And never fail to chant or moan;
    To never blink or yawn
    And with each cry of “GAWD IZ GRATE!”
    My own soul I will pawn

    The Papal bulls and fatwas tell
    Me all I need to know
    Which isn’t much because I see
    I’ve nowhere left to go
    I swear to never set my sails
    Against the winds that blow

    The Popes, Imams, and Rabbis tell
    Me what and where and how
    The master’s overseer tells
    Me which row I must plow;
    To toady, genuflect, and crawl;
    To grovel, scrape and bow

    I’ll train to “hurry up and wait”
    And do the Bulgar drills
    To stand at rapt attention dressed
    In military frills
    Just point me and I’ll drop the bomb
    No matter whom it kills

    I pledge and promise on my word
    To do the things I ought
    To work for lower wages
    So my labor comes to naught
    I swear to vote Republicrat
    To prove I can be bought

    The Party keeps us all at war
    Which makes us quake with fear
    And so we give up all those rights
    Our ancestors held dear
    Which saves our enemies the need
    To take them from us here

    But I won’t think of bygone days
    The past I’ll just rewrite
    I’ll call my history “old news”
    To make it pat and trite
    Which sleight of mind will help me keep
    Its lessons out of sight

    With this capitulation I
    Agree to sell my pride
    Before I even own it or
    It grows too big to slide
    Into the shabby, craven cave
    Wherein I must reside

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2005

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Seems Americans must have gotten really encumbered with attention deficit disorder in my lifetime. I was expected to recite the Pledge daily in school, with the “under God” addition, and did so without objection. (My rebellious period was still ahead of me.) I think Nixon should take the blame, with his US flag lapel pin obsession, for the fact that today you can’t go out of your domicile into the wider world without being confronted by images of that flag at every turn. Jeebus, people, can’t you remember in what country you reside without the constant reminder?!? And it goes without saying that a strong majority of the Founding Fathers would vigorously object to the “under God” BS and likely feel the original Pledge was entirely unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never bought onto the god thing, so left out that part at every opportunity, and especially when I was county commissioner and had to lead that chant before every meeting (man, was THAT creepy!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting. Did you consider, as a county commissioner, rebelling against the tradition you were expected to uphold?


  7. And.., now that we’re on this Theme I also wish as far as “National Anthems” are concerned I In My Humble Opinion would much rather have “America” as the National Anthem over “The Star Spangled Banner” any day of the week!!!


  8. A few years ago I saw an article that had the words to various national anthems from around the world. It was almost funny, all the references to fighting, killing, dying, blood and gore, glorious revolution, etc. And for most of them, god was on their side. I’m not a fan of the pledge or national anthems anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Vietnamese defeated the US Military Colossus without calling upon “God” for assistance. The Americans, by contrast, had military chaplains blessing the bombs, including those containing napalm, before the planes were launched. And of course, the puppet regime in Saigon was heavily recruited from the Catholic minority.


  9. Actually, I don’t mind the Pledge as much as the fact we’re not living up to it. Are we a republic or an oligarchy that is degenerating to kleptocracy? Liberty and justice for all — really? Not even close. And “under God”? It sure isn’t my understanding of the Christian god of love. Mammon, maybe.

    So I think we should abandon the Pledge until we earn it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right. If we had liberty and justice for all, there would be less need for the constant calls for law and order. And less need for tear gas.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And there would be no BLM protests on the Streets for Justice against the US Police/Economic/Social State, where Blacks perceive Black Lives don’t matter.
        There would be more Peace Officers on the Streets than Police Officers, and less of them would be needed at great savings to the Treasury.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Noted in passing, re: Kleptocracy–Trump’s personal bankers at Deutsche Bank have reportedly resigned. Hmm, wonder what could be their concerns?? I hear DB was his chief backer (enabler?).

        Liked by 1 person

    2. If Christianity had real Faith in God through Christ Jesus, the People on God’s Earth, after 1967 years, should be closer to implementing Christ’s Vision, ‘Call NO MAN on Earth your Father. We have ONE Father in heaven’ instead of moving further apart.

      If the Book is only a Prism for looking into the World, the overview of what I see in this Material World in OUR Generations, Generally reflect this in the Revelation of the details,

      And the NATIONS WERE ANGRY AND YOUR WRATH is come, and the TIME of the dead, (spiritually dead) that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
      Revelation 11:18
      Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having GREAT WRATH, because he knows that he has but a short time.
      Revelation 12:12

      Everyone can see the WRATH and ANGER growing and unfolding in the Nations, especially in the US, but who can discern WHICH WRATH IS WHICH?

      Living the Love of Christ Jesus, not just speaking about it, saves us from the WRATH OF GOD AND THE WRATH OF THE DEVIL
      With all of that, the Message of the Resurrected Christ for all who accept him is PEACE! HAVE NO FEAR!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m going to bring a bit of levity to this discussion of pledging allegiance. I’m not sure these events shaped my adult perspective; but I’ve kept this story in my back pocket; and share it periodically lest anyone think I was a “ little angel “ as a young child.
    I was in the public school system when we stood at attention by our 1st grade desks every morning with our hand over heart and recited the “ nation under god version” of the pledge of allegiance. I remember laughing a lot as a child, and I also had a love for socializing at inappropriate times in the classroom. My good friend Carl was also a lot like me; and we “got caught” on a fairly consistent basis. There was no discrete in us, and we thought the main focus of public education was to have a good time.
    After repeated attempts at verbal correction didn’t make a dent in our behavior, the full weight of the republic was brought to bear upon us.
    As I recall I t was early in the fall when I was “ at it again”! Mrs.G sternly called out my name and asked me to come up to the front of the class. When I got up to her desk she told me to go stand at attention under our nations flag and “think” about how I should be better behaved and be a better citizen in the classroom. Now I didn’t really know much about why we recited this pledge; and what it was really all about; but as I looked up at old glory from under her Stars and Stripes, she felt much different than when I said the pledge from my desk. From the fall until after the Christmas recess Carl and I made the long walk up to the flag at about an equal pace. He may have out paced me by a bit; but I know I wasn’t far behind.
    When we came back from break we were bursting with energy and had fantastic stories to share; so Carl and I both had taken up our post under the flag several times during the first couple weeks. It was then that I put the last straw on Mrs.G’s camels back. My name rang out and rattled around the wall of our classroom so I marched up to the front of her desk, I expected to be requested to take up my post ‘neath the National Symbol. But, she threw me a curve and asked me to pick up the garbage can beside her desk. I gladly obliged thinking she wanted it to be emptied at the janitors closet down the hall. But, no! She told me to place the can under the flag of our republic and step inside standing at attention until the lesson was over.
    Carl and I met this fate multiple times until summer vacation. I may have passed him by then. But saying the pledge after that year would always bring a bit of a chuckle up from the belly; and I forced that laughter back down from whence it came; so as not to offend the faithful.


      1. I’m sure some headgear would have been added if I was held back for the fall semester ….Mrs. G was highly intelligent
        Sometimes it’s best to pass on the pain in the ass!


  11. Bravo! The pledge IS weird. Thanks for pointing that out.
    I pledge good will and fair dealing to everyone, regardless.


  12. Mike Royko had a great take on the Pledge. He said when he was a boy he wondered why we wanted an invisible nation.

    Of course grown ups know it’s indivisible but as we are soon to see again many don’t know what indivisible means. Up first, the Republic of Texas with President Musk.


    1. Americans died by the hundreds of thousands in 1861-65 (no virus pandemic required) over the matter of secession. D.W. Griffith–who infamously glorified the KKK in his “Birth of a Nation”–made a film about Lincoln in 1930. He has Lincoln repeat a half-dozen times that “The Union must be preserved at all cost.” And the cost was horrific, indeed. Jump to present-day: As I may have commented here recently (I know I posted it somewhere online), I am fine with all hardcore Trumpites moving to Texas so that state can then be set adrift in the ocean. Yeah, I know, it would be a marvel of engineering to achieve that! One can dream still, yes? [If my attitude seems lacking in “Christian charity” at this time of year…too damned bad! (insert maniacally laughing emoji)]

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Wind turbines should be humming out in the mid-Atlantic!! Additional benefit: armadillos would cease to be invasive pests in other parts of the country when their migration routes are severed!


            1. “Country & Western” ain’t my thing, but be assured there are songs about those critters. There was a nightclub in Austin known as Armadillo World Headquarters. Not sure if ‘Kinky’ Friedman had a hand in that. During my Army stay in Texas, sad to say the only armadillos I saw were the squashed ones on the roads. (Or semi-squashed, thanks to their natural armor!)


      1. No pandemic, Mr. Laxer, but, statistically, for every three soldiers who died in combat in the American Civil War, there were five who died of disease, often dysentery, which is a nasty way to go. Pneumonia was also a big one. I don’t know about the “Trumpites”; but if everyone who voted for Trump moved (with their families) to Texas, most of the geographical area of the United States would be virtually depopulated. Better com up with another fantasy.


        1. But, since it is a fantasy, I am free to paint any kind of scenario I wish! And BTW, who says “depopulating” the rest of CONUS would be a bad thing?? More land for those of us who haven’t drunk the KKKool-Aid!


  13. On the subject of animist existentialism as politically appropriated by bible-thumping Americans of both right-wing factions:

    Scapegoat Job Application

    Universal scapegoat wanted
    Applicant(s) apply inside
    No experience required
    Simply pander to our pride

    In our image we will make you
    Nothing you need do or say
    Ambiguity desired
    What you’ve spoken, we will say

    Unpredictable is better
    Less you do, the more we gain
    That way, anything that happens
    Afterwards we’ll just explain

    In your mouth some words inserted
    By our ministers and priests
    Gild the lining of their pockets
    From our meager meals their feasts

    From each one what he produces
    To the church its lustful needs
    You must only never quibble
    With the contents of our screeds

    You must form the perfect mirror
    Simply stand there and reflect
    Into you we’ll pour our darkness
    This, of course, you can’t reject

    We’ll write down what you’ve commanded
    Do not trouble with the “what?”
    Someone else will figure that out
    You just keep your own mouth shut

    Do not feel the least embarrassed
    At the empty praise you get
    Even though you’ve never earned it
    Just pretend and soon forget

    Burnt upon your sacred altar
    Though you’re dead, you’re still not stiff
    On your back our sins we’ll pile up
    Then we’ll shove you off a cliff

    What we do defines our “essence”
    Nothing “is” or ever “was”
    Big spooks in the sky, and little,
    Don’t exist; but “doing” does

    So our learning curve has no slope
    So our E.E.G.-line’s flat
    None can “damn” and none can “bless” us
    Only we can manage that

    So, we’ve got a deal then, don’t we?
    Such an offer, who’d refuse?
    Nothing paid for nothing offered
    That’s what makes you great to use

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2008


  14. More animist existentialism for those Americans who never actually read the truly awful, barbaric scriptures upon the “authority” of which US politicians swear their oaths of office.

    Statutory Religion

    Zeus and Yahweh had a fling.
    They liked that earthly female thing:
    A little Greek, a little Jew,
    They did it like the rabbits do.

    In those days, no man’s law applied;
    If gods desired it, mankind cried.
    If old enough to stab, they bled;
    If old enough to bleed, they bred.

    So here we swirl around in pain,
    With more blood pouring down the drain.
    Upon the wheel mankind revolves,
    While life in violence dissolves.

    The Big Spook way up in the sky
    Keeps screwing over you and I;
    Our sisters and our daughters, too;
    And wives in Utah (quite a few).

    The Big Spook’s got an appetite;
    It likes ’em small; It likes ’em tight;
    It likes ’em big; It likes ’em wide;
    It hasn’t got an ounce of pride.

    No crime the Great Big Spook reproves.
    The Spook will screw it if it moves.
    If it can crawl or walk or run,
    The Spook will screw it just for fun.

    The Spook’s now got an inside track
    For buggering those in Iraq,
    For It has heard the nightly pleas
    Of one dumb Texan on his knees.

    Who wants so much to lead the troops,
    But only in his panties poops.
    The Spook, though, lets George have his way,
    And gives him bullshit words to say.

    “Bad” weddings George has bombed to mush;
    “Safe” houses, too, his bombers crush,
    To spread his own “democracy”:
    In his case, schizoid lunacy.

    The hearts and minds he’s failed to win
    Of those who’ve paid so he could sin;
    But still the Big Spook’s curse he stays,
    As on the world the Big Dick sprays.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2006

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “The very beasts associate the ideas of things that are like each other or that have been found together in their experience; and they could hardly survive for a day if they ceased to do so. But who attributes to the animals a belief that the phenomena of nature are worked by a multitude of invisible animals or by one enormous and prodigiously strong animal behind the scenes? It is probably no injustice to the brutes to assume that the honour of devising a theory of this latter sort must be reserved for human reason.” — Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough: a study in Magic and Religion

    The Labrador works in mysterious ways . . .

    Dog’s Plan

    Dog shared Its plan with George last night
    Which gave him such an awful fright
    He stayed awake till dawn’s first light
    Too scared to run and hide

    Dog’s Plan concerned our land’s defense
    And naked, fierce belligerence
    And dreadful leaders proud and dense
    Who waltzed while others died

    He’d often heard barks just as dumb
    But this one left George cold and numb
    For by the sucking of his thumb
    He knew that Dog had lied

    For Dog had nothing planned at all
    It merely longed to see men crawl
    And women moan and babies bawl
    And peoples petrified

    The Book of Dog contained no clue
    That what appeared as Doggie-doo
    Would sicken not just me and you
    But others, too, beside

    Sometimes George thought he understood:
    Dog wanted him to do some good
    By bombing nature’s neighborhood
    With Power’s pesticide

    But George had garbled up the rhyme
    Which led him then to pantomime
    An offer of Medieval Time
    To those he’d terrified

    He claimed he lived to do Dog’s work
    Yet only seemed to play the jerk
    With curling lip and cynic’s smirk
    Upon his mouth so wide

    His reckless swagger left appalled
    A world aghast at one enthralled
    By perquisites and servants called
    And makeup reapplied

    But mom and Dog had always seen
    That newsmen wore their glasses green
    In Emerald City’s vapid sheen
    And they, of course, complied

    So few observed or told of ills
    As boy George, green around the gills,
    Downed fantasies like poison pills
    Which left whole countries fried

    But Dog said not to sweat the small
    That sycophants would dance on call
    At his inauguration ball
    And have him glorified

    Upon the stage he struts and frets
    A player poor without regrets
    As good as little ever gets
    Absorbed in pompous pride

    His monologue no rhyme consults
    His thought the human mind insults:
    A sound and fury that results
    In nothing signified

    His hour upon the stage unfilled
    The audience leaves hardly thrilled
    At having bought bad tickets billed
    As drama unsupplied

    Reviewers chose to see his clothes
    Where he wore none, which only shows
    How power blinds and money glows
    In circles rarified

    He chose to write his own critique
    Which papers printed: cowed and meek
    Too scared and bought to try and seek
    The truth unsanctified

    He thought himself both shrewd and deft
    Yet brain-wise he had little heft
    His flighty visions only left
    Our nation vilified

    But, anyway, the plagues will come
    They need no fife or beating drum
    To herald where they’re to or from
    This, Dog has certified

    So George was left alone to weep
    Betrayed by Dog, in doo-doo deep,
    As shadows cruel began to creep
    Up on him as he sighed

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2005


      1. Thanks, I think.

        I chose “Dog” because (1) the word corrects millennia of dyslexic misspelling by self-regarding humans and (2) I wished to lampoon — if not vilify — the self-regarding humans who came up with — and continue to ruthlessly exploit — the ludicrous idea of an omniscient/omnipotent (not to mention invisible) something or other (often imagined as an angry, bearded man in a flowing robe) that could do so much to heal the world’s ills but chose to amplify and multiply them instead.

        Anyway, I provided the quote from Sir James George Frazer for context, holding the animals blameless for an idea that only humans in their arrogance and ignorance could devise and project upon something other than themselves. As the greatest and most famous of all Greek poets said thirty centuries ago, imagining the “gods” complaining about what humans say about them:

        Men are so quick to blame the gods: they say
        that we devise their misery. But they
        themselves — in their depravity — design
        grief greater than the griefs that fate assigns.

        — Homer, “The Odyssey” (Allen Mandelbaum verse translation)

        I thought I made pretty clear what species I wished to lampoon, and for what. Any animals who feel offended by comparison to humans can certainly speak (or bark) for themselves.


  16. At her “Ponderments” blog, Denise has some great comments about America’s proliferation of flags, even as people who espouse to be patriots fail to respect the flag.


    All these flags have purposes, one of which I mentioned at her site in this comment:

    Politicians are increasingly surrounding themselves with flags. Trump, of course, hugged (or mugged) one.

    Lots of flags serve to diminish critical thinking. On a subconscious level, people see lots of flags and think more highly of the person in front of them, even when that person is an obvious louse or lout.

    Every politician should be limited to one flag per photo op. Including the flag lapel pin. So if you insist on wearing a pin to virtue-signal how much you love America, no other flags for you.

    When I was in the military for 20 years, we hoisted and saluted one flag, not dozens of them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill, let us know when you’ve successfully lobbied your Members of Congress to pass a law limiting display of US flags!! I appreciate your sentiments, of course, but really! It ain’t gonna fly [insert emoji groaning over pathetic word-play!!].


  17. Happy Holidays Dr. Astore.
    I like your proposed version better than the current version (and I do agree with dropping the “under God” portion.) The Pledge should actually be something more akin to an oath of office. In this case, the office of United States Citizen. Here is the one we both swore as military officers (below). Less fluff, more substance. The pledge should separate the wheat from the chaff.

    “I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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 the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”


    1. Following extremely controversial words about the rich, the workers, and Economic Inequality in THE LAST DAYS, US Christian Leadership hardly ever expounds in any significant way, James 5, that continues on the subject of Oaths,
      But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This reminds me to remind everyone else that there is no mention whatsoever in US Constitution of a need to swear on any kind of deity to faithfully discharge the duties of any office in this land, nor to swear on any kind of “holy book” to give truthful testimony in any level of court in the land. All these revolting perversions crept into tradition over the centuries and legislators, on the whole, never had the guts to oppose them. Which in itself is an insult to “the Founding Fathers”! Hypocrisy, thy name is USA!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Having sworn the POTUS version of such an oath in January 2017, Trump seems to be revealing that his real purpose in seeking the office may have been to issue Presidential Pardons to the sleaziest of his relatives and business cohorts. He has soiled (slimed, if you will) the office of POTUS for many years to come. So sad.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. The military’s oath of office is way too long. The meaning is captured in the first dozen or so words: I solemnly swear to support and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies.

      That’s the true meaning. All that true faith, free obligation, well and faithfully, is unnecessary legalese, don’t you think.

      Or, another approach: The enlistee is asked: Do you solemnly swear to support and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies?

      The answer, “I do,” is all that’s needed.


      1. I like it. Short and sweet, directly to the point, and centered around something specific (the Constitution). The pledge should be similar, basically affirming “I’m in”. Also, an interesting choice of words you used: “I do”. You make me think of how a pledge should be similar to traditional wedding vows (but shorter : ) Simply put: I’m with you through thick and thin.

        “..to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”


      2. “Slight” problem: the current Clown of Cosmic Proportions in the White House is far from the first to have violated the oath with impunity. The Army did not agree with my interpretation of upholding the Constitution when it jailed me for refusing to participate in an undeclared war. “Funny” about stuff like that, huh? Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good day! Now I just await the next power outage from the newest windstorm. Holiday Cheer for sure!


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