Groupthink

I was pondering the application of what has been termed “groupthink” to various disastrous events in history—the Bay of Pigs, the Iraq War, the Titanic, the Edsel—and by extrapolating I think I see one real danger for the Republican Party … one which is actually easy to rectify. I’m speaking of Grover Norquist’s Pledge which all Republicans have taken insisting that, under no circumstances, will they raise taxes on the Federal and even on the State level.

This pledge is a fine example of groupthink and it is leading to a disaster.

First, anyone taking a pledge to an individual who is totally outside of the government is clearly accepting a treasonous position. Our elected government is pledged to the support of the people and the Constitution of the United States. If, as it certainly appears, a government representative takes a pledge that overrules his governmental responsibilities, that representative is failing to uphold the Constitution and is by definition showing loyalty to someone outside of the government and therefore is committing what is defined as a disloyal, treasonous act.

When does “We the people” mean Grover Norquist?

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What Do You Do?

The AHA is running a poll asking people what they do during the Pledge of Allegiance. The options they allow are:

  • Stay seated
  • Stand quietly
  • Stand and recite but leave out the “under god” part
  • Stand and recite including “under god.”

There was also a roll-your-own option but even as I started to answer the poll, I realized the story was too big for a poll response and decided to answer it here.

First, I am one of those people that learned the Pledge before the Knights of Columbus and the red baiters insisted on the additional phrase being inserted. I still remember one day in school when the teacher instructed us that there had been a change to the pledge and we now had to say “under God.” Probably because the pledge was not written but recited from memory, I had a terrible time remembering just where those new words should go and I made so many mistakes that I started to mumble the words to cover up my confusion.

Looking back on it now, we as kids were required to recite several pledges, some that didn’t even involve Grover Norquist. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the insidious indoctrination that defined most of those pledges. Today I would no more embrace a pledge than I would stick my head in a cryogenic vat:  both would be detrimental to my own independent thought.

So what do I do when it comes time for the Pledge of Allegiance? Well, first I tend not to be present when pledges such as that are expected, but if I slip up and find myself at a Lion’s Club breakfast because a neighbor drug me out, I do not stand and do not recite. Actually, the not standing is because I’m partially disabled and getting up out of a chair is a difficult process. If I could, I would stand, but would not recite. I would stand because I do acknowledge my country and have my own thoughts and feelings about the United States. However, to me a pledge is the same as saying “my country right or wrong.”

Not only is the thought of blind patriotism abhorrent, but it is possibly one of the major detractors from the ability of this country to progress and even survive.

There is also a major problem with those inserted words, “under God.” We could spend a lot of time on this one but suffice it to say that associating the nation with a god is not only wrong, it’s unconstitutional (not an argument I make too often but the conservatives seem to love it). I don’t know about you, but I secretly assume that the “god” being referenced is not the christian god and envision a large stone idol on a primitive Pacific island.

So I sit quietly and respectfully; I don’t chomp on a taco or slurp my soup; I don’t call attention to myself; I don’t acknowledge a supreme being; I don’t mix up church and state; and I don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

What do you do?