If you don't like NBC for omitting "under God," try this: Don't ever watch NBC again. Seriously. What good will that do, you ask? Well, who knows how it will affect NBC, but you will benefit tremendously.
I've only just started and I'm already way off course. This was never meant to be about NBC's omission of "under God." After all, here's what I care (or, rather, don't care) about NBC and what they do: a rat's ass.
So while I don't care at all about NBC, I do have some questions about the Pledge of Allegiance, starting with this one: Why do we keep saying it? Seems to me that once you take a pledge, whatever you pledged is the new default setting, and silence on the issue means the pledge remains intact.
Does this sound radical? Okay, but how many times do we say our wedding vows? How many times do immigrants take an oath to their new country? How many times during a trial is a witness sworn in? How often do senators, congressman, and presidents take their oath of office? (Here's a good one: How often does the average American openly pledge allegiance to his or her parents, or children?) Admittedly, the answer to some of these examples is more than once in a lifetime (see Gingrich, Newt: serial wedding-vow sayer), but once every two years is as often as it gets (um, except Newt).
And just what does it mean to "pledge allegiance" to the republic? I know how to show my allegiance, but I'm not sure how to pledge it, unless pledging it means I promise to keep on showing it forever and ever. But if that's the case, we're back to the question about why we keep saying it. Isn't it pointless to pledge to do something I'm already doing? Why isn't the doing enough, especially after I have taken the pledge?
Look: I live my allegiance to the republic. I know its history, I pay its taxes, I obey its laws (even the really stupid ones), I understand and respect its Constitution, and I'm raising a really awesome young lady who probably understands the Constitution better than most senators. If you're already walking the walk, why is it so important to talk the talk about promising to walk the walk you're already walking? Or something like that.
JFK famously admonished us to "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." Um, I have never asked what my country can do for me. But now I will ask: What more should I do for my country than I already am? Should I pledge my allegiance every month? Every week? Every day? Whenever peer-pressure in a group setting demands it? The only answer, in a free society, is that the timing and text of any pledge must be determined by the individual making the pledge. Sure, there is an official Pledge of Allegiance, but since a pledge belongs to the one making it, and since any legitimate pledge must be made voluntarily, we, as Americans, are free to say whatever pledge we wish whenever we wish, even if it means amending an existing pledge. (I'm not talking about NBC here, as they were purporting to air the official Pledge.)
Allegiance, of course, is a two-way street. So if we are to follow JFK's admonition, then our servants (hah!) in Washington should "ask not what the American people can do for the country — ask what the country can do for the American people." (Alas, the mindset in Washington is: "Ask what the country can do to the American people.") Maybe we should demand that the clowns in Washington every day recite the Pledge of Allegiance and their oath of office, plus read the Constitution (not to mention all the bills they vote on).
So maybe you're still upset with NBC. Fair enough. But ask yourself this: Which did you spend more time doing last week: watching NBC, or reading, say, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution, or maybe the Federalist Papers or Anti-Federalist Papers, or even the USA PATRIOT Act?