The topic of discussion for this Constitution is the connection between children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and patriotism. The topic is in the news because a waiver from an elementary school in Florida was posted on Facebook. The waiver form gave parents the opportunity to opt their child out of “standing and placing his/her right hand over his/her heart” and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. A child’s uncle posted the waiver on Facebook and asked, “What is happening in our country?” Florida has given children an opportunity to opt out of the pledge since 2000, which means the uncle is just becoming aware of the problem.
Jarrett Stepman at The Daily Signal writes that “the casual and increasingly dismissive treatment of even simple patriotic acts is a symptom of deeper trends in American society. The decline of patriotism in American life will lead to profound crisis for the world’s youngest civilization – which has been fortunate enough to maintain one of the oldest, and certainly the greatest, of political systems.”
Stepman further reports that “only 53 percent of adults are `extremely proud’ to be Americans” according to a June Gallup poll. This is a decline of 17 percent since 2003 with the numbers “dragged down in particular by millennials.” He says that these “steadily declining numbers, more than economic malaise or any other factor demonstrate the current fragility unity of the world’s greatest superpower.”
The rising generation apparently is not as patriotic as their parents and grandparents. I believe this loss of patriotism starts in the schools where more and more liberals and progressives have control of our children for five or more hours each day, five days each week, nine months out of the year. The simple fact that a school sends waivers to parents with the opportunity to opt their child out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance indicates the size of the problem in our society.
Stepman continues, “The flippant way in which patriotism is being cast aside in this country makes it vital that Americans attempt to restore patriotic sentiment and understanding of the nation’s traditions for current and future generations. Leaders capable of articulating what has made America unique are necessary, as is a public that has a keen understanding of what ideas are at the cornerstone of the republic.”
One suggestion by Stepman to restore patriotism to our children is following the example of South Carolina, which has a “new law requiring students to study the founding documents” of our nation. I believe students should be required to take a civics class in middle school or high school. I also believe children should be taught the importance of memorizing and saying the Pledge of Allegiance as well as honoring military and veterans. The best way we can teach patriotism is by personal example. Do you love the United States of America? How do you show your love?