Pledge of allegiance and the difficulty of not going with the crowd, to be independently minded

Some time ago, I was at an “pledge allegiance ceremony”.

It just so happened that for me to take such a pledge of allegiance, might have caused a conflict with a possible prior pledge I may have made with a retained connection I could have had.

(sorry for the vagueness, but I really want to be brief here. Plus the fact that this has the potential for page upon page to be written, yet I  must try and discipline myself on time at the computer)

I was quite prominent at that ceremony, and when the time came for the participants to raise their hands and take the pledge, I carried out my decision taken shortly before, not to raise my hand and not make the pledge (I made a different but slightly similar pledge at an event a number of years back – which I have regretted).

I felt very uncomfortable. ‘Prominent me’ was seen by ‘big-wigs’ and video cameras and other participants, to not raise his hand. Time seemed to slow down as this section gradually unwinded, and afterwards there was the usual ‘unity song’.

Thing is, I was actually strongly connected to the organising thing the who set up this pledge, and I have become resonably aquainted with a number of those who enthusiastically sang. God knows what the big-wigs must have been thinking (although I’m sure we could make a reasonable prediction!) and I must have really ruined footage for any ‘unity’ promo-video they might have wanted to make,  although the skills of cutters are incredible.

Even though there’s an arguement that goes something like this: there is no legitimicay in forcing people to do something they don’t want, there is a counter arguement that goes something like this: if you don’t agree then you should not enter a pledge or agreement saying you will go along with it. And actually in the majority of cases, the latter argument seems to the one that holds most power.

I like to think of myself as being fairly (and proudly) individualistic and independent* (perhaps I am a fool to believe that, but in my own estimation, I sure appear to be a lot more independent than others I’ve seen) but I found it very difficult to do what I did, and if I found it difficult and uncomfortable to decide not to go with the flo, so I guess for others with stronger connections than me (surely there were some), then they must have found  it extremely difficult, or even impossible, to resist going ahead, even if they disagreed with what the pledge contained,

Surely people who arrange these pledge type events know all this kind of stuff and it makes me wonder do they do this to deliberately ‘trap’ people into getting swept up with it making them align to things they really don’t want to align with.

It’s not easy to break from the crowd. Now that I’ve overcome the largest barrier, that of doing it for the first time, I hope it will enpower me to do so if necessary in the future.

As Denise Austin said “The hard part is getting started”, or if you’re a ‘self appointed intellectual’ – intellectual snob, Confucius said (the equivalent of) “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”

* which can come at some personal cost.



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