Daily Archives: March 10, 2005

“Patriotic” Dumbasses, Junior Division

Today’s idiocy: Md. teen protests foreign language Pledge

A ninth-grader is protesting his school’s decision to broadcast the Pledge of Allegiance in foreign languages as part of National Foreign Language Week.

Patrick Linton said he and other students at Old Mill High School sat down rather than stand Wednesday when the Pledge was read over the school’s public address system in Russian. Linton’s teacher told him if he had a problem he should leave the room.

He did, and did not plan to return this week.

“This is America, and we got soldiers at war,” the 15-year-old said. “When you’re saying the Pledge in a different language which nobody understands, that’s not OK.”

Charles Linton, Patrick’s father, said the use of other languages is disrespectful to the country. “It’s like wearing a cross upside down in a church,” he said.

Leaving aside the fact there is no official language of the US, and therefore there is no “incorrect” language in which to speak the Pledge:

I: [Middle English, from Old English ic.]

Pledge: [Middle English, from Old French plege, probably from Late Latin plevium, a security, of Germanic origin.]

Allegiance: [Middle English alligeaunce, alteration of ligeaunce, from Old French ligeance, from lige, liege. See liege.]

To: [Middle English, from Old English tō.]

The: [Middle English, from Old English the, alteration (influenced by , th-, oblique case stem of demonstrative pron.) of se, masculine demonstrative pron.]

Flag: [Middle English flagge, reed, of Scandinavian origin.]

Of: [Middle English, from Old English.]

The

United: [Middle English uniten, from Latin ūnīre, ūnīt-, from ūnus, one.]

States: [Middle English, from Old French estat, from Latin status.]

Of

America: [from Amerigo Vespucci, Italian explorer].

Not to mention “republic,” “nation,” “indivisible,” “liberty” and “justice,” all of which come from Latin, by way of the French language. Get rid of the words that don’t derive from Old English, and you’ve got “to,” “the,” “of” and “I” in the first phrase, and a similar scattering of words (and “God”) in the rest. Fine words, to be sure, but not a whole lot to go on.

Basically, if it weren’t for other languages, this little jerk couldn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance in his own. Someone should tell him that. Someone might also mention it to his dad. Someone might also mention to them that the Pledge means the same thing in whatever language one wishes to speak it; the words are not so unusual that they don’t directly map onto any language one might choose.

Suggesting the Pledge needs to be spoken in English to have meaning is like suggesting the flag is the “nation for which it stands.” Surely they would not make that mistake, would they?

Don’t answer that.

There’s some irony in me defending speaking the Pledge in different languages, since I choose not to recite the Pledge at all. But, look, this kid isn’t refusing to recite the Pledge, he’s just equated reciting it in another language with somehow demeaning it — like it’s the verbal equivalent of setting fire to the flag. That’s a profoundly ignorant position. If you honor the Pledge, you honor the ideals of the pledge. Those remain constant in whatever language they are spoken. That should be simple enough for anyone.