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Old 18th April 2017, 05:09 AM   #1
Tony Stark
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Is it me or is the pledge of allegiance creepy as hell?

When I was in school, they had everybody stand and recite it, every morning.

Why do they have kids do it? Do most kids even understand what they are saying? I mean, I understand making federal officials take oaths and whatnot but kids?



Quote:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


WTF?

I'm assuming they don't do this sort of thing in most countries.
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
When I was in school, they had everybody stand and recite it, every morning.

Why do they have kids do it? Do most kids even understand what they are saying? I mean, I understand making federal officials take oaths and whatnot but kids?

WTF?

I'm assuming they don't do this sort of thing in most countries.
No, we get a divide by zero error.
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
When I was in school, they had everybody stand and recite it, every morning.

Why do they have kids do it? Do most kids even understand what they are saying? I mean, I understand making federal officials take oaths and whatnot but kids?







WTF?

I'm assuming they don't do this sort of thing in most countries.
American kids can and do opt out now. Mine have politely declined since grade school. They were taught how the pledge came about and it's problematic content in class.
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MostlyDead View Post
American kids can and do opt out now. Mine have politely declined since grade school. They were taught how the pledge came about and it's problematic content in class.
I understand that that the Supreme Court has said it can't be mandatory but schools don't make it seem that way. I didn't know this until I was in high school and even then I just stood up and pretended rather make a big deal out of it.

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Old 18th April 2017, 05:44 AM   #5
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Czech Republic here. We did thing like that on pioneer camps. Pioneer youth organization was basically scouts, except it was mandatory, and the ideology was communistic.
The drill was basically a military one, and the slogan was the same as the military used.
Every morning all camp lined up, by divisions, in the uniforms, the flag was raised .. and the "chairman of the camp board" (elected from the kids) yelled: "For building and defense of the socialistic homeland, be ready !" .. and everyone yelled back: "Always ready !".
But it was the good old commie days. And only on camps, not during the usual school. We did nothing of the sort, even then.
Lol .. reminds me I somehow got elected as the chairman of the camp board once when I was in third grade. And there were kids like 5 years older on the camp. Nobody just wanted to do it. After my first morning drill I was demoted though, as clearly my voice was not strong enough, and it also looked silly, as I was basically youngest and smallest kid in the whole camp, trying to boss everybody twice my size ..
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:47 AM   #6
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I always suspected the "pledge" was for the adults rather than the kiddies. To a certain sort of personality, there's something deeply "Mother, God, and Apple Pie" about a group of innocent youngsters dutifully reciting this bit of nationalistic drivel.
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:49 AM   #7
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You want really weird and creepy - in elementary school, after the pledge we had to sing My Country tis of Thee. This was late 60's early 70's. I stopped the under god part in about second grade and by high school most people I knew just stood up and didn't recite it at all. Nobody ever made a big deal about it but I suspect that might have been different in another part of the country.
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:56 AM   #8
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I grew up in the South in the 70s - we didn't do it... much. We all knew the words and cadence, but maybe once a year recited it, and nobody paid it much mind.

My kids are/were in the same school system, and now its a daily occurrence in some classes (individual grade school teachers can choose to recite the pledge or not). I made sure my kids knew they could opt out if they wanted, and they confirmed some kids did just that, but both basically said "meh".

My oldest - now 25 but in 3rd grade at the time - told me "its just meaningless words" and to forget about it. He explained that its just some silly words the class says in unison at the start of they day, that nobody believes its any kind of loyalty oath and they might as well be reciting the words to a Metallica song (his favorite band at the time), and adults need to chill the heck out about it.

I wanted to rail against that, to tell him its not right to be forced to recite a loyalty oath even if he ascribed no meaning to it. But, I let it go - he was right. It was all fairly meaningless.
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:59 AM   #9
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Creepy as hell. I stopped saying it in the middle of 6th grade, though I had to stand there and pretend (and I still sometimes have to).

In high school, we hosted some German exchange students. They couldn't believe the number of flags or the pledge. They said that if Germans did that, the Allies would invade again.


ETA: Aside from the pledge, I've taken two oaths in my life. One was when I was admitted to the bar in Georgia and the other in New York. I have no intention of breaking my word and I don't need a daily affirmation to remind myself of that.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
I understand that that the Supreme Court has said it can't be mandatory but schools don't make it seem that way. I didn't know this until I was in high school and even then I just stood up rather make a big deal out of it.
There are an awful lot of things that teachers and parents tell you that you have to do, but which you find out later were optional.


Of course, for people who do refuse to say the pledge of allegiance, they are basically standing up and declaring themselves to be troublemakers. It's a societal pressure thing.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
There are an awful lot of things that teachers and parents tell you that you have to do, but which you find out later were optional.


Of course, for people who do refuse to say the pledge of allegiance, they are basically standing up and declaring themselves to be troublemakers. It's a societal pressure thing.
Sometimes, but I suspect it varies greatly regionally, or even school to school, how much anybody cares, or even notices.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by madurobob View Post
I grew up in the South in the 70s - we didn't do it... much.
Interesting. Was that common in the South?

Of course, Southerners were part of the target of the Pledge. That whole "indivisible" thing was aimed at them. I wonder if resentment toward that line made it less popular in the South. The primary target, though, was immigrants who were suspected of still having allegiance to their home countries.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Finster View Post
You want really weird and creepy - in elementary school, after the pledge we had to sing My Country tis of Thee. This was late 60's early 70's. I stopped the under god part in about second grade and by high school most people I knew just stood up and didn't recite it at all. Nobody ever made a big deal about it but I suspect that might have been different in another part of the country.
Wow. I sort of remember that. Never really thought about it, but I remember singing it and thinking the "land where my fathers died" was a bit creepy. That was in the late 70s.

ETA: I also remember being required to say grace at lunch when I was in kindergarten. We moved to a different school within the county for first grade, and nothing was said of it there. Of course, that was the school where a teacher told us that black people were black because they did something wrong in a previous life, so it wasn't like it was a particularly progressive place.

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Old 18th April 2017, 06:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Finster View Post
You want really weird and creepy - in elementary school, after the pledge we had to sing My Country tis of Thee.
Isn't that the one that sounds weirdly and creepily similar to the National Anthem of a country the USA very specifically chose not to be part of?

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Old 18th April 2017, 06:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
Wow. I sort of remember that. Never really thought about it, but I remember singing it and thinking the "land where my fathers died" was a bit creepy. That was in the late 70s.

ETA: I also remember being required to say grace at lunch when I was in kindergarten. We moved to a different school within the county for first grade, and nothing was said of it there. Of course, that was the school where a teacher told us that black people were black because they did something wrong in a previous life, so it wasn't like it was a particularly progressive place.
White right wing Buddhist?

LOL, I'm sure that person called themselves a Christian.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:17 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Finster View Post
You want really weird and creepy - in elementary school, after the pledge we had to sing My Country tis of Thee. This was late 60's early 70's
Actually, the private Jewish school I went to as a small kid (early 80s) did that. Sometimes we did the Star-Spangled Banner or Hatikvah*, too. When I transferred to public school (same area) they didn't, but until recently it never occurred to me that that was weird.


* Israeli national anthem; picture "I'm a little teapot" in a minor key.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:18 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Interesting. Was that common in the South?
No idea. Like most kids, I suspect, I assumed at the time that what we did in our classes is what everybody did in their classes across the nation. But, this was the 70s - a time of peace, love, and giant open schools like warehouses with "pods" identifying individual classes. It was a weird time in general.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:25 AM   #18
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Just words
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:40 AM   #19
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It's not just you. When I was in highschool I had a sudden epiphany about how creepy the whole thing was and stopped doing it.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:43 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Finster View Post
Sometimes, but I suspect it varies greatly regionally, or even school to school, how much anybody cares, or even notices.
True - and from time to time as well. When I was in school in the 70s, not as many people knew that they could utter a simple magic phrase to make school administrators back off. That phrase is "I'll call my lawyer."

I don't remember when we stopped saying "The Pledge" at the beginning of every class day. I think we did it all through grade school, and stopped in the seventh grade. We did continue to say it at the beginning of every school assembly all through high school.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:48 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
Wow. I sort of remember that. Never really thought about it, but I remember singing it and thinking the "land where my fathers died" was a bit creepy. That was in the late 70s.

ETA: I also remember being required to say grace at lunch when I was in kindergarten. We moved to a different school within the county for first grade, and nothing was said of it there. Of course, that was the school where a teacher told us that black people were black because they did something wrong in a previous life, so it wasn't like it was a particularly progressive place.
Clearly that teacher was not xtian. No reincarnation in xtianity last I heard/read!!!!!!!
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
When I was in school, they had everybody stand and recite it, every morning.

Why do they have kids do it? Do most kids even understand what they are saying? I mean, I understand making federal officials take oaths and whatnot but kids?







WTF?

I'm assuming they don't do this sort of thing in most countries.
I always thought that it was rather silly making anyone (children or otherwise) recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

After all, very few of the children actually understand what it is they are reciting, therefore the reciting is an empty gesture.

Also, if someone actually did have some sort of secret ulterior motive to subvert the USA, then that someone would readily recite the Pledge of Allegiance, therefore the reciting is an empty gesture.

And if one is dealing with a loyal and dedicated patriot, then such a person does not need to recite the Pledge of Allegiance since that person is already aligned with the principals of the pledge, therefore the reciting is an empty gesture.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:51 AM   #23
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Obligatory reminder: "Under God" was added in the 50's during the peak of the Red Scare. It was not, as the god botherers would have you believe, crafted by Thomas Jefferson in the midst of a religious orgasm.

I went to a business event where they had us recite the Pledge. It was...very odd. Strange enough when it's kids, but 300 adults standing in a conference room...
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:54 AM   #24
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Back in the 50's when I was in grade school, we said the pledge, the Lord's prayer, and sang one of several patriotic songs (alternating between the national anthem, America, and America the Beautiful). I'm old enough to remember the gratuitous and stupid insertion of "under God" to the pledge by the Eisenhower administration, which along with making it conspicuously unsecular also made no sense in the context of the statement, which was, of course, an affirmation of union. I think the muddying of that may have suited the south at the time.

Of course one of my pet peeves in addition was, when the conservative bible thumpers started yakking about how we needed prayer in the schools, as if it had not already failed. My generation had prayer in the schools, and we're the ones who balked and became hippies and everything the conservative bible thumpers hated. Prayer in the schools was a conspicuous, palpable failure. Stupid then, stupid always, the creature of people who care more about the shell than the egg inside.


It's a mystery to me why people who are truly religious should ever want school prayer, knowing as they must if they're not utter fools that children will come to see the prayer as nothing at all, just words they must speak without belief, and that in order to satisfy the requirements of diversity any school prayer must be so generic and ecumenical that it could hardly have any true content anyway. In the real world, school prayer was never prayer. It was something you mouthed mechanically so they'd let you get on with it.

It may be, as applecorped says, "only words," but I think it is a bad idea to make children see things that way. We are constantly infected with the attitude that what we say is just words, and many with the attitude that the symbol is more important than what it stands for. Flag protection in which the flag is made sacred at the expense of the liberty it stands for.

It starts there, I think. We're teaching our children to act thoughtlessly and think in platitudes.
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:55 AM   #25
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The original Pledge of Allegiance. I was a little startled when I heard it this way for the first time.
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Old 18th April 2017, 07:28 AM   #26
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We should go back to doing it with the original salute.

We actually had a bit of a kerfuffle back when I was in the seventh grade, about 1960. Kid was being called a "Communist" because he didn't do the pledge. They got him out of class on a pretext and the Vice Principal came in and explained he was a Jehovah Witness and we needed to respect that. Surprisingly progressive for the time and place (Montana).
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:04 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
We should go back to doing it with the original salute.
Wow, mind blown .. this is such an informative forum
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:06 AM   #28
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I was actually surprised nobody had posted that before I did.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:13 AM   #29
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Creepy to the max.

Even in a particularly liberal community within liberal western WA, my kids were given grief for not participating.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:21 AM   #30
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On my first visits to the US I found it distinctly creepy too. It's very odd from a European perspective.

On the just words front, I did most of my education in the UK and periodically we'd have to sing the national anthem. As an atheist republican from an early age, I amused myself by not singing the words "god" or "queen" and then arguing with the teachers afterwards.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:22 AM   #31
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I think I'm younger than most everyone that posted in this thread (graduated high school in 2004) and I justed wanted to point out that this isn't something that died out. I'm sure they still do it it in most schools to this day.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:23 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by malbui View Post
As an atheist republican from an early age, I amused myself by not singing the words "god" or "queen" and then arguing with the teachers afterwards.
I'd like to echo your sentiment, then, in wishing long life to Ross Noble.

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Old 18th April 2017, 08:31 AM   #33
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What the promoters of such acts of patriotism miss is that by demanding that it be said every day in school and at all kinds of other events, the pledge loses any meaning to most people. It becomes something they learned by rote, something required. Its meaning is never examined because you learned it in kindergarten.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:37 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
What the promoters of such acts of patriotism miss is that by demanding that it be said every day in school and at all kinds of other events, the pledge loses any meaning to most people. It becomes something they learned by rote, something required. Its meaning is never examined because you learned it in kindergarten.
Yes, exactly what I took away from my third grade son telling me it was just meaningless words. I was kind of embarrassed at the time to learn this from a 9 yr old.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:54 AM   #35
Jim_MDP
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
We should go back to doing it with the original salute.
Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I was actually surprised nobody had posted that before I did.

It came up in a thread here last year IIRC. The Nazis killed that one, thankfully (before some smartass goes there... the salute's use in the US of course ).

From the Wiki... the creator of the straight arm salute, which Bellamy wanted as part of the ritual...

Quote:
The inventor of the Bellamy salute was James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth's Companion.[1] Bellamy recalled Upham, upon reading the pledge, came into the posture of the salute, snapped his heels together, and said "Now up there is the flag; I come to salute; as I say 'I pledge allegiance to my flag,' I stretch out my right hand and keep it raised while I say the stirring words that follow."

Yeah... that's not creepy at all.
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:55 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Finster View Post
You want really weird and creepy - in elementary school, after the pledge we had to sing My Country tis of Thee. This was late 60's early 70's. I stopped the under god part in about second grade and by high school most people I knew just stood up and didn't recite it at all. Nobody ever made a big deal about it but I suspect that might have been different in another part of the country.
If you really wanted to freak people out, you could have sung "God save the Queen" while everyone else was singing "My country 'tis of thee".
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Old 18th April 2017, 08:58 AM   #37
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Will the song change to "God save the King" when the Queen dies?
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Old 18th April 2017, 09:01 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
What the promoters of such acts of patriotism miss is that by demanding that it be said every day in school and at all kinds of other events, the pledge loses any meaning to most people. It becomes something they learned by rote, something required. Its meaning is never examined because you learned it in kindergarten.

Much the same as our use of the National Anthem before just about every major sporting event (and nearly as frequently at kids' games).

I understand much of the rest of the world is a tad creeped out by the practice.

Can't blame them, I get a mix of anger and annoyance... as I quickly mute the TV.
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Old 18th April 2017, 09:08 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
Will the song change to "God save the King" when the Queen dies?
I'm not from the UK, but I believe the answer is yes, unless at least three people die before the Queen (It might be more; I don't know who is next in line after Chuck and his two sons).
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Old 18th April 2017, 09:09 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
Much the same as our use of the National Anthem before just about every major sporting event (and nearly as frequently at kids' games).

I understand much of the rest of the world is a tad creeped out by the practice.

Can't blame them, I get a mix of anger and annoyance... as I quickly mute the TV.
My regular rant at nearly any sporting event, including the Olympics kicks of with "who's brilliant idea was it that every country has to have its own theme song?" and is followed soon by the statement that we should pass a law requiring every new administration to commission a new theme song - no recycling! I can't wait for the hip hop anthem, myself...
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