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Loyalty Day: Creepy

Apparently Barack Obama has made May 1st “Loyalty Day.” Does anyone else fine this creepy? The left points out that Eisenhower did it first, and every President has followed suit. As if had Eisenhower eaten a dog, that would make eating dogs OK. I say it’s time to stop Loyalty Day. I get that it was a knee-jerk anti-communist reaction from the McCarthy era, and today we still have morons who celebrate May day with rioting and attempting to blow things up. Also, given that apparently the educational system has fallen into such a state that kids feel they can call themselves “anarchists” while protesting for bigger government, maybe we should rename today “National Don’t Sleep in Civic’s Class Day.” But this would, of course, presume schools still teach civics.

34 Responses to “Loyalty Day: Creepy”

  1. Guav says:

    I do find it odd, but is it that different from pledging allegiance to the flag?

    • Sebastian says:

      I’m not a big fan of that either… but that’s a pretty full-on Wookie position not many other Americans agree with, so I don’t really fight it.

      • Guav says:

        I was not political at all in high school, but I stopped saying the Pledge Of Allegiance because even then, it just seemed like cultish propaganda to me. Precisely how the daily repetition of it makes children into better adult citizens escapes me—kids don’t think about the words at all anyway, they just repeat it from memory.

    • Alpheus says:

      A couple of years ago, I learned that the Pledge of Allegiance was literally written by a Socialist; when I went to Wikipedia to confirm that, I read a lot of objections to the Pledge, and found that I agreed with about half of them.

      I’ve recited the Pledge exactly once, since then, at a Republican Caucus meeting about two years ago–but it was weird and uncomfortable, because I hadn’t given it any thought, as to what I would do, when I was in a situation like that. This year, I quietly and respectfully stood, as others recited it.

      I have wondered what I should Pledge instead, or if I should do anything. I think I like this:

      “I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor*, to secure and preserve the blessings of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, for myself and my posterity**. So help me God***!”

      *Taken from the Declaration of Independence.
      **Influenced by the Preamble to the Constitution; hat tip to Tam.
      ***An optional addition, taken from the first time George Washington swore to the duties of the Presidency.

        • Boyd says:

          Not sure why the Bellamy salute is worse, Guav. There’s nothing inherently bad there, and just because Italian fascists and Nazis started using a similar salute doesn’t retroactively make the Bellamy version “worse” than simply placing one’s hand over one’s heart.

          IMHO, of course.

          • Guav says:

            I am referring to the fact that in general, it was consciously modeled after similar pledges and salutes used by the Fascists and Nazis at the time. When you think about it, pledging an oath of loyalty to the state doesn’t really seem like something that Democracies should do.

            • Boyd says:

              When you think about it, pledging an oath of loyalty to the state doesn’t really seem like something that Democracies should do.

              Can’t argue against that, for sure, although there are so few examples that it’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion.

              …it was consciously modeled after similar pledges and salutes used by the Fascists and Nazis at the time.

              Gotta disagree with you there. According to the Wikipedia link you provided, the Bellamy salute was first modeled in 1892, long before the rise of Fascists in Italy and Nazis in Germany.

              • Guav says:

                Reading comprehension is not my friend today.

              • Alpheus says:

                I was about to say that it was my understanding that the Nazi and Italian stuff was modeled after the Pledge, and that we changed our salute because of what happened in WWII.

                • Drang says:

                  The US Military changed to the “palm down” salute during WWI, because US Army/Marine uniforms were similar enough to the British that General Pershing wanted an easy way to differentiate “us” from “them.”

      • JFM says:

        As kid I found pledging Allegiance to a flag disturbing. I always wanted it changed to Pledging Allegiance to the Constitution, something more serious to me.

      • Arnie says:

        I love your pledge, Mr. Alpheus! My thoughts almost exactly! Well said, sir!
        Sincerely, Arnie

  2. Boyd says:

    This was first declared by President Eisenhower, and subsequently by every President since, so Obama is merely following the path of his predecessors.

    • Sage Thrasher says:

      Same with the National Prayer Breakfast, another sop to the McCarthy era we’d do well to be rid of.

  3. Alpheus says:

    I find this creepy; even if President Eisenhower did it, it’s still inappropriate for the Government to call for loyalty to itself. I’d be much more comfortable if it was a call for loyalty to the ideals of liberty (perhaps call it “Loyalty to Liberty Day”), and then to celebrate it by rifle and pistol competitions and fireworks.

    Ever since Woodrow Wilson, there’s been an inappropriate personalization of the Presidency. I’d like it if we were to return to the attitude that the President is just leader of the Armed Forces; who enforced law–but didn’t have many laws to enforce; whose responsibility was to veto laws, and maybe sign an occasional bill into law; and who appointed Supreme Court justices who understood the importance of liberty; but who was otherwise invisible. Even the State of the Union ought to be delivered by a Presidential Aid! (A tradition established by Thomas Jefferson, but ended by Wilson.)

  4. Andy B. says:

    I haven’t checked, but I’ll accept it as true that every president since Eisenhower has declared a Loyalty Day. And, can you imagine the WingNutDaily headlines if Obama was the first not to? I think every president must get caught in damn if you do, damn if you don’t situations created by morons that preceded him by decades.

    Just imagine how popular a president would be if he moved to eliminate our dopey Pledge.

    • Sage Thrasher says:

      I think you nailed it. Only Nixon could go to China, and only someone like a President Huckabee could get away with ending some of the ra-ra-ra stupidity of the 1950s and earlier without being absolutely pilloried by the opposition. The commentators at Fox would positively drool if Obama were the first to stop Loyalty Day; I think even Fox fans have to acknowledge that.

    • Matt says:

      Yep, as long as Congress keeps sending it to the president’s desk, it’s going to get signed each year.

      It’s just ridiculous that the conservatives are making such a big deal out of it this year. Anything to tar and feather Obama, whether it’s based in fact or just something made up. No need to fact check, just pass it along.

    • Alpheus says:

      I would agree with this sentiment, although, having said that, there have been some creepy things coming from Obama himself, as well as from his supporters…things like a civil corps that’s just as strong as the armed forces; required service in said corps; schoolchildren chanting “Barak Hussein Obama, Mm, Mm, Mm”; a video of all sorts of famous people Pledging their Allegiance to Obama.

      The latter is especially creepy: with the Pledge, you are at least pledging allegiance to a flag and a Republic.

      Perhaps I would like the Pledge better, if we inserted Ben Franklin into it:

      I pledge allegiance to the Flag
      Of the United States of America
      And to the Republic, if we could keep it, for which it stands
      One Nation, under God,
      With liberty and justice for all.

      • Guav says:

        I would also add that pledging allegiance and loyalty to something is a serious matter, and as such, we should not have children doing it before they actually understand the full weight of the words they are being pressured into memorizing and repeating.

        • Alpheus says:

          That was actually one of the reasons listed on Wikipedia, against the Pledge, that stood out to me.

          We shouldn’t be making pledges lightly!

      • Arnie says:

        Again, “like!”
        Good list of Obama’s creepies. Some of his recent P.D.s are scary, too.
        I still prefer your first pledge – to life liberty and property. That is an outstanding idea!!!!!
        – Arnie

    • Drang says:

      And, can you imagine the WingNutDaily headlines if Obama was the first not to?
      Had you ever heard of Loyalty Day before today?
      Anyone, anyone, Bueller, Bueller?

      Yeah, me neither. Just like I hadn’t heard of it when His Imperial Majesty apparently made the same proclamation in 2009, 2010, and 2011. If he’d decided to bag it, I seriously doubt anyone would have noticed.

  5. Sigivald says:

    Also, note that Congress actually made it Loyalty Day back in 1958. The President merely “proclaims” it because they ask him to very nicely in the law in question.

    I think it’s as daft as the Pledge and the like, but in this particular case, it’s got almost nothing to do with any President.

    Anti-Communist fervor in Congress back in 1958 is evidently to blame.

    (And the anti-Communist motivation is the most respectable thing about it, but not enough to redeem the very idea of a “Loyalty Day”.)

  6. Robert Hewes says:

    I’m actually surprised he hasn’t named an “Obedience Day” yet

  7. Andy B. says:

    “Anti-Communist fervor in Congress back in 1958 is evidently to blame.”

    Which also was true for “Under God” being added to The Pledge. I’m old enough to remember that, and to remember being glared at by the teacher if I forgot to add it to the rote that I’d already had drummed into me for the previous several years. With historical hindsight, those were pretty scary days, but we didn’t realize what was going on.

  8. Diomed says:

    One of the clubs I belong to started doing the pledge at each monthly meeting shortly after I joined. Knowing the history of the pledge I’ve been getting more irked with each passing month. So last month I just said the hell with it and gave the Bellamy salute, and plan to continue doing so.

    I figure that’s about the level of respect deserved.

  9. Drang says:

    Concur.

    Note that May Day was originally observed in America as “Americanization Day”, during the 1920s, in reaction to the observance of May Day as a commemoration by commies everywhere of the Haymarket Square riots/”massacre.”

  10. Brice says:

    I’m very loyal to the concept of our country and what it is founded on. One of the best parts of our country is our right to disagree and have dialogue about those disagreements. I think that lots of people have knee jerk reactions to whatever the ‘other’ side of any issue says or does. I prefer to think about the actual issue and what it may mean both in the short term and the long term. That’s my right. Just like an instant reaction is the right of others. An instant reaction may just be the restatement of long and well reasoned thought.

    Neither is inherently good or bad.

  11. Andy B. says:

    “If he’d decided to bag it, I seriously doubt anyone would have noticed.”

    But in all camps, the fundraisers know how to take a non-issue and turn it into a national crisis and/or evidence of a “culture war.”

    I sure wouldn’t have noticed the passing of “Loyalty Day,” but I guarantee at least a half-dozen groups would have sent out screeching press releases denouncing its passing, followed closely by their screeching fundraising blasts.

    • Boyd says:

      …but I guarantee at least a half-dozen groups would have sent out screeching press releases denouncing its passing, followed closely by their screeching fundraising blasts.

      Most likely the exact same groups who are screeching about the proclamation of Loyalty Day.

      Excepting our host, of course. Besides, I don’t think Sebastian, even with Bitter at his side, would be considered a “group.”

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