By the time I was standing up in school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the straight-arm salute had been dropped, the hand-over-the-heart had been substituted, and the Pledge already included the words "under God" that were added in 1954. As a child, I did not give it much thought. I thought more about horses, and why the teacher was always so mean, and how much time was left before I could go home and read my book.
But I was also thinking about politics – in a little kid sort of way, of course - and I had ideas. A platform of sorts, or a manifesto, that was something like this:
1. Sometimes it's the grownup who is wrong, and so the child shouldn't always be the one who has to apologize.
2.No hitting. No making fun. No being mean, and no leaving other people out. Some people can catch a ball, some people can spell big words (I got my first concussion in second grade, courtesy of a baseball. Guess which group I was in). But everybody belongs, even when they are different.
3. Share, and be fair. The person who gets to cut the cake into slices chooses last.
4. Stop worrying so much about the Communists. All we have to do is really be what we say we are, the land of the free, the home of the brave, one nation under God, the best country on earth, and then everyone will want to be like us and to be our friends. Even the Communists.
Simple. Now let's have cookies and milk!
It still seems simple, and I don't see much reason to change it. For grownup, read powerful, any kind of powerful. For child, read deprived of power. For Communists, read the name of the current ideological foe, the perceived, or invented, threat, i.e. [your fear inserted here]. The rest is pretty straightforward, I think. But then, I also think Jesus' words are pretty straightforward. Love. Share. Take care of each other. Rejoice when the lost are found.
And, well, hey, kids! Let's try that. Because I don't think we really have, not as a nation, not lately.
There is one more plank in my platform. Parents who promise a pony for good grades should, when excellent report cards are forthcoming, deliver the pony as promised.
I am Laurel Massé, and I approve this message.