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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Polyarchy by Robert Dahl
The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
Unlike nearly every journalist, politician, religious leader and the U.S. Senate, which voted 99-0 to condemn the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on their ruling concerning the use of the words, "under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance, I think it was the correct decision. The use of the words, "under God," have no relevance in a nation of multiple religions. The history of the addition of the controversial words dates back to 1954 when they were added to the Pledge because of anti-communism sentiments. Today "under God" portrays a much more coercive tone.
When I was in grade school I remember we recited the Pledge every morning like programmed drones. I doubt most of us actually thought about what we were saying; it was just something we did every morning at 8:05. I wonder, however, if I had been a child of a polytheist religion or even an atheist, would those words, "under God," have stuck out to me? I would think, I have no problem proclaiming allegiance to my nation and flag, but why must the majority's religious understanding be something I have to follow? The words "under God" do nothing more than make a public, open, inviting, and educational environment into a place of subjugation, separation and isolation for those who do not follow the beliefs of the majority. Perhaps that is why sometime around 5th grade my school quietly stopped the recitation of the Pledge. Maybe it was because of the "under God" portion, or maybe it was just my hometown's fright of ever being remotely close to not being completely politically correct. Either way, the Pledge should return to its pre-McCarthy era secularism. It is the only way for the Pledge to be a honest pledge to American values of religious liberty and freedom.
The Economist questions why demands on Israel were not as prevalent as those that were thrown on the Palestinians in Bush's new mideast plan. I would have to agree. Afterall, a largely one sided plan for peace will do nothing to solve the two sided imbroglio that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.