July 9, 2002
By Mike McArdle
you're a school administrator these days you know that your
plans for the upcoming school year can be thrown into complete
confusion by something you could have never anticipated.
Take the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision on the words
"under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Seldom
have our moribund politicians come to life as quickly as they
did that day, falling over one another to get to a TV camera
and slap their hands over their hearts to pledge for the masses
and denounce the court. And you knew that whatever kind of
patriotic "Pledge or Die" solution they came up
with was going to make your job just a little bit more of
a pain in the ass.
And you also know that it would be far too much to ask our
politicians to move to a truly voluntary pledge, not one sanctioned
by looming authority figures like teachers and schools. They
would never simply leave the flags around so that anybody
who wants to pledge could do so with or without the McCarthy-era
religious reference (still poking those godless commies in
the eye fifty years later even though there's no commies anymore).
Of course that would make all pledges true expressions of
patriotism as opposed to empty, memorized recitation that
we're all so familiar with. On the downside it would deprive
us of those inspiring scenes of school children standing beside
their desks with their hands on the hearts mouthing words
that they never think about and barely comprehend.
But let's face it. In the current political atmosphere that
simply isn't going to happen. We have evildoers to fight and
you simply can't let our kids decide when and where and (shudder)
if they want to express their patriotism. You know that the
pols are going to make you make the kids pledge because, after
all, this is the land of the free.
Which is why your school needs the Pledge-o-Matic by Jingo.
The Pledge-o-Matic is a life-sized genuine looking school
student replica that recites the pledge at the touch of a
button. It has enough built in features that you can stay
one step ahead next court decision or political mood swing.
Diversity a problem? Not with the Pledge-o-Matic. We carry
a full line of male and female models and every ethic identity
is represented. Pledge-o-Matic can also say the pledge in
Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Ebonics. It can recite the pledge
in either individual (single student) or group (entire classroom)
mode. And best of all the Pledge-o-Matic takes the pledge
every bit as seriously as the typical half-asleep school student.
Bible thumping yahoo in your office one day, atheist with
a lawyer the next? No problem. Push one button and the pledge
contains the phrase "under God" press the button
again and the phrase is left out.
Want to make sure that the pledge is recited every morning
at, say, 7:45 AM? Don't worry. The Pledge-o-Matic comes with
a easily programmable timer. You can have it pledging away
early and often enough to satisfy even the most morbidly nationalistic
school board member.
Every Pledge-o-Matic is on wheels and can be easily moved
from one classroom to another for schools on tight budgets
that can't afford one for each classroom.
And each Jingo Pledge-o-Matic is available for just three
easy payments of $39.95.
But why should school children be the only ones honoring
America when the Pledge-o-Matic can bring the pledge everywhere?
That's why we make the desktop adult-model Pledge-o-Matic,
perfect for home or office, for only $49.95.
The Pledge-o-Matic. Because where patriotism is concerned
what something looks like is just so much more important than
what it is.
Mike McArdle is the DU writer formerly known as birdman.