Democratic Underground  

The Pledge-o-Matic
July 9, 2002
By Mike McArdle

If 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.

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