Barack Obama was heckled by a crazy bystander for not beginning a speech with the pledge of allegiance. He handled the event gracefully (video here along with cogent commentary by Matt Welch.) As I’ve written before, I think the pledge is creepy.
Cato’s Gene Healy says it well:
From its inception, in 1892, the Pledge has been a slavish
ritual of devotion to the state, wholly inappropriate for a free
people. It was written by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist pushed
out of his post as a Baptist minister for delivering pulpit-pounding
sermons on such topics as "Jesus the Socialist." Bellamy was devoted to
the ideas of his more-famous cousin Edward Bellamy, author of the 1888
utopian novel Looking Backward. Looking Backward describes the future
United States as a regimented worker’s paradise where everyone has
equal incomes, and men are drafted into the country’s "industrial army"
at the age of 21, serving in the jobs assigned them by the
state…Bellamy’s book inspired a movement of "Nationalist Clubs,"
whose members campaigned for a government takeover of the economy. A
few years before he wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy
became a founding member of Boston’s first Nationalist Club….
Bellamy’s ritual for honoring the flag was right in step with those other National Socialists. Here’s a picture illustrating the recommended salute (which later was to became politically incorrect).
The salute may be gone but the message remains.