I was visiting with Granny Applehead the other day. She was waxing nostalgic about her days in secondary school. She remembers each day began with students rising from their seats, putting hands to hearts and pledging allegiance to the flag. No one really questioned the validity of the activity back then but, she said, as she thinks about it in retrospect it was pretty clear there was strong intention to instill in young minds a religious sense of nationalistic propriety: America, land of the free and brave has God on her side.
She surmised it was easier back then when everyone was pretty well on the same page regarding God and country. There were a lot fewer people asking the big questions.
I guess explanation can be found in the post-WWII politics of the times and dealing with godless Communism. You know, prep these young minds for Holy Wars to come.
Social critique has tempered the blatant flag waving. The mind manipulation of the young is subtler now but it’s pretty clear we still think of ourselves as being in God’s favor; ready and willing to impose our beliefs and life-style on the rest of the world.
Granny just shakes her head at what she sees as the hypocrisy of our self-perceived sense of fairness and equality for all: as long as everyone conforms to our values and beliefs.
On my way home I was thinking about what the world would be like if everyone was like me: skeptical seekers, always questioning, investigating the new, comparing the old, reaching toward the limits of one’s capabilities to find what may lay beyond. As egotistical as it may sound, I can’t see that as being a bad thing in the least.