I agree that all the Pledge of Allegiance is is mindless repetition, but it has benefits. Right now, how many people actually say the Pledge at your school? Maybe one or two per class. And how many in your class do you think will be involved in one way or another in the government later on? Whether it be running for election, writing a letter to their congressman, or simply voting, I'd say very few. A couple of them will at least vote the first time they can, but most will not again. Very, very few will even do the simple chore of writing their opinion on an issue and mailing it to the editor of the local newspaper. Heck, most probably won't even read the news section of the newspaper.

I feel by at least allowing (you aren't forced to say the pledge) kids to recite a few sentences, maybe it will weave some patriotism into their mind. Maybe they'll actually give a damn about their country and get involved. We don't have to brainwash them to get them to care about our country, just make them care. If we just do nothing and simply hope they'll become inspired- well, they won't.

In a country where the government actually posts advertisements around the schools to try and get people to vote, we need all the patriotism we can get. What's next? The government's going to PAY US to vote? Actually, I can see the Republican and Democratic parties paying people to vote in the future (if they haven't already started). People are just too apathetic nowadays- they don't care that people are being massacred in Kosovo or that the US is about to lose any means of hurting China for their human rights violations. They only care about the latest media frenzy: Monica Lewinsky, Elian Gonzalez, etc. And how much do they care about that? Enough to gossip and buy more magazines and watch more CNN. Heaven forbid they actually sit down and write a letter to someone!

As for flag burning, I'm not opposed to flag burning, but I am against direct opposition to the government. While you can go on all you want about an issue, such as gun control or the electoral college and how the government's wrong about it, saying "the US government is evil and is too corrupt and needs to be replaced!" does no good. We have a unique opportunity in our country, we can change how it operates. We don't even need to be the majority, as long as you are a small group of strongly-opinionated and well financed individuals you can get anything you want through Congress! Anyway, there's much more constructive ways of voicing your opinion and getting results.

Good point about religion in government. Even though our country was founded on Christianity (our fore-fathers being Christians that is), by no means do I think that it should be so intertwined with it. Myself being Christian, I would be offended if another religion was being promoted in a country with separation of church and state. I don't have a problem with the government respecting a religion (with a "Moment of Silence") even if the religion does makes up over 80% of its population, but promoting it is a whole different matter.