Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Power of Words

I came across a video today with a bunch of celebrities pledging to help others and improve their own lives.

Great - nothing wrong with pledging to improve yourself or pledge to lend a hand to others. Fantastic. I personally love volunteering - there's no greater feeling than to help someone. Actually, I've learned more about myself when I've reached out to help others. I have met some of the best people by volunteering. And even though I recommend it to everyone I know and even everyone who will listen, I know that some people may not enjoy it like I do, or maybe they just don't have time - that's understandable. You aren't a bad person for not being able or not wanting to. It's your choice - it's optional, that's why it's called "volunteering".

And likewise, I am always striving to make changes for myself to improve my way of living. I (unsuccessfully) attempt to cut soft drinks out of my life. I try to eat healthy. I'm always trying to learn and experience new things. I'm always reading about something -either something that I'm curious about and want to learn more or something that challenges my views. There is nothing wrong with pledging to improve yourself.

A pledge you make to yourself is one of the greatest, most sacred promises you can ever make. Sure, there's no one to "police" you if you don't uphold it, but you have to answer to yourself if you don't fulfill your pledge. I think that's worse than having to answer to someone else.

But in the same token, I feel a pledge is an extremely personal thing. We all learn the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school. How many of us actually knew what it meant back then? You are swearing allegiance to your flag and your country. It's one of the most important and one of the earliest pledges we ever make. Who is going to come after us if you don't follow it? No one. Sadly, many people probably view them as just words. Words don't hold as much weight as they used to.

And back to my original point... I watch this video of celebrities making pledges.

MySpace Celebrity and Katalyst present The Presidential Pledge

No question as to what this video is about with the title: "Celebrities pledge service to Obama". It starts with a quote from Harry S. Truman: "They say the job of the President is the loneliest in the world" and continue with "We'd like you to know - YOU AREN'T ALONE!". There's then a clip of Obama, telling us we need to not only serve ourselves, but each other.
"I pledge..."
"I pledge..."
"To help end hunger in America"
"By supporting Feeding America and our local food bank."
"I pledge..."
"I pledge..."
"To smile more."
"To laugh more."
"To love more."
And so on. (I'm not going to post the whole thing, I think we all get it by now)

Ok. Great. A bunch of celebrities telling us how they want to make the world a better place, how they want to improve themselves. Great. Good for them. Some I liked ("I pledge to consider myself an American and not an African-American"), some I didn't...

"I pledge to give service to Barack Obama."
And this:
"I pledge... to be the change." (echoed many times)
And this:
"I pledge to be a servant to our President...and all of mankind because together we can, together we are and together we will be the change that we seek."
And the grand finale, everyone fades out into a mosaic of Obama, and the words "Be The Change" underneath.

Oh, a PSA for the President. How cute. I wonder if this was aired on TV? Sounds a bit like propaganda. Ok, I get what they are trying to say... they're trying to encourage volunteerism, etc... But the wording disturbs me, and I hope it disturbs you too. "Give service to"?? "Be a servant to"??? The only people I know who take an oath like that are the Secret Service and maybe the military...and definitely not in those terms. They might pledge to protect him or to serve him... which is still different than pledging to be a servant or to give service. Sounds like a slight difference, but although you might serve your guests dinner, you are not their servant.

As I stated above, a pledge for me is an extremely personal thing. I would never pledge servitude to another person. This is the United States of America - the President isn't (or shouldn't be) a god-like ruler in which we all pledge our lives to. WE PLEDGE TO OUR COUNTRY, NOT TO A PERSON. This isn't China or Russia... The office of the President is equal (or was intended to be) to the other branches of government - legislative, and judicial.

This Administration (and it's cronies) are playing word games with us, like used car salesmen. We need to be vigilant and keep our eyes and ears open at all times.
They do this with the health care bill - "We never said anything about rationing. Look in the bill - rationing is never mentioned". Ok, yes, it's not mentioned by name, but it's implied -and tell me how you are going to add millions more to a system with the same amount of doctors without rationing? How do you plan to be the only nationalized system to NOT ration?
They do this with the name calling - "tea baggers". It's a derogatory term and they act like they weren't aware.
They do this with people like me, who are against universal health care. They change their name of the bill - first they try to change health care, then health insurance. They say we are against health care. We're not against health care, we never said that - we're just against YOUR health care. They post on a website, with Obama's name all over it, that we're "terrorists", but deny that it came from him. "Paid for by the Democratic National Committee" - isn't that who is in power now? Yes, but it didn't come from Obama directly...

We need to stop playing games. I meant those words I said back in school - "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." I will stand by this country and everything it stands for. I will fight with every resource I have to preserve what was established for us. My ancestors worked too hard to come to this country to give a better life for their families. It is now my job to protect my way of life and what the founders intended for this great nation. I am not fake. I am not being paid to do this. I am not fighting to protect the "status quo", nor am I afraid of change. I am not racist to want to preserve what my country stands for.

Every one of us living in the United States was given a great opportunity, if we were born here. I firmly believe we are one of the luckiest people on this planet. Others of us were not born here, but worked hard to get here, as many of our ancestors did. We have an opportunity that many others do not - we are able to work hard and be successful. That's the American dream. If you want to be a doctor, you can be one, if you work hard. It doesn't matter if your father was a farmer, it doesn't matter. If you are born into a middle class family, you have the power to move up or down. You aren't trapped into a class system, like other countries. Women in the US are especially blessed. We can speak out if we want to, we can have careers if we want to, we can be a stay-at-home mom if they we to. We have choices, unlike so many other women around the world. I love my country. I think it's the greatest on Earth and it is being taken away from us right in front of our eyes. We need to stop with the word games, we need to stop with the name calling, we need to stop fighting, or we're going to implode. My kids will never see the country that I grew up in and loved if we continue on this path. We need to stick together and use our voices and our words (and our votes) before it's too late. This we need to pledge to ourselves or else, we're all going to lose.

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