I’ve always been a fan of irony but for some people the word can be a bit confusing.

A few days ago, while at a public meeting, I stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation’s colors. As the words “… one nation under God, indivisible …” rolled off my tongue, a scary, albeit amusing, thought crossed my mind. This pledge that most of us grew up echoing throughout grade school doesn’t paint an accurate picture of our country anymore. Instead it’s just about the only thing left of what our country once was, and the founding fathers that drafted the Pledge of Allegiance have probably rolled over in their graves at the sight of such horror.

What do I mean? Well, these United States aren’t quite united anymore. Our nation doesn’t quite act as “one” anymore. Our nation doesn’t reside and live as a country “under God.” And our nation certainly doesn’t resemble a strong place that once boasted indivisibility.

Today, our nation is arguably the most divided it has ever been since the “War Between the States” … See the irony yet?

Much like in the days of the Civil War, brothers and sisters in our land are constantly fighting – killing – each other with nothing but hatred and malice in their hearts.

Why? Just look to the pledge and you’ll see. You’ll see a list of what’s missing in our nation today. You’ll see that unless a disaster sweeps across our land, no one believes in helping one another. No one believes in setting aside differences, or agreeing to disagree, and standing together for good. But, forget standing together, most people have now chosen to not stand at all.

“So, what’s the problem?”

The problem? We live in a world that’s all about “me.” All about “I.” No one seems concerned for the fellow man until there’s something in it for – you guessed it – “me.”

The problem? We’ve begun labeling patriotism as a bad thing. Though we have our problems, there is no greater country to live in than the United States of America. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how many people are trying to come to our nation versus leaving. We should be proud to pledge our allegiance to such a country and urging other citizens to do so. Being shamed or mocked for wanting that makes no sense to me.

The problem? We live in a nation that was founded under the holy and moral principles of God, and what have we as a nation done? We’ve taken God out of everything. And doing so has affected how our people live and act toward one another.

I know many people don’t believe in Jesus Christ, although I wish they would. But, almost 2,000 years ago He told people something that we ought to live by, no matter what religion or higher power you claim. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Remember learning about the “Golden Rule” a long time ago? That’s where it all started.

That’s the problem.

People say change in our country starts at the ballot. While that’s true, it isn’t entirely. It starts with your heart. It starts by treating all people, no matter what differences you may have, the way you’d like to be treated. When we do that, we’ll finally witness a change for the better.

A pledge means nothing without supported action. All it becomes is simply words with out substance – an empty promise. I think it’s about time we live up to our pledge. What do you say?

Taylor Beck is a staff writer for The Sand Mountain Reporter. His email address is tbeck@sandmountainreporter.com.

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