Every weekday morning, at the beginning of the school day, my fellow classmates and I are supposed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. To most kids it's pretty much ingrained into them, but each time I stand and face the flag I don't say the pledge. I haven't for a long time and I doubt I ever will again; making children recite the pledge is a violation of our freedoms.
Some people can simply maintain a respectful silence and face the flag, but even so that's like saying, "This is your flag and country, and you will honor them." I don't honor them, although I have no choice when it comes to facing them.
The decisions made by our country's leaders have nothing to do with what I think, and I don't mind; someone has to make them. But when they let their own beliefs stand in the way of what they know are the ideals of their country, something is wrong. My country is occupying another nation which it invaded. We occupy their lands without permission and call them terrorists. We are the self-appointed monitor of the world, but no one monitors us.
The pledge is also blatantly religious. The "under God" line is like staring someone down and telling them that there is only one religion: ours. You get some people who claim that it's a non-denominational God, but when you think of God in the United States, you think of a Christian god. You think of a perfect suburban family who attends church every Sunday, practicing the idea (religion) that has caused more wars than any other in history.
I'm a teenager, which is why you may think that I don't know what I'm talking about and don't have enough real-world experience. But it takes a fresh perspective to truly uncover something new about an issue. Since our culture only accepts the opinions of people whose ideas and ideals have been set since before 1970, that's the only opinion that is heard. The next time that I am told to face the flag, I won't. I'll get yelled at by my teacher, who will lecture me on how I must respect the soldiers fighting for our country. I'll tell her that I respect those soldiers. I'll also tell her that I pity them, because they're fighting for an evil and dominating cause.