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A pledge for America

Posted: July 4, 2014 - 10:44am  |  Updated: July 7, 2014 - 9:37am

If you pledge allegiance to the flag on a regular basis, you’re probably not part of this country’s problems.

But how much are you a part of the solutions?

It’s not enough for us to feel deep patriotism in our hearts, or to wear it on our sleeves. In order to help America remain great — or perhaps even to save it — we’ve got to match our good intentions with doing good.

We’ve got to have a revival of character, brotherhood and citizenship in America.

We need more people voting, for one thing — but mainly we need more informed voters.

We need more people joining civic clubs and other organizations that seek to do good — instead of merely flocking to organizations that expect nothing from us and provide us benefits.

We need to instill and celebrate character in the young, and we need to exhibit it ourselves and expect it in others.

We need to remember that we’ve got a public life, along with a private life. We’ve indulged our private life pretty well; just look at our waistlines! But what about our public life — which is anything we do for those outside our usual circles? Are we holding up our end in this self-governed nation?

We need a renaissance of responsibility in America.

To that end, we propose a new kind of pledge — a pledge not to the flag, but to the country. To each other. We’ve listed 10 things each of us can do to help America. We’re sure you can think of other things — and we’d love to see what they are (write to us at

Our Founders, who knew they all risked death in declaring independence from England, once pledged to each other “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Is it too much to ask for us to do the same, under much less dire circumstances, for the health of the republic?

Therefore, may each of us pledge:

1. To be an informed, active citizen

2. To be civil and kind

3. To have a healthy lifestyle

4. To decide what I believe, and act on it

5. To take responsibility for my life and my actions

6. To be my brother’s keeper, and do good works

7. To be the best family member, neighbor and friend that I can possibly be

8. To hold my elected representatives accountable

9. To be as self-reliant as I can

10. To be a model of unity to others

These things must seem self-evident — but are we doing them?

Witness the number of Americans who display abject ignorance of basic Americana in interviews on the street, or on civics tests. Look at the incivility, particularly in politics and media. The lack of individual responsibility is eye-popping, and the lack of accountability in government is astounding — the result of our failure to hold public officials accountable.

The good news is, these 10 acts of character, citizenship and brotherhood are uncomplicated and easily done. We just have to have the willpower. And we have to turn away from that part of American culture that mocks and denigrates such “Boy Scout” values. They’re what built America, and they’re what’s holding it together. So far.

Pledge to be informed, civil, healthy, responsible, altruistic, vigilant, self-reliant and welcoming.

That’s real allegiance.

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jford 07/06/14 - 11:36 pm
If you pledge allegiance to corporate profits every day,

you're probably part of this country's problems.

How about a pledge for the editors of the Clarion, as long as they're handing out advice for others.

How about the Clarion practice a bit more of the old journalistic ethic?

It's not enough to simply parrot militarism and jingoism, and it's not enough to attempt to pass off corporate press releases as news. It's not enough to pander to partisan propaganda and promote partisan demagoguery.

We need a renaissance of responsibility in the media.

Witness the number of corporate media outlets that promote partisan claptrap and display an abject ignorance of the responsibility of the press to an informed free society.

Look at the incivility, particularly in the media. The lack of individual responsibility in the media is eye-popping, and the lack of accountability in the media is astounding — the result of our failure to hold media officials accountable.

The function of the press is to protect the people’s liberties and rights, and to inform the public so they can participate as citizens in democratic self-government. The press should be free to inform citizens and criticize public policy, as well as act as a watchdog on authorities.

The press has a duty to go beyond just entertaining news consumers and rather to provide a core of in-depth analysis on the most serious issues.

A free press, the Founding Fathers believed, was an essential check against despotism, and integral to advancing human understanding of the sciences, arts, and humanities.

Our ability to be informed and the free flow of information, regardless of how damaging it may be to elected officials, and/or public or private officials, is one of the most essential safeguards to our liberty.

The good news for the Clarion is that there is a clear guide to journalistic ethics, and it only takes the will to practice those ethics. The practice of journalistic ethics is uncomplicated and easily done.

So what do you say, Clarion? Want to pledge an allegiance to journalistic ethics?

You could do some of that good works stuff too, you know, you could be a model yourself.

If you pledge allegiance to corporate profits every day, you're probably part of this country's problems.

cheapersmokes 07/07/14 - 06:47 am
Clarion and ethics

Jford, if the Clarion did as you ask then you would puke everyday when all you saw was story after story of Democrats illegal acts and downright stupid and harmful efforts. The Democratic party is about done for now so get over it!

jford 07/07/14 - 07:53 am
Wasn't talking about [filtered word] fictions.

We'll leave the fiction to you.

Fiction is all you've got.

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