Balance. Balance in everything is vital.
Saying "I'll never pledge anything to anything" is ridiculous.
*Blind* nationalism, just like *blind* cultism, is not a balanced way to look at anything.
I have no reason to pledge the flag now. However, as a child, I wanted to. I also know every word, in spite of never speaking the words in school. I do stand when the national anthem is played. I am showing respect for the people who helped create our country and the people who are currently serving the public in every capacity from police officer to elected official. I am glad there were people willing to fight the system 225 years ago; otherwise my ancestors would have no where to go and I might be living on a farm in Poland, Ireland or Sweden.
National pride is something every country needs. If you don't care about your country, community or those around you, you might as well go join Saddam's caravan.
If you hate/are embarassed by or despise where you live, why are you still there? Why are you paying taxes? If you don't agree with the way things are run, you have choices. Run for office yourself, back a candidate who you agree with (not just voting; give money and join their election committee), or leave the town, county, state, country where you are.
Again, when you find Utopia, let the rest of us know. We can all get together and decide who will be in charge of how we live, where we live and who will make the rules.