In Biddeford, Maine, the City Council says the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of meetings. The Public Safety Committee usually doesn’t. But the PSC’s agenda a few weeks ago included the Pledge by accident, so City Councilor Marc Lessard just skipped it and the committee got straight to work.
This, for some reason, is very controversial.
The Aug. 24 meeting began when… Lessard, who is chairman of the committee, announced, “We’ll dispense of the Pledge of Allegiance and make sure we manage that at our next council meeting.” Although nobody in attendance protested the decision or requested that the pledge be recited, people have been sharing their dismay with Lessard’s decision on Facebook. As of the Courier’s deadline, Terry Belanger, a resident who is also a veteran, had been organizing a rally to happen before the city council meeting at Biddeford High School on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in protest of the omission.
Just to repeat: this guy wants to hold a protest rally because elected officials got to work instead of wasting time on a symbolic ritual.
Belanger took time away from yelling at a cloud to explain his reasoning:
“… what about what the flag represents? What about the people who have died or been badly maimed? We can’t devote 13 seconds in their honor? The flag represents our country. To show respect for that 13 seconds doesn’t take away from their meeting at all.”
And not saying the Pledge doesn’t disrespect their service, either.
Does Belanger say the Pledge before eating breakfast? How about at the start of church services? If not, WHY DOES HE HATE AMERICA?!
He wasn’t alone. Another resident had his own complaint:
“I’m still trying to understand why Councilor Lessard and Chief Roger Beaupre felt they could disrespect our nation and refuse to do the Pledge of Allegiance as is custom at every meeting,” said [Matt] Lauzon, whose post was shared with multiple other users and pages.
Beaupre, who just takes minutes at the meeting, has no idea why he’s getting dragged into this:
“I’m just a staff member attached to the committee to take minutes,” Beaupre said. “I don’t set the agenda. I make recommendations, but I can’t vote. Not every committee has (the pledge) … There’s no consistency with that. As a matter of fact, I was kind of surprised to see it on this (agenda). The only one that usually has it is the Policy Committee.”
If Belanger and Lauzon want a bunch of local leaders to say magic words instead of getting down to meaningful work, they can attend church. They should be grateful that they have elected officials who don’t want to participate in forced patriotism and would rather be efficient with their time.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Randy for the link)