A member of the Arcata (CA) City Council recently suggested — suggested — that they stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings. It didn’t happen. But still, conservatives are throwing a fit over the mere possibility of making a weak symbol of patriotism merely optional.
The discussion took place on August 21, when councilor Paul Pitino raised the issue during an otherwise dull conversation about whether the council needed to update its protocol manual. Seriously, it’s dull. You can hear it at the 1:13:35 mark below, but the transcript is below. Note how boring it is.
PITINO: I have one thing, on [page] 274 of 406, and it says Order of Business: Call to Order and Flag Salute. I would love to get rid of the Flag Salute — Pledge of Allegiance — if we could do that. I don’t know if anybody else is interested in that.
One councilor replied by saying she liked the tradition but didn’t understand the history of the Pledge very well. (Hey, I’ve got a podcast for that!)
Mayor Brett Watson added, very politely, “Right now, I’m not interested in it, but I’d like to think about it and talk to you about it.”
And then Pitino responded with the actual correct history of the Pledge!
One of the reasons that I bring it up is, it was introduced to the U.S. by an advertising executive as a way of drumming up support for whatever they were trying to sell. And it got accepted into the communities. Especially schools. And then just imposed on them. It’s not anywhere in our… Founding Fathers… or the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that says you have to do this. For me, it’s something that has been added in, and we’ve just… by rote, accepted that it’s something that we do.
And the necessity for it, to me, doesn’t exist outside of trying to promote adherence to the flag, which is starting to become a little archaic in my mind.
So I just would like to see the discussion occur. Personally, I don’t do it, because it’s sort of… it gets close to being religion in a way, or a belief mechanism, if you want to call it that, and I don’t think it has any place in our council meetings.
Oh my god, he gets it! He knows the history! He knows the Pledge was originally an advertising campaign to sell flags, until it was co-opted by other groups and later became something of a test of loyalty. He knows it was written by a xenophobe. He knows it’s become a cheap way of shoving religion into public schools.
His suggestion is a perfectly sensible one.
But again, his colleagues aren’t aware of any of that. To them, it’s just a pleasant tradition that raises no cognitive dissonance in their minds.
Another councilor chimed in by saying he felt the Pledge was “aspirational rather than a statement of fact,” which made him okay with it.
At this point, the city’s lawyer asked if Pitino wanted staff to do more research on the subject, and he demurred. He didn’t want to waste the staff’s time on this; he was just raising a point about the Pledge’s history that seemed worthwhile, and if his colleagues did their own research (he suggested just Googling the Pledge), they would realize he wasn’t making any of this up.
Watson then said he would look into it more himself, and they could raise the issue again at a future date. It was an easy way to acknowledge that Pitino’s concerns were heard and a way to just move on to another topic.
That’s all that happened.
Like I said, mostly boring, but Pitino is definitely correct about the Pledge’s history.
But FOX News’ professional shit-stirrer Todd Starnes is already challenging Pitino’s patriotism.
He opened an article about the meeting by writing, “Patriotism is under assault in city halls,” later saying “leftists” want to “destroy the past.”
… I warn Americans about the stealth war being waged on our traditions and heritage.
That’s why so many lawmakers and educators have been triggered by the Pledge of Allegiance. The belief that we are one nation under God has caused an untold number of leftists to suffer microaggressions.
The city council did not take immediate action on Pitino’s request, but given their aversion to patriotism, I would not be surprised if the pledge got the heave-ho.
Their “aversion to patriotism”? Not only is the Pledge not synonymous with patriotism, four of the five council members didn’t agree with Pitino. Starnes is just making up his own news again because reality doesn’t fit in with his martyrdom fantasy.
There’s nothing wrong with what Pitino said. There would be nothing wrong with the Pledge getting the boot. And maybe one day Starnes will learn the Pledge’s actual history, since he clearly has no knowledge of it.
(via Lost Coast Outpost)