In an interesting sign of how times have changed — even when tradition has ruled for so long — the Windsor Selectboard in Vermont (their local government) is on the verge of eliminating the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings.
Valley News columnist Jim Kenyon explains that nearly three decades ago, that would have been unthinkable.
On May 11, 1993, then-Windsor board Chairman Bill Hochstin took the routine to a new level. He asked anyone not intending to say the pledge to leave the board room…
“If people make a statement by not pledging the flag, they can make a statement outside the room,” said Hochstin, who served in the military during the Vietnam War.
People were quick to point out Hochstin couldn’t force anyone to leave the room, but the Pledge has remained a part of meetings since then no matter who was elected to local government.
Later this month, however, the Pledge ritual is up for a vote and it looks like it’ll finally come to an end, with four of the five board members expressing their desire to nix it at last week’s meeting. Kenyon himself correctly notes that the Pledge is nothing more than “a hollow attempt by the powers that be, from school principals to U.S. presidents, to aggrandize patriotism.”
As I’ve written about before — and made an entire podcast series about! — there’s no reason to continue with Pledge rituals. It’s a ritual that pushes religion onto people who may not be religious. It suggests, falsely, that we really have “liberty and justice for all.” The Pledge was written to promote anti-immigrant sentiment. And frankly, our country, under Republican rule, isn’t one that deserves much admiration at the moment — why would we want to “pledge allegiance” to a nation that’s currently a global embarrassment?
If you get a chance, watch that video of their meeting because you’ll hear several board members making strong cases for why they personally don’t feel comfortable with the Pledge. It’s an incredible thing to behold. I only hope other local government officials (and school boards) follow their lead.
(Featured image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)