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J. KARL MILLER: Pledge of Allegiance welcome addition to City Council meetings

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | 12:22 a.m. CST; updated 11:14 a.m. CST, Thursday, January 13, 2011

As one who is saddened by the less-than-respectful behavior paid the national anthem at sporting events, conventions, etc. (slouching, talking, laughing, moving, hats not removed — you name it), I was pleased when City Councilman Daryl Dudley pressed for and succeeded in adding the Pledge of Allegiance to the ceremonial opening of city meetings. And, like Mr. Dudley, I was surprised it was not part of the normal procedure.

I see nothing sinister nor passé in showing respect for the national colors, the national anthem and this nation that was built on freedoms that few other countries enjoy. Is it asking too much to ask citizens to stand at attention for the 10-12 seconds required to recite the pledge, a tradition performed at each daily session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives?

The vivid memory remains of the utterly loathsome practices of the juvenile anti-war and anti-U.S. protesters of the 1970s (e.g., flag-burning, attacking authority, and the desecration of law enforcement, reserve military establishments and ROTC facilities, along with disrespect to returning personnel). They were and are an embarrassment. I believed we had outgrown such immaturity and moved beyond the rabble-rousers' notions of love of country as fascist and patriotism as purely jingoistic.

Consequently, I was taken aback when First and Sixth Ward council members Paul Sturtz and Barbara Hoppe voted "no" to reciting the pledge. It did not surprise me that Sturtz and Hoppe would have issues with the requirement, but I found it odd that they would voice opposition in a forum to which they were elected to represent their constituents. I have some difficulty believing their stand will win the respect of their electorates.

Ms. Hoppe and Mr. Sturtz are entitled to believe as they choose and may do so without review or recrimination, as we we all may. Nevertheless, as elected public servants, their actions are subject to community oversight and the resultant consequences.

While I do not deny them their right to their opinions, I find their reasoning specious — perhaps "without merit" is a better term. Mr. Sturtz's reminisces of an unhappy experience of robotic recitals in elementary school along with describing the pledge today as "problematic" and "divisive" are not convincing. Ms. Hoppe's account that neither Lincoln nor Washington said the pledge and notion that people might be uncomfortable participating on camera likewise stretch the imagination.

As a native-born (senior) citizen and a member of many national organizations, I have never felt put-upon or embarrassed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public. In grammar school, we not only raised the flag and mouthed the pledge on a daily basis, we also recited a Bible verse every Monday morning. There was no penalty for not having a Bible verse, nor was anyone embarrassed or emotionally scarred by the ceremony.

In America, we observe a number of traditions — along with the time-honored pledge, there are Veterans Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and, yes, Christmas. Must we curtail or cancel any of these observances for fear of offending the non-native or those easily offended? When we visit other sovereign nations, are we not expected to observe with courtesy their cultures and traditions?

Finally, as a caution to anyone who seeks to or does represent an electorate as a public servant, you are free to take a position on any issue — it may be controversial or unpopular — it is your choice to make. However, in so doing, one must realize there are consequences for every action — you are held accountable for your "attaboys" and your "oops" as well. I doubt seriously that a public stand against the Pledge of Allegiance will generate a wave of support.

It is my observation that those who equate displays of patriotism as ultranationalistic or outdated tend to assume the mantle of progressive intellectuals. Definition of a true intellectual: "One who can hear the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger."

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.

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Comments

Kevin Gamble January 12, 2011 | 1:06 a.m.

My reaction to this action by the council was to see it as superficial nonsense. To suggest that supporting turning the pledge into a rote ritual is the only valid position for someone loyal to their country is equally nonsensical.

It's a disturbing trend among certain political factions in this country to insist on artificial "purity tests" for commitment to one's nation. This time-wasting new bit of theater is as meaningful a gesture as a made-in-China "Power of Pride" sticker on the back of a car.

As with faith and most other issues of gravity in life, those demanding the most public, institutionalized demonstrations of some virtue or another are usually those least qualified to do said virtues justice. In such matters, I tend to be something of a purist, believing that humility, not a mandated spectacle, is the best way to show respect for a country I love.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 12, 2011 | 10:30 a.m.

Kevin Gamble wrote:

"My reaction to this action by the council was to see it as superficial nonsense."

I agree with you. The fact that councilpeople volunteer their time to a sometimes thankless, difficult, controversial job shows their dedication to our civil processes, and by extension, "the Flag, ... and the Republic for which it stands". To waste time reciting the Pledge is a bit redundant, if not silly.

DK

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 10:58 a.m.

I suppose too we should dispense with the oath of office our public officials, military, and law enforcement officers take. No longer should we teach children the Pledge nor the Star Spangled Banner. The 10 Commandments should be out too. And Heaven forbid we sing God Bless America.

You on the left who have never suffered in the course of upholding the liberties for which our country stands will never, never understand their value. Only when you have been deprived to true freedom and are subjugated to a tyrant will you comprehend just how valuable this "superficial nonsense" is. I pray you nor any of us have to truly face that day. But if we do, I hope you remember how you mocked those ideals.

If you want to know though the value those ideals have, talke to some of our POWs from WW2, Korea, or Vietnam. Perhaps they could make you understand. But I doubt it.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger January 12, 2011 | 11:13 a.m.

Mr, Milsop writes, "You on the left who have never suffered in the course of upholding the liberties for which our country stands will never, never understand their value."

I beg your pardon, but many of those "on the left" have willingly enlisted, volunteered, served, fought, been imprisoned, tortured, bled, and died upholding these precious liberties--and you know it. Back off.

(Report Comment)
Nelson Richter January 12, 2011 | 11:38 a.m.

My problem with the Pledge is when it is used to hide behind by those who would do harm to other groups of Americans. "If you do not agree with me then you are unpatriotic and would be considered a traitor".

(Report Comment)
Bill Wolff January 12, 2011 | 11:43 a.m.

The comments above are trivial because they speak of wasted time. Fifteen seconds is maximum time to recite the pledge, speaking very slowly. So what is their real motive in disapproving the recitation? Progressives are the "hope and change" President Obama asked for, as they are openly scornful of the United States' exceptionalism, often displayed in international forums. For me, I will gladly "waste" 15 seconds declaring my allegiance to the "last best hope" of the world.
Bill Wolff

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady January 12, 2011 | 11:56 a.m.

I don't think the Pledge is a waste of time, but I agree with the poster who said Councilpersons have already shown their dedication. Using this issue as a Litmus test will not prove to me whether a particular Council member has everyone's best interests at heart. It's starting to feel like the 50s again, and this will not fix our problems folks.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock January 12, 2011 | 12:07 p.m.

I wasn't alive in the 50's but people seemed to have a lot more common sense back then. So it may not be a bad thing.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 12:21 p.m.

Hank, very few of today's liberals served, even less in actual combat. And don't compare today's liberals with yesterday's Dems. I doubt you will find many of today's liberals who would support a Democrat President who uttered these words:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Fifty years ago there wasn't a hair's difference in the basic values of Democrats and Republicans. Not anymore. You liberals no longer share those values. You have become the enemy of free speech and free enterprise.

I'll never back off.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 12, 2011 | 1:26 p.m.

I was alive during the 1950s, and I lived both inside and outside the United States. The 1950s weren't a decade of "radicalization." In fact the 1950s were by the standards of the 1960s or today a fairly boring time. :)

More than a few people might wish that the event at Tucson last week had been a lot more boring.

News reporting in the 1950s, especially during the first half of the decade, was still largely via print media. The Korean War is sometimes cited as the last American war not to be presented to the public on TV.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 12, 2011 | 1:32 p.m.

@ Don

That is a good Kennedy quote and I don't know any liberals that have a problem with it.

BTW, this liberal served and in combat. You are spewing more dividing nonsense without anything to back it up while simultaneously insulting the millions of liberals that served their country including those that made the ultimate sacrifice. If you served in the military then I should not have to tell you how ashamed you should be of yourself right now for uttering such disrespectful nonsense about your fellow Americans.

Another great quote from Kennedy that you should think about; it describes you perfectly:

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 2:06 p.m.

Jack, you can't be serious. You don't know any liberals who would have a problem with that portion of JFK's inaugural speech? Yes, we are divided. I share almost nothing in common with liberals. Nor do I want to share their values. I'm sure they feel the same way about mine. We'll battle this out in the court of public opinion every other year in November. If this November is any example, the liberals are definitely on the losing side of the values most Americans believe in.

I salute you for your service Jack. But you are a rarity amongst liberals compared to conservatives.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 2:12 p.m.

Jack, even amongst liberals who served, we find those such as Murtha, Kerry - who said if you are stupid you end up in the military, and Richard Blumenthal - who in spite of lying about his military record, liberals chose to elect anyway. If this is your idea of the veterans you chose to lead your party, you can keep them. But please don't compare them to the Dems of WW2 or Korea. Today's liberals have nothing in common with those men and women.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 2:26 p.m.

Just to ensure liberals understand. Conservatives are going to exercise their right of free speech regardless of how much you dislike it. We are going to turn this nation around from the disaster that your policies and ideal represent. It will take a long time. Sit back liberals. Get used to not liking it as much as we disliked what you did to the country for 40 years. And get used to the idea that you no longer control the media, and in fact are in a rapid decline. America has rejected you.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 12, 2011 | 3:01 p.m.

My initial reaction when this came up was, "Well, perhaps you should pick your battles more carefully."

But, then I thought...given the way things are today, and what many of us want to teach our children.....why not?

(I believe that when you pledge to our flag, you are also pledging to what we have traditionally believed in this nation...things like the Constitution and the principles of freedom we espouse. These are things that bear repetition...becoming a habit, if you will. It isn't such a bad habit, methinks.)

(Report Comment)
David Rosman January 12, 2011 | 3:26 p.m.

Karl - To a point, I agree with you. However it took almost 1,100 words to make my case, so...

Please see my response on my InkandVoice blog.

"Does the American Pledge of Allegiance constitute a congressionally approved public prayer, a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? I believe it does." Read more: http://wp.me/pDkAX-5e

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 12, 2011 | 3:51 p.m.

David: Well, there's a simple solution.

When we come to "under God", just don't say the words at all. You see, many of us are going to say those words and, if you just continue on with "indivisible...." WITHOUT the "under God" part, than all unison will be destroyed and everyone will hear unintelligible nonsense; we'll all be out of sync. Simply wait a heartbeat until the rest of us catch up.

Being out of sync is like everyone singing Happy Birthday in a different key...hard on the ears. And, we'd finish on time so as not to waste 1 more precious second after already wasting 10.

Or, if Gaia floats your boat (or whomever), go for it, but you'll have to say the three syllables FAST so you don't fall behind and mess things up.

See, the good news for you is that the city council has decided to say the Pledge of Allegiance....but no one HAS to participate, and no one HAS to use the right words. Heck, you don't even have to stand and you can put your left hand over your heart if you want. Keep your hat on. Or, like some folks who forget the words, simply say, "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon"; no one will notice at all. (PS: I can personally attest that no one notices my fruity theme when the tiger song is played).

Some folks wanted time to voice their allegiance before a formal governmental meeting. They should be allowed to do it.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 12, 2011 | 3:59 p.m.

Why don't we just set it up like a Barber Shop Quartet and just let each person say whtever they believe when it comes to "Under God", like "Under Allah", Under Budda", and "I'm An Athiest"? LMAO!

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 4:48 p.m.

David, did you ever notice the ending of the Constitution?

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth

That Lord with a capital L, meaning Jesus Christ.

I hope that liberals won't chose to argue this point.

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady January 12, 2011 | 5:00 p.m.

If you're wondering why some people don't jump on the "Bring it on" bandwagon, maybe it's because the wars prior to JFK's Presidency - including the one he fought in - were more likely to actually have something to do with defending liberty than some of the ones we got ourselves into afterwards. America was united in its willingness to pay any price to stop Hitler and the Japanese. A lot of people don't feel quite the same about Iraq.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 5:04 p.m.

Interesting comment Chris. So what would you have done about 9/11?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 12, 2011 | 5:06 p.m.

@ Don

In the year of our Lord is the translation of "Anno Domini" into English. It has no reference to religion. It is simply a way to distinguish a year between B.C. and A.D.

You should really think about that Kennedy quote I gave you earlier. You do not seem to do any thinking or research before forming your opinions. Here is another quote for you:

"An amendment was proposed by inserting the words “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." -Thomas Jefferson

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 12, 2011 | 5:17 p.m.

Well, if y'all are gonna gripe about the "under God" business, you need to tell Congress AND the President to quit praying to anything.

Otherwise, I'm not gonna think yer serious about this stuff.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 12, 2011 | 5:20 p.m.

"So what would you have done about 9/11?"

What does the Iraq War have to do with the attacks on 9/11 by Saudi terrorist based out of Afghanistan?

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 5:22 p.m.

Chris, I would remind you that during WW1, WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, we had fairly well defined enemies. This is a different war. None of the enemy are in uniform. They recognize no rules of engagement. They have easy access to materials for weapons of mass destruction. They have freedom of movement and easy communications. We allow them to readily enter our nation. So tell me Chris, if you were king, how would you stop the terrorists? Would you fight them here, or would you prefer to do it over there if possible.

I would remind you the British put troops in Northern Ireland in 1969. They pulled out their troops in 2007. In 1980, if somebody had told you that someday there would be peace in Northern Ireland, you would have laughed. It took better than a generation, but it is now pretty peaceful. Was that worth the 3,000 lives it cost?

As for WMD's in Iraq not being found, they were found:

http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/Iraq...

But it was not up to us to prove Saddam had WMDs. It was up to Saddam to prove he did NOT have WMDs. Saddam had them, he used them, he failed to prove he destroyed them. Only a fool would have thought he didn't still have them.
At least that's what leading liberals said:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdqu...

I would also remind you that in 1991, we signed a cease fire with Iraq. Saddam violated that cease fire on numerous occasions. I believe when you violate a cease fire, you make yourself subject to an immediate butt kicking.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

Jack, who said that the Iraq war had to do with 9/11? By the way, it's a war on terror. Saddam was a terrorist.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 5:27 p.m.

Oh for heaven's sake Jack. BC means Before Christ. Anno Domini correctly means in the year of our Lord. Again Lord meaning Jesus Christ.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger January 12, 2011 | 5:31 p.m.

Mr. Milsop writes, "Just to ensure liberals understand. Conservatives are going to exercise their right of free speech regardless of how much you dislike it. We are going to turn this nation around from the disaster that your policies and ideal represent. It will take a long time. Sit back liberals. Get used to not liking it as much as we disliked what you did to the country for 40 years. And get used to the idea that you no longer control the media, and in fact are in a rapid decline. America has rejected you."

It would certainly be inviting to respond to this splenetic discourse, but frankly it isn't worth the time nor the energy my computer would consume to do so. It wouldn't change your mind, and it would only further more non-productive, polarizing foolishness. More rewarding would be a nap.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 12, 2011 | 5:33 p.m.

"Jack, you can't be serious. You don't know any liberals who would have a problem with that portion of JFK's inaugural speech?"

No I don't know any that disagree with it. Liberals and conservatives do not disagree about defending or fighting for liberty at any cost; they disagree on what liberty is. Liberals do not believe that forcing personal religious beliefs on others is defending liberty (abortion, creationism in schools, gay rights, civil rights). They do not believe that using military force for economic gain is ensuring the success of liberty (Iraq). They do not think that raising taxes so that we actually pay for what we consume instead of stealing from our grandchildren by going into debt is liberty.

If you think that your liberty is being protected because of the Iraq war, or that gays being able to marry and the government raising your taxes infringes your liberty, then I believe that you do not know what liberty is.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 6:08 p.m.

Thanks Jack for explaining the liberal view of Democracy. It's what we rejected on Nov 2nd.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 6:18 p.m.

Hank, there is a time for splenetic discourse.

"In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

Liberals are tyrants. Petty little dictators who seek to rule with an iron fist by any means possible. You would take away our right of free speech. You would disarm the public. You have endorsed the murder of 3,000 unborn children every single day of the year for 37 years. You use voter fraud at any time possible. You would seek through the courts that which you can not win in an election or by vote of public officials. You seek to invite rights where none exist, and take away rights where they do. You would take away that which you have not earned and give it to those who you would hold in financial servitude indefinitely.

Booker T. Washington warned us about liberals in his book, Up From Slavery. We do recognize you for what you are, and our efforts against you will continue.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 6:31 p.m.

"It is my observation that those who equate displays of patriotism as ultranationalistic or outdated tend to assume the mantle of progressive intellectuals."

Colonel, I would recommend for progressive intellectuals, you substitute repressive faux intellectuals.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger January 12, 2011 | 7:04 p.m.

Mr. Milsop:

Zzzzzzz.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 7:07 p.m.

Be very quiet. He's makes more sense when he's sleeping.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 12, 2011 | 7:18 p.m.

Don Milsop wrote:

"Would you fight them here, or would you prefer to do it over there if possible."

Well, except we're not fighting the "terrorists" over there. We're fighting partisan indigenous groups of Baathists and Taliban.

Here, we fight the terrorists with intelligence (the military kind) and cooperation, and it's working pretty well. (Probably that's how we should have handled 9/11).

Where's the terror (on our soil)? The average American doesn't even think about the possibility of a terrorist attack affecting them, and they're right. Terror attacks on our soil are simply not common enough to worry yourself over, and it's a real reach to say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are preventing terror here.

DK

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 9:00 p.m.

So Mark, you're telling me we didn't defeat al Queda in Iraq?

(Report Comment)
Jim Clayton January 12, 2011 | 10:17 p.m.

We always recited the pledge when I was in school and read from the bible each mornin galso. I wonder with the council here reciting the pledge,are they using the phrase "Under God" in it since that was the center of controversey not too long ago.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 12, 2011 | 10:48 p.m.

At the beginning of each day, the announcement over the PA said, "Will all those who wish to do so please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer. A couple of students didn't stand. Without anybody telling us we understood why they didn't stand was because of their religion. Nobody mocked them in any way 50 years ago. Nobody treated them differently. When it came to the Lord's Prayer, being Catholic, I didn't say the additional words that Protestants used then....and Catholics use now.
I didn't feel in any way slighted or pushed aside.

Basically liberals just need to grow up. Anything the majority does that they don't like becomes a clarion call for them to feign some sort of Sarah Bernhardt hand to the forehead, collapse to the floor swoon. You need a good dose of R. Lee Ermey therapy counselling.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 13, 2011 | 7:51 a.m.

Don Milsop wrote:

"So Mark, you're telling me we didn't defeat al Queda in Iraq?"

Elements of it, sure. But they're not the source of all global terrorists. Most of the people we fought were military and paramilitary supporters of Saddam, financed and supplied by anti-US and anti-Israeli governments and organizations. If the tables were turned, they would be called freedom fighters.

But these aren't the people like the guy that set his pants on fire with a dud bomb. You'll always have a few (usually not so bright) people that want to pull a stunt like that. That sort of terror has nothing to do with Iraq or Afghanistan, and will likely continue whatever happens militarily in the Middle East.

DK

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 13, 2011 | 8:04 a.m.

One thing I would really like to see in these discussions is a good dose of "fact check"

For example, I hear how conservatives will blame the governement for forcing banks to make bad loans, and liberals will blame big banks for taking advantage of innocent consumers for fun and profit. Neither side is particularly true, but both bash an entity which they love to bash (government in the former, large corporations in the latter) and the truth gets lost somewhere in the middle.

Truly solving problems (not just getting political mileage out of them) needs a level of accuracy and honesty that I find lacking in discussions all across the political spectrum. Without knowing and defining the problem precisely, we'll never solve it.

DK

(Report Comment)
John Bliss January 13, 2011 | 11:14 a.m.

Colonel, there are only a couple of reasons that I can think of that those 2 ppl voted against passing reading the Pledge. 1. Disrepect of our flag and country 2 MORE LIKELY, they don't remember it!! I do recall back in 1-5th grade classes, each room had a flag, either hanging, or framed, and right below it was the Pledge. Maybe that is what your City council needs, it posted somewhere to help those that can't remember! Good Post Sir!

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller January 13, 2011 | 12:24 p.m.

Dave, the notion that the words "Under God" in the pledge constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution is a stretch of the imagination I am not willing to take. Much as is the allegation that a "Nativity Scene" on the Courthouse Lawn or a Christmas Tree in the town square constitutes an establishment of religion, it is, in my opinion, a specious overreaction by those in search of something for which they may take offense.

It appears that several of my readers overlooked or ignored the passage which read "to recite the pledge, a tradition performed at each daily session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives." Is the Columbia City Council somehow on a higher plane of political correctness than is the U S Congress?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 13, 2011 | 1:25 p.m.

JKarlMiller asks, "Is the Columbia City Council somehow on a higher plane of political correctness than is the U S Congress?"
________________________

Yes. You'd make a good lawyer; they only ask questions for which they already know the answer.

Not that I agree with that higher plane, tho. Indeed, I think this community is paying a price for it because of the way the rest of the state perceives us.

To me, some things are valuable enuf to repeat over and over again. They form good habits, a self-discipline, that percolate into other aspects of our lives. Is the Pledge a small one, easily dispensed with? Yes. But, once you start getting rid of a bunch of small "good things to do", you end up with a society warped from what it once was. Part of the problem is desensitization and, for those who dispute how destructive it is, just compare the twin beds of the Dick Van Dyke Show with what your 10 year old can get on the computer with a few short clicks.

I don't mind saying the pledge. It reminds me of something that I think is worthwhile, it keeps it more towards the forefront of my mind. I don't mind a bit of a reminder every now and then, and I don't mind exercising self-discipline...which seems in short supply these days. It's the same way with the National Anthem....although I think the song "America the Beautiful" would be a much better one for us (but that's a no-go....the song contains the word "God").

(OK, on a somewhat lighter note concerning the Star Spangled Banner.....why the hell do some singers believe we want to hear their personalized, long, drawn-out renditions of the song that make it last for what seems 20 minutes? Is there something in the title that allows singers to change quarter notes into whole notes or create "runs" that make me seasick with all their ups-and-downs? There oughta be a law, or a shepherd's hook.)

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote January 13, 2011 | 3:52 p.m.

It is my opinion that a requirement mandating that individuals reference God as a condition of government service is most definitely a violation of the first amendment. If you disagree with that statement, perhaps consider if "God" was replaced with Allah. I think a few proponents of this measure would take issue with that hypothetical.
Also for those stating that individuals just remain silent during the parts they don't agree with, it seems that that would defeat the purpose of mandating people to recite the pledge in the first place.

(Report Comment)
Jim Wood January 13, 2011 | 5:13 p.m.

It's quaint that Mr. Dudley, a newcomer to public service, has such strong views on such superficial expressions of patriotism. Where is his commitment to solving Columbia's problems? The city is being sued by the EPA. There are high tensions between the police and citizens. The new parking garage is overdue and over budget. Tensions are high between students and residents. Overall, it's a complicated time for Columbia city government.

We know how Mr. Dudley feels about America, the flag and Republican Jesus...How does he feel about his city? When will he offer up a solution to a major citywide problem? Isn't that precisely why he ran for and was elected to the city council?

...Or is he just another red-meat demagogue, more interested in advancing an agenda than making his neighbors' lives better?

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 13, 2011 | 8:50 p.m.

Nobody can force you to say the pledge. Nobody can force you to say under God. If the council merely said, "Will all those who wish to do so......"

(Report Comment)
Ed Ricciotti January 14, 2011 | 12:19 a.m.

Unfortunately what we see here is that the issue of the pledge of allegiance was meant to be a superficial and divisive item. The fact that the Colonel wrote an entire editorial on it should alert the reader this is more than just a procedural matter for conservatives. Do not be surprised this election cycle if the question of the pledge comes up. Less time will be spent on debating real issues and more will be spent on patriotic window dressing.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 14, 2011 | 8:44 p.m.

Those values like patriotism or God mean nothing - until you've had all your other liberties stripped from you.

(Report Comment)
Errol Allen January 15, 2011 | 1:56 p.m.

A new Pledge for our liberal friends. "I pledge nothing to the flag of the United States of Ameririca and to the republic for which nothing stands, one nation under nothing, indivisible, with nothing and nothing for all.

(Report Comment)
Jim Wood January 15, 2011 | 4:28 p.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance wasn't political until jingoistic conservatives made it that way. In the place of sound and decent public policies, people like Councilman Dudley use the Pledge as a political wedge to fire up the masses and distract people from the fact that conservative leadership has nothing productive or positive about it. Now that the Chamber bought Dudley a seat on the council, he'll do anything short of a striptease to distract Columbians from his lack of ideas. Did he really run for office just to jam this absurd measure into law? Is this all he really wants done for our city?

(Report Comment)
Philip Vassallo January 16, 2011 | 11:41 a.m.

I will never BACK OFF

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 17, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.

Before making such a vow you might wish to try taking a discernible stance.

(Report Comment)
Steven Whitaker, CRM January 27, 2011 | 8:59 p.m.

Keep after them Don Milsop. Wish some Dems would listen to John Kennedy's words... "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Liberals do not understand it now ...

(Report Comment)

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