Is it really a big deal that a small Midwestern city stops reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? My answer is, “yes,” and I’ll tell you why. The city council of St. Louis Park voted unanimously to stop reciting the Pledge. Here were some of their remarks regarding this decision:
Ellen Hertz, a business owner in the city, says she has no problem with the change, but doesn’t think it was necessary.
‘In terms of what would offend people and what offends me, that’s not at the top of the list,’ Hertz said.
Mayor Jake Spano wasn’t at the meeting when this change was approved. He says getting rid of the pledge wasn’t a big priority for him.
Spano told CBS Minnesota via email: ‘I think there are more substantive things we should be working on to make our city more open and welcoming.’
Welcoming to whom? I checked the demographics of the city: The population is just under 50,000; the city is 81% white; 96% have attended high school, 4% have attended college; the median household income is $71,346. In other words, it’s a pretty prosperous, blue-collar, Midwestern community. So who is pushing this agenda?
Even though the vote was unanimous, they are going to revote on the issue July 8.
One Council Member had this to say:
‘I hope it’s not too controversial,’ [Tim] Brausen said. ‘Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand … Unfortunately, some of us feel like patriotism has been so politicized that it’s almost used as a weapon against people.’
His comment makes me wonder about a few things: Who originally proposed this change? Why would his citizens “understand?” What makes him think their community is “increasingly diverse” when it’s not? And why does he think that’s important?
Why do so many council members seem indifferent to this decision?
(I couldn’t find a tally of other city councils that don’t recite the pledge.)
It’s too bad when patriotism is seen as a highly politicized issue.