Coastal voices: Sticking up for the pledge

By Roger Gitlin December 05, 2011 11:54 am

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Did you ever think those 31 words would be so reviled by many in our country?

Recently in Eugene, Ore., the City Council and Mayor Kitty Piercy declared the pledge to be divisive and voted down a proposal to recite the Pledge before each City Council meeting, deciding instead to have it recited at the four meetings closest to the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Flag Day.

According to foxnews.com, one council member stated brazenly that the pledge “does not unite us.” Another councilwoman outrageously stated she owes no loyalty to the United States. “ I pledge loyalty to the world,” said Betty Taylor. Obviously, Ms. Taylor forgot the oath she took while being sworn in to the Council.

Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow was unsuccessful in having the pledge removed and from erasing the “under God” words from the pledge in California schools. The 9th District Court of Appeals upheld the pledge in its current form.

I have tepid tolerance for these America-haters. The patriotic-less, and politicians who pander to them, are misguided in their thinking. I perceive these feel-good bureaucrats as enablers for malcontents and as ingrates who dance their political correctness to the maddening point of common sense.

America-hating has been going on since this country was founded but I regret to tell you these whiners have gained a real foothold on the mass media since the Obama administration assumed power in 2009. Millions of Americans are taught it’s not cool to show your love of country and patriotism.  At the Veterans Day dinner, guest speaker Maj. Aadam Trask, U.S. Army Ranger (retired) stated, “Patriotism is neither Republican nor Democrat; it is American.”

I tell you proudly and loudly, I love the United States but I am saddened by the spotlight given to those who detest America and disdain any reference to God.  California is mandated to teach this loyalty and love of country in all K-12 schools. California Education Code 52720 requires a daily patriotic exercise which may include the Pledge of Allegiance during the homeroom period of the school day. Ed Code 52720 is clear. Though no student is required to recite the pledge, all students are required to remain standing, silent, and respectful while the pledge is recited.

This past September, I attended a Del Norte Unified School District Board meeting and addressed the board and Superintendent Don Olson. I advised the Board a Brookline, Mass., group calling itself the Political Action for Peace was attempting to have the Pledge of Allegiance removed from the Bay State’s K-12 schools, which only recites the pledge once per week.

I asked the board to reaffirm its commitment to the California Education Code, survey all classrooms in the district to ascertain an American flag is prominently displayed,  and verify the district is in compliance with existing California law.

I have been told the few classrooms sans American flags have now been so supplied, and the district is in full compliance with the State Education Code.

VFW Post 1381 in Crescent City has volunteered to donate as many American flags to the district as needed.

I congratulate the board for its commitment to the pledge. Regrettably, up and down the Golden State, not all schools enforce 52720.

There is no country in the world which can hold a candle to how the United States of America has evolved in its 236 years. The Pledge of Allegiance has contributed to America’s greatness by instilling in our youth patriotism and respect. Let’s protect that pledge against those who would assault it.

I urge you all to rededicate your commitment to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

Roger Gitlin is Crescent City resident, a retired teacher and a member of the Del Norte County Tea Party.