I’m not sure “botch” is the right word; I don’t know what word to use. All I know for certain that Fargo’s School Board is getting a lot of publicity for adding one more chunk of division to nation that needs to start letting its self-inflicted wounds heal instead of tearing at them constantly
Once, in simpler and more sane times, what the Fargo School Board chose to do and say before their meetings wouldn’t even be news. In fact, I’d like to know who thought this should be news. If it wasn’t reported as significant, it wouldn’t be significant. If a school board member engages in dumb virtue-signaling in the forest and nobody hears it, does it matter? A conundrum for the ages. What did happen is this…
In February, a motion to have the Pledge recited at meetings, made by board member David Paulson, died for a lack of a motion for a second. Raised again at the March board meeting, it passed. Thus the Pledge…
“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.”
…was recited at the start of each board meeting since April 12.
But then School Board Vice President Seth Holden requested that the burning issue of whether the nine member board should recite a 31-word sentence before meetings or not issue be reconsidered yet again on August 9 after hearing critical comments from board members and the public.
Holden, clearly a good little woke ideologue, stated,“Given that the word ‘God’ in the text of the Pledge of Allegiance is capitalized, the text is clearly referring to the Judeo-Christian god and therefore, it does not include any other face such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, all of which are practiced by our staff and students at FPS,” thus making saying the pledge a “non-inclusionary act”. Thus the pledge couldn’t comply with the school district’s principle of inclusion as proudly delineated by its website, which states,
“Education is better where schools are composed of students, teachers, and families drawn from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, “races”/ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations.”
With such Aristotelian logic behind the motion to kill the Pledge, who could disagree? Well, two poor, unpopular schlubs did: Holden’s motion passed by a 7-2 vote, immediately triggering cheers from Colin Karepernick-lovers coast to coast, and declarations of condemnation from patriots and traditionalists everywhere. Quoth the Legal Insurrection: “Insufferable, politically correct, woke, progressive politics absolutely ruin everything. The people pushing this ideology are obsessed with controlling other people, and are incapable of the tolerance they demand of others.”
1. It’s good the Fargo School Board has nothing more important to decide than what they recite or don’t recite before meetings, don’t you think? In fact, this entire episode is strong evidence that the Fargo schools are run by shallow, unserious, ignorant and petty people who shouldn’t be entrusted with the education of the city’s children in any respect. The key point regarding the recitation of the Pledge is that it doesn’t matter. Rejecting it officially, however, does matter—it is another tiny cut among thousands being inflicted by more radical and sinister forces than the Fargo School Board to weaken American unity, pride, community cohesion and values.
2. The Pledge is a relic of a more innocent and unsophisticated time when rituals like standing, placing your hand over your heart and reciting a pledge officially sanctioned by Congress didn’t pink any ethics alarms. I assumed that it would have faded away by now: I remember thinking it was a little dissonant with the Constitution when I was in high school, a bit too redolent of Hitler Youth exercises. It’s over the line, to me, whereas singing the National Anthem is under it. Singing about a moment of American courage and perseverance is a crowd is a joyful, unifying experience. A mass pledge feels like compelled speech. Compelled speech is a First Amendment violation.
3. The objection to “God”—oooh, and it’s CAPITALIZED too; you can just hear that capital “G”—-in the pledge is a long-standing controversy, and easily fixed. There have been five versions of the pledge since the first one in 1892. Each one added something to the other, because when you take something away, that suggests that what the removed words symbolize is being rejected. “Under God” was added in the Fifties during the Cold War and the Red Scare, to make it clear that we didn’t like those godless Commies. The addition was a bad idea (as was putting “In God We Trust” in various places) for a nation that officially embraced religious freedom. How easily fixed? Nothing stopped the Fargo School Board from reciting the pre-1954 version that didn’t have “under God” but is otherwise the same.
4. What is objectionable is the woke ideological blather on the website, which is just mindless “diversity, equity, inclusion” cant. Nations need strong national cultures; schools need to reinforce and teach them, or pretty soon there is no nation. Doing so isn’t easy, but the bland statement that “Education is better where schools are composed of students, teachers, and families drawn from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, “races”/ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations” is propaganda without support, like the whole”DEI” lockstep movement. Education is better, I submit, when school boards, school administrators and teachers concentrate on teaching critical thinking and ethical analysis while providing basic facts and skills as tools for the process rather than obsessing about quotas, skin shades and the possibility that core American values might clash with cultures from foreign lands whose values this nation’s founding specifically and intentionally rejected.
5. The Pledge doesn’t matter. The fact that so many of our institutions and those who control them are eager to eliminate the traditions and values it represents does matter.
10 thoughts on “Observations On Fargo’s Pledge of Allegiance Botch”
Jack, I don’t agree with .5 above. In order to teach traditions and values it’s a small thing to make a pledge when it helps us to remember what those values are. And if the pledge really didn’t matter there wouldn’t be such an effort to do away with it.
I’m in great sympathy with you, KC. But it’s the loyalty pledge thing. It’s a tough issue for me.
The simple solution to this is to state unequivocally that recitation of the Pledge is voluntary.
From my point of view, the Pledge of Allegiance should be taught to K-12 children in routine/regular civics classes so they can reasonably understand what it is and what its civic purpose is. School children should not be coerced to recite it. A pledge, like this one, is a choice that an adult, or young adult, makes in regards to their personal commitment as an adult to their country not to a personal commitment to a representation of that country, a flag, or a personal commitment to God. It doesn’t matter one bit if the pledge is recited while looking at the Stars & Stripes or while looking at a blank wall because it’s not relevant what’s being looked at, the relevance is what’s in the heart and mind of the person reciting the pledge and the personal commitment that the words recited represent.
Side Note: It’s my understanding is that the reference to God was put in the pledge because of some verse(s) in the Bible that said something along the lines of if the country doesn’t revere God it will fail and Christians in the USA didn’t want the USA to fail. This tradition goes way, way back in history and it’s why in England they say “God save the King/Queen”. Religion has tentacles that reach deep into all societies whether we like it or not.
Here is how I think the pledge should read…
The way totalitarianism has been corrupting the minds of the people in our society in the 21st century, I sincerely hope that the word “indivisible” is not just pissing in the wind.
P.S. Coercing school aged children to recite the pledge is pure indoctrination.
P.S.S. I don’t give a damn if the school board chooses to recite the United States pledge of allegiance or not, it’s what they do as a school board to enhance the teaching of the children that’s important. It’s quite likely that they have some kind of oath of office, maybe the board should recite that oath at the start of every single school board meeting to keep them focused on why they are there.
If the Fargo referred to in this episode is the same Fargo as the inane television show then there is truth in art. Fargo is a city dominated by nincompoops. BTW, just watched “Flower Drum Song.” It is not only a story about individual love but also the love of the adopted nation of its characters. One of the principal characters, Auntie, has received honors in her civic preparation for citizenship. Her citizenship is celebrated, but you can’t make that movie anymore!
Not only that, you can’t perform the musical on stage any more, at least not the original. FDS was deemed too sexist and too racist, or something—the Rodgers and Hammerstein gate-keepers permitted complete politically correct re-write (though even that wouldn’t pass muster today) for the last revival, and it bombed.
1. I think your first observation is most critical. Fargo will regret this publicity, as the inevitable question will follow: “Don’t you have anything better to do?” Unless of course Fargo is not experiencing any of the current problems with which public schools everywhere else are struggling.
2. I heard (or seen) the Pledge of Allegiance as in part simply: “One nation, indivisible…”. Have you?
3. I also have thought since I was a kid that making a pledge to a flag was very odd. I thought then that pledging to the Declaration or Constitution or faith to the USA itself would be a more serious one. Then again, I was a kid, so what did I know?
That’s the way I learned it and said it up until about the 3rd grade; that’s when “under God” was added. What’s old is new… 🙂
At some point after that (years) it was made clear that recitation of The Pledge was optional; that one who wished not to say it could stand or sit quietly while others did say it. Some of us who did say it thought that the abstainers were merely grandstanding.
All other arguements against the pledge notwithstanding, the pledge is how I learned my right from my left in nursery school. It’s invaluable. The woke risk raising a generation of people who can’t find their way around town.