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.