Liberty and Justice for all…even in St. Louis Park, Minnesota

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In attempting to justify its decision to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag at its St. Louis Park City Council meetings didn’t do anything to unite anyone.

In fact, their justification in eliminating the Pledge, citing the growing diversity of their community, does a disservice to the very notion of the diversity that has made America the remarkable nation we are today.

The remarkable nation we have been for generations.

It boggles the mind that elected officials would suggest that their act of eliminating a rallying cry of support to democracy, freedom and liberty is because they want people to feel more welcome to their city.

What, exactly, about the Pledge of Allegiance offends the sensibilities of the residents of St. Louis Park?

What are the offending statements affirming America’s commitment to freedom for all that the St. Louis Park City Council felt any of its citizens would oppose?

And, more importantly, should any member of the St. Louis Park City Council embrace the beliefs of any of its citizens who oppose the Republic, the United States or liberty and justice for all?

Truth be told the Pledge of Allegiance has increasingly been something that fewer and fewer Americans recite in their day-to-day lives.

Fewer schools require it to be recited at the beginning of the school day.  Fewer public functions begin with a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.

I suppose there’s lots of reasons for that.

I don’t think any of them have much merit.

It further erodes our celebration of the very freedoms and liberties we enjoy as Americans.

Yes, it’s true, there is freedom and liberty in not requiring people to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

I respect people’s reasons for not wishing to do so even if I disagree with their decision not to do so.

However, let’s be clear that eliminating the Pledge of Allegiance because we claim to want to respect other people’s belief’s and create some kind of “safe space” for those who are uncomfortable with the message of the Pledge of Allegiance does not unify us as Americans.

It simply further divides us.

It also takes away an extraordinary opportunity for all of us to better understand, respect and appreciate the true message of what is in the Pledge of Allegiance.

To be an American means something.

There’s a history of America that’s worth remembering and reminding all of us that began with a big idea.

And, that America, while imperfect in its execution of its Founder’s lofty ideals, remains the one nation still most capable of achieving them.

The words in the pledge aren’t throw away lines in a speech.

They are words that would never be spoken from the lips of despots and tyrants and repressive regimes.

One would not hear the leaders of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and a host of other nations that choose not to celebrate the inalienable rights of its citizens utter the phrase “…liberty and justice for all.”

Would we choose not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance for fear of offending them?

Perhaps instead of choosing to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance for fear of alienating some of their citizens the St. Louis Park City Councilmembers could take the time to share with their citizens the true meaning of what it stands for.

It would require a belief that their allegiance to a flag of a nation, and a republic, which stands united, for liberty and justice for all, is something they, too, believe in.

At 56-years old perhaps I have become a member of that group of Old Fashioned Americans who believe that the blood and treasure that Americans have spilled and spent since the creation of the Unite States of America  is worthy of the less than 30-seconds it takes to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

I sing, badly, to our nation’s National Anthem.  I celebrate the 4th of July.  I respect the fallen Americans during Memorial Day and I grateful for those who have served during Veterans Day.

I thank God for the freedom and liberty that men and women give to my family every single day by serving this nation across the world and here, at home, in America.

I am not afraid to say what I believe about America.

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.

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