The city of St. Louis Park, Minnesota — a suburb of Minneapolis — is eliminating the Pledge of Allegiance from its city council meetings, arguing that it might intimidate newer residents to the country.
“I hope it’s not too controversial,” councilman Tim Brausen said of the change.
“Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand. I don’t think we’re going to be any less welcoming by not starting our meeting out with the standard ritual.”
Welcoming isn’t necessarily the point of the pledge, however — and it took the granddaughter of immigrants to remind them.
Patti Carlson is a resident of the city. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “her grandparents wanted to be American when they immigrated to the United States. She said she didn’t understand how the council could eliminate this part of their history, calling it ‘obnoxious.’
“My fear for this council is that it’s all about image and not substance,” Carlson told the city council, according to the Star Tribune.
That’s really what it’s all about, too. Let’s face facts: This is a move that isn’t about being welcoming but about being politically correct. Patriotism is seen as not being politically correct these days.
Hence, the pledge goes out the window.
Carlson wasn’t the only one who was annoyed at the change.
“It’s always been tradition here since I’ve been watching the City Council meetings back in the late ’80s,” Dennis Moran, a resident of St. Louis Park, told the Star Tribune.
“They’ve always done the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s kind of automatic or traditional.”
Moran isn’t exactly a man of the right, either; he “described himself as an old-school DFLer,” referring to Minnesota’s odd version of the Democrat Party.
He also noted that the council didn’t exactly say it had gotten any complaints about the pledge.
“Not everyone who does business with the city or has a conversation is a citizen,” councilwoman Anne Mavity, the sponsor of the change in St. Louis Park, said.
“They certainly don’t need to come into city council chambers and pledge their allegiance to our country in order to tell us what their input is about a sidewalk in front of their home.”
Of course, nobody’s insisting that they do. They’re merely doing it because they’re a municipality in the United States — and, if residents don’t wish to pledge allegiance to the flag, they don’t have to.
But again, that’s not really factoring into the equation. According to The Washington Times, Brausen “cit[ed] an increasingly polarized political climate and the national debate over federal immigration policies.”
In other words, this is merely sticking it to conservatives, and one conservative in particular.
There’s nothing divisive or polarizing about wanting to be American. There’s little debate over whether the Pledge of Allegiance is offensive or off-putting. No complaints have yet to be produced.
Oh, and by the way, St. Louis Park isn’t particularly diverse: “According to U.S. Census data from 2018, St. Louis Park has a population of just over 49,000 residents,” the Star Tribune reported. “Of that total, 83% are white, 7.7% are black, 3.8% are Latino, 3.7% are Asian and 3.3% cite two or more races. In Minnesota as a whole, 83.7% are white, 5.9% are black, 4.7% are Asian, 2.8% claim two or more races and 1% are American Indian, according to the most recent American Community Survey.”
In other words, this is mostly white liberals trying to make themselves feel good about themselves.
Meanwhile, Carlson’s lesson should ring true for all of us. We ought to strive toward wanting to be American if we immigrate here, and the pledge is part of that. There is nothing divisive here — and the search for division is the truly offensive thing.
“St. Louis Park appears to be reconsidering the decision to omit the pledge. One hopes that in this case, sanity — and patriotism — will prevail.”
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