Debora Pignatelli is a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council with some odd ideas about inequality, justice and the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, she decided to use the Pledge of Allegiance to express her frustrations.
According to WMUR-TV, the five-term Democrat decided to alter the end of the pledge to say, “… with liberty and justice for some.”
The executive council is a five-member body that, with the state’s governor, acts as the executive branch of state government. Its members recite the pledge at the beginning of every meeting, including the distance meetings necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The other four councilors — two Democrats and two Republicans — and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu all said the pledge in the traditional fashion. Pignatelli, however, felt it necessary to alter it.
Her explanation was that COVID-19 had exposed inequality ‘n’ stuff.
“I don’t say it all the time, but it has been clear to me since this coronavirus has started that we need to make some more progress if we’re going to call ourselves a country with liberty and justice for all,” Pignatelli said, according to WMUR.
She also tried to distance herself from the timing of a stunt that came just before the American holiday of remembrance for fallen heroes.
“It had nothing to do with Memorial Day,” Pignatelli told WMUR. “My father and my brother served honorably, and I honor them on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, along with all of our current and past service members.
“The coronavirus has pointed out and made it clear that we are not a country where everyone is considered equal and we have a lot more work to do to make this country a place where liberty and justice can live up to its promise,” she said.
“This pandemic has shone a bright light for me about the inequities in our country. That’s what this is about. Nothing more.
“Some people may want to make it about more. I see that now,” she said. “But it’s not.
“That’s why I’m in government, so I can try to make people’s lives a little bit better.”
Here’s a recording of Pignatelli’s version of the pledge published by the New Hampshire GOP, reminding those in the Granite State how Pignatelli is trying to make their lives a little bit better.
Many were not impressed.
“The Executive Council chamber is no place for this kind of disgraceful, radical behavior,” GOP Senate Majority Leader Bob Clegg, who will be challenging Pignatelli for her seat on the council, told WMUR.
“On the eve of Memorial Day, a holiday to celebrate and honor the fallen and injured members of the military that defended our country and our flag, Councilor Pignatelli chose to pull this disgusting stunt. She owes New Hampshire veterans and veterans across our nation an apology.”
But ignore all of that regressive noise. Thanks to Debora Pignatelli, the inequalities inherent in the coronavirus have begun to disappear. People’s lives are a little bit better because Pignatelli vulgarized the Pledge of Allegiance.
Finally, someone had the courage to change one word in the patriotic oath and the lives of the downtrodden got just a little bit brighter.
Apparently, people didn’t buy that explanation, so as WMUR reported, Pignatelli wrote an email that dug the ditch a little bit deeper.
“This COVID-19 pandemic has shown a bright light on the inequities in our society. We have always known about the unfairness in the way some people are treated but now it is crystal clear. We surely have much work to do to make it a more fair society, don’t you agree?” she wrote.
Yes, and that work begins with changing the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. Don’t you agree?
“Perhaps that is why I got into public service in the first place – to make the lives of people a little easier and more fair. I believe that my votes reflect that hope and promise,” Pignatelli wrote.
“I believe we live in the best country on earth. We have work to do and attitudes to change and thinking to do and decisions to make so that we can live up to our original purpose, this great experiment in democracy.”
I’m thankful that most state-level politicians like Pignatelli don’t have a phalanx of public relations people to protect them from writing emails like that.
No Kamala Harris or Adam Schiff — if they were ever to do something so tin-eared and unpatriotic as change the final words of the Pledge of Allegiance to “… with liberty and justice for some” — would write an email justifying themselves by saying an outrage like this was actually trying to “make the lives of people a little easier and more fair” and that it was “why I got into public service in the first place.”
I’m thankful because it doesn’t obfuscate what this was all about in the first place:
Debora Pignatelli is now a lot more famous than she was a week ago. I suppose I’m playing into it by writing about her, but I think this kind of disgraceful behavior deserves to have a light shone upon it so that Pignatelli isn’t able to pass this off as an act of righteous disobedience.
Pignatelli wasn’t able to shed light on why these inequalities might exist or whether they’re an affront to justice. The crux of her argument, inasmuch as she made one, appears to be that justice consists of total equality of outcome. No government on Earth has achieved that, nor should it try. That’s not what America’s about. We’re a land of opportunity — but that opportunity is available to those willing to work for it.
But then, I’m just guessing based on her language, which is vague enough to mean anything you want it to mean. After scanning Pignatelli’s explanations several times to try and come up with a coherent argument for why she changed the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, the only one I came up with was, “Please pay attention to me, Debora Pignatelli. I care about the disadvantaged. Really!”
Well, we’re paying attention to her, all right — but her plan didn’t go off quite as she expected it would.
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