With President Donald Trump cheering them on via Twitter, residents of a Minnesota town are protesting a decision by the city council to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance before all meetings.
Because of the protests, members of the St. Louis Park City Council decided at a Monday night meeting to reopen the issue, though they did not vote to reinstate the pledge.
The city is a suburb of Minneapolis and is in the district of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Ending the recitation of the pledge was sponsored by councilwoman Anne Mavity. It passed 5-0 on June 17.
“We just decided it was something we didn’t need to do as a part of every single meeting,” she said, according to KARE.
“Not everyone who does business with the city or has a conversation is a citizen. 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,” she said.
Or as councilman Tim Brausen explained it, according to Fox News, “We concluded that in order to create a more welcoming environment to a diverse community we’re going to forego saying the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting.”
That did not set well with more than 100 residents who attended a city council work session Monday, spurred on by Trump’s tweet referring to them as patriots.
“Outrage is growing in the Great State of Minnesota where our Patriots are now having to fight for the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I will be fighting with you! @foxandfriends,” Trump tweeted.
Outrage is growing in the Great State of Minnesota where our Patriots are now having to fight for the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I will be fighting with you! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2019
Although protocols for the meeting precluded a public comment period, residents had their say in the tempestuous session.
“Yes, we need to have conversations about inclusion, diversity. Absolutely,” Tammy Hopps of Brooklyn Park said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Hopps handed out small American flags for protesters to wave.
“But we need to do it under this symbol,” she said.
“A lot of our culture is based on traditions. The Pledge of Allegiance, being patriots, is a part of that,” Jack Dunn, a veteran, said, according to WCCO.
“It’s a free country. If you want to say it, you can say it. If you don’t want to say it, you don’t have to say it, but you shouldn’t have the right to take that choice away from me,” protester Michele Even said.
Mayor Jake Spano indicated he thought the council erred in its vote, which was taken on a night he missed the council meeting. “I think it’s mainly planted or maybe cultivated in some people’s minds, the idea that somehow, people who are new to America don’t appreciate these things,” he said.
Mavity said she would prefer to discuss what to do and not just rescind the motion to end the saying of the pledge.
“We have an opportunity and the responsibility to use this moment to start a conversation in St. Louis Park, on what it means for our residents in our community to be patriotic, and to live out our community values and principles,” she said as protesters at the meeting booed.
However, Mavity admitted that the vote might have misread the community.
“We clearly fumbled by not anticipating the desire of our St. Louis Park residents to be in conversation about this,” she said.
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