Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Hometown City Council Makes FOX, er Faux, News...

To really appreciate this story a bit of context on the culture of Eugene, Oregon and how that culture responds to issues. Which basically is a passive aggressive response to everything (don't get me started on the "round abouts")  while doing sometimes comic, and always surreal, topsy turvy maneuvers in a mad scrambling act to cover their asses.

City council member Mike Clark recently decided he wants the city council to recite the pledge of allegiance before every meeting. (As if the meetings aren't long enough already with time wasting crap.) Letters to the editor are still coming in on this ploy, which is a disingenuous political move on Clark's part. Clark and his supporters are crying "diversity" not understanding that the majority system is not the diverse thing that needs to be recognized.

The majority of the city council agreed to appease everyone -- the patriotic zealots, the fundie Christians, the right wingers, the lefties, the hippies, and all the other groups in this "diverse" town. They won't say the pledge at every meeting, but will say it four times a year: on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day and of course, the Fourth of July.

This made Fox faux national news. You can guess what they have to say about this. Go on, guess. According to this article, plenty of irate phone calls and messages have been coming into the city, like this one:
“Thank you,” wrote Loren Pierce of Reno, Nev. “You have made our decision easy for us. We have decided to move our 120-member family reunion away from Eugene, you communist bastards.”
(The comments left at the above article are  entertaining as well as frightening.)

On a local level, as the letters to the editor in the local paper (Register Guard) demonstrate, ignorance is Queen. There are plenty of people who don't know the history behind the words " nation ... under God..." in the pledge and  think that any thing not Christian is an attack upon Christianity. My favorite one  is the idea that having open disagreement in discourse is un-American, while, of course, it is very American. No, I take that back ; my favorite one is the religious fanatical opinion that "under God" is inclusive. Not true, but even if it were, it's beside the point. History be damned; many of those who see nothing wrong with it don't know how those words came to be included in the pledge. Or that ironically, the pledge was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, who did not want any mention of a deity and that is why there is no mention in the pledge.
 He [Francis Bellamy] decided to craft a pledge that school children would say aloud in front of the flag -- a pledge that would reflect his socialist beliefs. As published in Youth's Companion, the first version read, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Until George MacPherson, pastor of then President Eisenhower's church, came along and in a political and transparent move -- taking advantage of the commie in every corner hysteria that America suffered from at the time -- urged   Eisenhower to add the "under God" to the pledge in 1954.  Before that, there were efforts to have "under God" or something similar amended to the pledge, along with various salutes and mandates. In fact, in the 1940s, the Supreme Court ruled that students in public schools could be forced to recite the pledge; but that ruling was overturned in 1943.

For more on this read David Greenberg's 2002 article Why we're not one nation "under God," in Slate magazine.

None of that matters to those who think their belief in their version of a God trumps everything.

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