This week, the St. Louis Park City Council voted to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings. It is a vote heard round the nation. Even The Washington Post covered it, noting it did not go over well.
Why did the city council of St. Louis Park vote unanimously (5-0) to drop the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings with less than three minutes of discussion? "In order to create a more welcoming environment to a diverse community," one city councilmember was quoted as saying,
City Councilmember Tim Brausen told The Washington Post that "Unfortunately, some of us feel like patriotism has been so politicized that it's almost used as a weapon against people."
So who has politicized patriotism? In 2018, the city council approved a series of strategic priorities that includes "being a leader in racial equity and inclusion in order to create a more just and inclusive community for all." What could promote a more just and inclusive community than a pledge to defend “liberty and justice for all”?
As MN GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan said in response, “I am a newer and diverse St. Louis Park resident and I find this decision offensive and unaccommodating to the nearly 49,000 of us that do reside in this city. “
Jacque Smith, the communications and marketing manager for the city, told The Washington Post in an email that the council plans to revisit its decision at a July 8 study session "after hearing many comments from the community."
On this Fourth of July, it is critical that we reflect on Ronald Reagan’s great words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”