A city council in Minnesota will no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance during its meetings because all of its members feel that patriotism has been weaponized and is, frankly, dangerous.
What are the details?
The St. Louis Park City Council voted on the measure 5 to 0 during a June 17 meeting to nix reciting the pledge at its meetings.
According to the Star Tribune, the members unanimously agreed that it was smart to drop the pledge from their meeting agendas because they were concerned it might deter new residents in the community from participating in the meetings.
St. Louis Park City Councilman Tim Brausen told the outlet, “Unfortunately, some of us feel like patriotism has been so politicized that it’s almost used as a weapon against people.”
Brausen also said that the pledge was apparently contentious dating back to even the 1980s, and voiced his hopes that the move to drop the pledge wouldn’t be too “controversial.”
“Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand,” he reasoned. “I don’t think we’re going to be any less welcoming by not starting our meeting out with the standard ritual.”
Brausen also pointed out that he believed the pledge could be intimidating or offensive to new area residents because of the immigration battle raging between the Democrats and the Republicans in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve had some racial equity initiatives going on in the city of St. Louis Park for a while where we’re trying to get more diverse communities and historically less engaged communities to come and participate in our public process,” he explained. “Given the current Washington politics that are going on now, there’s a lot of people that are afraid of our government, and we worry about that.”
Councilwoman Anne Mavity — who was responsible for proposing the measure — agreed, and pointed to other cities in Minnesota that don’t say the pledge prior to city council measures. The Star Tribune, however, checked Mavity’s claim, and found that only two cities in the metropolitan area had elected to stop saying the pledge.
St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano — who was not in attendance at the June 17 meeting — said that if he were there, he would have been the sole dissenting voice against the measure.
“While I’ve never been a fan of doing things just beceause that’s the way things have always been done, I’ve always used the last six words [of the Pledge of Allegiance] — ‘with liberty and justice for all’ — as a reminder to me that we need to make our community more open and welcoming for all our neighbors, not just a select few.”
The new rule will go into effect just in time for the next meeting, set to be held July 15.
How did people respond?
According to the outlet, many residents were outraged by the council’s decision to drop the pledge from its meetings.
One resident said, “It’s always been tradition here since I’ve been watching the city council meetings back in the late ’80s. They’ve always done the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s kind of automatic, or traditional.”
Another resident called the decision “obnoxious.”
“My fear for this council is that it’s all about image and not substance,” the resident complained.