We rarely talk politics in this space. We’re usually focused on community highlights, unique people, or other less controversial discussions that don’t inspire anger or other emotion.
We’re fascinated by the debate happening at the State Legislature surrounding the Pledge of Allegiance.
Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction) has sponsored House Bill 2060 that would require students in kindergarten through fourth grade to recite the pledge every day they are in school.
We know Fillmore from his attendance in 2018 at a local meeting of school superintendents hosted by Cochise County Schools Superintendent Jacqui Clay.
A self-made successful businessman, Fillmore seemed to relish relating to his luncheon audience that he wasn’t a college grad and finished high school but wasn’t near the top of his class in academics. Despite that self-described shortfall, he’s the owner of a business and at that time expressed his enjoyment for spending time at his second home, a get-away located out of state.
His views are conservative, without question, and he’s sponsored legislation in the past that has raised the hair of those considered moderate. He can cause those with liberal views to foam at the mouth.
Sponsoring legislation to require elementary students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance has inspired that reaction among opponents of the legislation this week. One legislator said the pledge “violates the First Amendment,” and another argued that it forced children to recognize God, which could be against what they believe.
When told that the bill offers parents an option to “opt-out” of reciting the pledge, an opposing legislator said elementary children should be empowered to make up their own minds, without need for parental consent.
Our initial reaction to Filmore’s bill categorized it with other patriotic measures. The debate on laws about burning the American flag has gone on for years, with people arguing it’s free expression while others consider the act to be sacrilegious.
But the Pledge of Allegiance?
Obviously, we’re “old school” in our belief that the pledge is a simple expression of what unites us as Americans. Ironically, it was written in August 1892 by a socialist minister — Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
Modification of his original pledge came in 1923 when the words “…the Flag of the United States of America,” were added.
Another change happened in 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, when President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today.
We’re interested to know your thoughts on the subject, and we welcome any and all responses, regardless how extreme.
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