Will Aldermen Get Patriotic?
by Thomas MacMillan | Oct 24, 2012 12:26 pm
Posted to: City Hall
If a former lawmaker gets her wish, New Haven’s elected officials will start their City Hall meetings the way children start their days in school.
Nancy Ahern, a former Westville alderwoman, has requested that aldermen recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the outset of full board meetings. Her request resulted in an official submission by board President Jorge Perez.
Perez asked the board to consider Ahern’s request, which would require a change of the rules of the board. The matter will be sent to committee for a public hearing, followed by a committee recommendation and then a vote by the full board.
Ahern described her request as a “very simple, entirely non-partisan, strictly patriotic idea.”
The Pledge of Allegiance, usually recited with one’s right hand over one’s heart, goes like this: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
“It’s just a very simple patriotic act,” Ahern said. “And it seems an appropriate way to start a public meeting in the United States of America.”
It’s particularly important at a time when the United States is at war abroad and facing the threat of terrorist attacks at home, Ahern said.
Board meetings currently open with an offering of “Divine Guidance,” given by a different alderman each meeting. The speaker usually offers some sort of prayer or inspirational reading. Ahern said she thinks the Pledge of Allegiance should happen before Divine Guidance.
The matter has been sent to the Aldermanic Affairs Committee for a public hearing. Ahern said she will offer testimony at the hearing, on Monday, Oct 29 in City Hall.
Tags: pledge of allegiance, Nancy Ahern
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Really? Invoking terrorist threats as a reason to do the Pledge of Allegiance? Absurd theatrics. This is a nation of laws: the aldermen can take an oath to uphold the laws, they don’t need a daily waste of time giving a shout out to a piece of cloth “under God.” “Divine Guidance” should be obtained by each person in their own time, there is no need for such things in public events. There has got to be a better way for the Board of Aldermen to spend their time.
I certainly endorse the suggestion to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” at the start of all Board of Aldermen meetings. At one time all the public elementary schools in New Haven recited the pledge at the start of the day. I think you will find that in many cases the pledge of allegiance is ignored in the classroom. Perhaps we can hear from the leaders of our schools (principals) if they indeed include the pledge or is it optional? What American citizen would oppose the citing of the pledge? We’ll find out when the Aldermanic Affairs Committee meets.
What a waste of time. Don’t the aldermen have better things to do?!
Q: Do you know what would happen if you asked our founding fathers to pledge allegiance?
A: You would get a musket ball in the keister, that’s what would happen.
I’m with Ms Ahern
Certainly not a supporter of MH who objects and then inserts an apparently non-existent “terrorist threat” issue to the topic ( at least I can’t find it anywhere but in MH’s objection0
We open our KofC meetings with the Pledge and it is even more appropriate for the Aldermen and other government groups
I wonder if PH, Gauss, Robn and Threefifths ever recited the pledge in school? I wonder if PH, Gauss, Robn and Threefifths ever served in the US Military? I wonder if PH, Gauss, Robn and Threefifths ever marched in a parade behind the American Flag? I wonder if PH, Gauss, Robn and Threefifths stand when the National Anthem is played at any event they attend? I wonder if any of them display the American Flag? I wonder if they actually know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance? Just wondering!
New Haveners don’t need mindless repetition of The Pledge of Allegiance to prove our loyalty and patriotism. Those of us who were forced to declare our allegiance to the U.S. every morning at school doubtless remember what a meaningless farce this exercise quickly becomes.
Let’s redouble our efforts to do something really meaningful for our great democracy—like thoroughly familiarize ourselves with each candidate’s policies and then vote in every election. Or support a strong and vital press that can be a vigilant watchdog over government and the marketplace.
The Pledge of Allegiance: Pffffffft!
The founders of this country demanded separation of church and state. They experienced what serious damage gets done when religions insert themselves into political affairs. The founders left out the word “God” for good reason. In fact, the original Constitution bars any religious test to hold any federal office in the United States. Nothing prevents anyone in this country from reciting the Pledge, or saying prayers, on their own time. Nor do we suffer from a deficit of religious institutions. Although Aldermen are not federal employees, to require the Alders to recite the amended Pledge is a religious test. Let the Alders begin their meeting by reciting some words from our Constitution, or from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, agreed to in 1948.
lol @ “Divine Guidance”. Really? There’s already a moment of “Divine Guidance” before these meetings?
posted by: William Kurtz on October 24, 2012 7:59pm
“What American citizen would oppose the citing of the pledge? “
This one. I am distrustful of anyone who sincerely pledges “allegiance” to any inanimate object or symbol in lieu of the ideals and standards for which that symbol stands.
Why don’t public officials and school children pledge their allegiance to the Constitution? Or the Bill of Rights?
Edward Francis, I did cite The Pledge a few times at school, and every week at Boy Scouts. I did serve in the military (2-108 INF). I have marched behind the US flag. I do stand when the National Anthem is played (and not just ours, as a mater of respect). Obliging people to cite the Pledge before a BoA meeting leaves as bad a taste in my mouth as Divine Guidance. True patriotism is best demonstrated by how we live, and not some spoken loyalty test.
Wow, can someone tell me which alder isn’t sufficiently pledged to the welfare of New Haven, Connecticut, and the good old’ US of A?
My alderman, Downtown Doug Hausladen, is über-patriotic, (even if he doesn’t daily wear flag pins, or red, white and blue ties.) Which other alder is the problem?
Nopledge of allegiance in NH High Schools. Too busy collecting data and being micromanaged…....
I have worked in schools that habitualized the Pledge, and I can tell you the kids just drone through it.
If we wish to get to the deeper meaning of Our Flag and patriotism, discussion is far more effective than words said until they lose their profoundness.
I find a far greater connection to my own patriotism and what I have to be be thankful for by watching YouTube videos of American, Canadian, British, and Australian forces taking care of business.
Leave it to New Haveners to turn a nice suggestion to bring a small amount of non-partisan patriotism to public meetings into an exercise in pseudo-intellectualism.
Also, New Haveners of all people should be pledging allegiance. Without the huge sums of money we receive every year from the U.S. Federal Government, this place would be completely bankrupt. It might not be a bad idea to show a little appreciation.
On a more serious not, get a grip, people. Pledging alliance doesn’t equate to blind patriotism or imply that the person stating the pledge is offering blanket support of every action past, present and future of the the U.S. government.
Wostered Squared, I have a grip—a grip on history: loyalty oaths, the words “under God” inserted needlessly in the face of Godless communism, and all that. Compelling people to recite something isn’t nice.
Yes, New Haven is subsidized by the Federal government, but Connecticut subsidizes many of the other 50 states (in what is arguably war reparations for losing the Civil War/War Between the States). New Haven is in such despite straits in large measure because of Connecticut “Home Rule” which allows towns to dump their problems onto cities. While I do not have the numbers at hand, I dare say that if Connecticut stopped subsidizing the states it does, and turned that money over to its cities at the same time the Federal government stop supporting New Haven, our city would be better off.
I write this as someone secure in my personal religious practices, which many people would consider “orthodox”: The Pledge should be returned to its form in 1942, before the addition of “under God”. Its recitation - in that earlier form - would be far more relevant at the BOA meetings than the current “Divine Guidance” ritual, which appears to openly violate the establishment clause of the constitution. So does The Pledge in its current form, despite the disturbing court rulings to the contrary.
Why did’nt Nancy Ahern bring this up when she was an alderman?
posted by: David Elkin-Ginnetti on October 25, 2012 3:57pm
There are so many things wrong with this. Patriotism does not equal blind faith in our country, and the way to defeat terrorism is not to put our faith in the nation which has taken part in creating the problem. A more patriotic thing we can do as American citizens is to take an active role in questioning and participating in government. Not all alderpeople may believe in God, and the pledge simply ignores the many people in America for whom liberty and justice are a distant dream. And aren’t there better things to pledge allegiance to than a flag?