Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

September 29, 2012

Another View: Overdue law helps return patriotism

No right-minded, true-hearted American can possibly object to a proposed state law that would require a daily moment when Michigan school children are encouraged to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Nor could any red-white-and-blue-blooded patriot object to a law that would oblige Michigan's schools to place an American flag in every classroom.

With patriotic Republicans in control of all branches of state government, it appears these long-overdue laws will soon be on the books. Surely, we will all sleep a bit more soundly.

Of course, there are always a few people who don't get it.

Among them is State Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, who accused her Republican colleagues of cynically wrapping themselves in the flag. She had the audacity to suggest these vital bills were meant to "pander to the electorate for votes instead of tackling the real problems that face the state."

Here and there, school superintendents have objected to the flag bill on the grounds it is repugnant for lawmakers to keep mandating new things for districts to buy, even as they slash funding for education.

Such yammering is offensive. There are principles here more basic than fiscal discipline.

Reciting the pledge connects today's youngsters with past generations who have stood with hands on hearts since 1892, the year when the original Pledge of Allegiance was penned by the Rev. Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister who also is remembered as one of our nation's most eloquent advocates of socialism.

His original pledge was a crisp 22 words: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Over the years it has been improved, most notably in 1954 with the addition of the words "under God." Today, it comes in at 31 words: "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."

Any reasonable person can see what a profound difference it makes when children recite the pledge in the classroom.

At the two high schools in Port Huron, the pledge is recited every day. This has been true for decades. Port Huron educators have never wavered in their commitment to patriotic virtue.

Not to point fingers, but contrast Port Huron to communities such as Marysville and Yale, where the pledge is not currently recited in the high schools.

Need we say more?

-- Times-Herald (Port Huron)

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