I could have predicted when I saw the original headline that there was no way there was going to be a harmonious outcome.
A newly elected Eugene city councilman had put in a suggestion that the council open its weekly meeting with the pledge of allegiance. Strictly voluntary of course; riiiiiiight. That and a couple of bucks will buy you a really lousy cup of coffee. Given the times you can guess how well sitting out the pledge would go over, especially for the other council members. Well, Eugene being Eugene, a compromise was worked out. A couple of councilors said a thing or two that they probably wouldn’t have if they’d known the kind of attention we’d be getting. And what they did say Fox News managed to mangle, but hey "we report, you decide."
Eugene is probably best known, as far as I knew, for University of Oregon football and track, Birkenstocks, tree hugging, the Bach Festival and being somewhat left of center. I’d like to think that nobody on the council, including the guy who made the suggestion imagined that anybody further away than Portland would give shit whether the Eugene City Council and the people attending the meetings said the Pledge or not. The council voted on a compromise. They’ll say it four times a year at meetings closest to holidays like the Fourth of July and have readings from documents like the constitution or the declaration. And that, they thought would be that. Boy, were we in for an unpleasant surprise.
Fox News sent folks to cover the story and as usual told about half the story and that half was half baked. Although I was surprised to discover that there really are people in Eugene that participate in the yearly World Naked Bike Ride. Gee, what you miss when you only read section A of the paper. And Ken Kesey was just to cool to ignore. And there’s a slightly different version from a local ABC affiliate. And as is usual for these times we’re getting e-mailed, tweeted, retweeted and generally mauled by folks who have way too much time on their hands and nothing better to do with it.
Perhaps the best website I came across is the Moral Liberal. You see the organization they refer back to; the American Center for Law and Justice was founded by Pat Robertson. Pat Robertson of 700 Club Haiti had an earthquake because of voodoo and Katrina hit New Orleans because of the gays fame. When Mr. Robertson was much younger and a Marine 2nd lieutenant during the Korean War he had a chance to put his patriotism where it counted. Instead he used his father’s influence as a US Senator to get himself pulled off the troop ship when it hit Japan, supposedly for further training. For the record he spent most of his tour at Masan, Korea keeping the bar at the officer’s club stocked.
Two kinds of people give me hives. Those who pray loudly in public and those who proclaim their patriotism loudly in public. I need some calamine; quickly.
There are an unusual number of links in this entry, it was that or a small book.