Here and there around the country debates are raging over whether or not to open City Council meetings with The Pledge of Allegiance. This discussion is the very definition of the political "red herring". Nothing could be less critical or more distracting from the real issues of priority facing our nation.
Most civil servants across the nation from members of Congress to Water Commissioners swear an oath upon taking office something along the lines of promising to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic".
I would hope your City Council is no different.
The flag is a symbol which holds no intrinsic value apart from that with which it is embued by each individual beholder. Some see the American flag as a symbol of the highest patriotism and sacrifice, others as far too often being misused as a jingoistic manipulative tool.
Both perspectives are of value and should not be disregarded.
The Constitution, on the other hand, is a living document refined and perfected over 230 years of blood, sweat and Congressional review representing the highest evolution of democratic ideals and dreams such as habeas corpus (due process) which traces back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and before.
On the heels of Patriot Acts I & II, the Military Commissions Act and most recently S. 1927 which further gutted our 4th Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures, our Constitutional "Liberty and Justice for All" are on life support in Washington D.C. under the misguided aegis of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney.
Do you value your privacy? Your rights to it are dead. Did you notice?
It is high time for all Americans to reconsider our loyalties, which should not be to political party, to President or to any person and certainly not to a symbol. Our loyalty should be to the Constitution to which every public servant and every member of our military swears to support, defend, protect, honor and otherwise regard as our most precious treasure.
Debating whether or not to begin City Council meetings with a pledge that schoolchildren can recite in their sleep is a distraction and a misdirection. What all public servants must do at this time of grave crisis in America is be reminded of the oath they swore upon the commencement of their privilege of public service.
City Councils across the nation would make far better use of their time by authoring a resolution of support of the courageous stand taken by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in authoring H. Res. 333 and cosigned by nineteen of his contemporaries calling for impeachment proceedings to commence against Vice President Richard B. Cheney.
A collection recitation of their oaths of office to begin every City and Town Council in America would be a strong reminder of what their first and most important loyalty will always be - to the Constitution of the United States of America and the inalienable rights from which its' genius was born.