My favorite part of this report is when the television anchor claims that the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t usually controversial. It’s been controversial for years, which is probably why the League of Women Voters leaves it off the agenda as its default policy. For most of us who regularly attend political events, though, its omission is odd enough to question, and certainly odd enough that campaigns from either party probably wouldn’t think it necessary to request its inclusion on a debate agenda. Via Jeff Dunetz,behold the “ruckus” that the LWV wanted to avoid:
Tim McNulty reported on the latest in unruly mob behavior for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A nationwide conservative outcry about the Pledge of Allegiance at political debates touched down in Peters this week, when a crowd at an 18th District congressional forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters charged ahead with the pledge when it was not on the league’s agenda.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Democrat Dan Connolly were about to give their opening remarks at a debate at Peters Middle School Tuesday when Mr. Murphy asked the moderator if the pledge was being recited. When she hesitated, saying that was “not a usual way” the league started the forums, members of the crowd stood and recited the pledge anyway.
Former Peters High School principal Tom Hajzus was sitting in the front row with a 22-year-old Marine veteran wounded by a bomb in Afghanistan.
“The insensitivity, to me, was inexcusable and outrageous,” said the registered Democrat and Murphy supporter. The crowd’s reaction “was an American moment, that’s what that was,” he said.
Both campaigns in PA-18 said the Pledge isn’t — and shouldn’t be — political, and they’re right. The League of Women Voters, who have a big market edge in political debates, claim that they don’t put it on the agenda because they want to avoid a “ruckus.” Take a look at both incidents and see whether a “ruckus” (a “row or disturbance,” according to Merriam-Webster) occurs in either setting. People politely stood and recited the Pledge and then sat back down at the end, and it only took a few seconds to accomplish. No one who didn’t want to say it appears to have been challenged or rebuked, not even the moderator.
Now the LWV says they will review their policy to see whether the Pledge should be included in future public debates. It seems that it will, whether the LWV likes ot or not, and they’d be better advised to start planning for it.