HICKS: Using bullying to club patriotic pledge

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Last week while thousands of children were outfitted in their “Sunday best” attire to attend memorial services for their parents, victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, some children in suburban Boston were learning a different lesson about America.

A group in the bedroom community of Brookline was busy advancing its agenda to eradicate the Pledge of Allegiance from the community’s public schools.

Let’s pause here for an eye roll.

Here’s the gist: A group known as Brookline Political Action for Peace, or Brookline PAX as members like to be called, claims, among other things, that the recitation of the pledge smacks of anti-Americanism or even McCarthyism, and more compellingly, may even promote bullying. Therefore, they argue, the pledge should be banned.

The organization, led by peacenik and noted anti-pledge activist Marty Rosenthal, seeks to petition town meeting voters in November to urge the school committee to end the requirement that principals in Brookline allow a weekly recitation of the pledge. As it is, the town now lets students choose whether to say it.

Let’s pause here to note that Brookline students already don’t say the pledge daily, but merely are offered the opportunity to do so once a week.

According to reports, Mr. Rosenthal claims the pledge has no educational value and is “literally and psychologically a loyalty oath, reminiscent of McCarthyism or some horrific totalitarian regimes.” He also said, “The pledge is at odds with America’s most important traditions.”

Apparently, he said this with a straight face.

Here’s where it gets really absurd. state Rep. Frank I. Smizik, a Democrat and co-signer of the resolution, claims banning the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our nation is an anti-bullying measure, saying it would protect students who do not want to participate and also would promote their First Amendment rights.

Not that there are any actual cases of bullying on the part of pro-pledge students against their refusenik schoolmates, mind you, but it could happen.

Of course, it also could happen that a student is bullied because his mom packs a smelly salami sandwich in his lunch. By Mr. Smizik’s logic, the school should ban the lunch hour to prevent the bullying of salami eaters. Make that the potential bullying of hypothetical salami eaters.

The “bullying card” is the left’s new trump. It allows it to teach the gay agenda to kindergartners, undermining the primacy of parents in portraying their morality in sexual education, while also promoting the progressive definition of what constitutes healthy sexuality.

To avoid bullying, children are not permitted to express their religious or political views in the classroom. Heck, last year a boy in California was told to stop riding to school with an American flag affixed to his bike because some other children in the school didn’t like it. Therefore, to avoid bullying, his First Amendment rights nearly were trampled. (His parents and grandparents fought back and engaged the media, and what do you know? His right to fly the flag of our nation while riding to his public school was restored.)

Now, to prevent bullying, and in some twisted exercise of logic to advance the First Amendment, the folks in Brookline are working to trample the First Amendment rights of most of the student body, which wants to recite the pledge, so that the few who refuse don’t have to feel self-conscious about it.

Let’s pause here and say this to those kids and the members of Brookline PAX: Feel self-conscious.

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