‘Unfortunately, some of us feel like patriotism has been so politicized that it’s almost used as a weapon against people…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The St. Louis Park City Council voted unanimously on June 17 to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings, instead pledging its allegiance to progressive values—diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.
“I hope it’s not too controversial,” Council Member Tim Brausen said. “Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand. I don’t think we’re going to be any less welcoming by not starting our meeting out with the standard ritual.”
Council Member Anne Mevity justified the measure, which she sponsored, saying that half the city councils in Minnesota do not require their meetings to begin with the Pledge of Allegiance.
But the Star Tribune found that surrounding cities—Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville, Duluth, Eden Prairie, Mankato, Maplewood, Rochester, St. Cloud, St. Paul, Stillwater and Wayzata—begin their city council meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance.
“We all love our country dearly, and we demonstrate that by our service as elected officials all the time,” Mavity said. “I want to make sure that we are welcoming to everyone in our community, and so I just felt that was an unnecessary component to include every single week in our work.”
Brausen said national controversy about federal immigration policies has led immigrants to see the Pledge of Allegiance as a tool for political polarization.
“Unfortunately, some of us feel like patriotism has been so politicized that it’s almost used as a weapon against people,” he said.
Mayor Jake Spano and Council Member Thom Miller were not present at the meeting and did not vote on the measure.
Spano said he would have voted to keep the pledge.
“While I’ve never been a fan of doing things just because that’s the way things have always been done, I’ve always used the last six words [of the pledge]—‘With liberty and justice for all’—as a reminder to me that we need to make our community more open and welcoming for all our neighbors, not just a select few,” he said, according to the Star Tribune.