Last night was "Meet the Candidates Night" for our hometown. Lyn, along with several other candidates, is running for City Council. A representative of the League of Women Voters ran the meeting, reading questions written by members of the large audience. Each candidate had 90 seconds to answer each question. It was a hurried but informative hour and a half. But the really interesting part came at the end when citizens had a chance to ask questions of individual candidates.
Let me get straight to the point, an ex-mayor's wife asked Lyn. There's gossip going around town that you won't salute the flag or say the pledge of allegiance. Is that true?
That's true, Lyn answered, and then explained her reluctance to swear allegiance to any symbol. I try to let my deeds stand for my commitment to this democracy, she said.
The explanation didn't seem to sit well, and certainly the gossip will have heated up by this morning.
I don't say the pledge of allegiance either, and while walking our dog this morning I reviewed my reasons:
1. I have seen Leni Riefenstahl's film "Triumph of the Will."
2. I have an aversion to the coercions of crowds.
3. I believe in the separation of church and state.
4. I don't believe that I or this country are "under God."
5. Loyalty oaths make me break out in hives.
6. I believe that symbols are only what we make of them, and I'd like to make as little of this symbol as possible, given its role in an often sketchy history.
7. I love Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star Spangled Banner.
In fact, the last pledge of allegiance to the flag I enjoyed went as follows:
30 October 1996,
A Cub Scout “pack” meeting in the church gymnasium. The boys and their Den Mothers are wearing costumes for Halloween. Bishop Gunderson, wearing a trim Scout uniform, asks us to rise for the presenting of the colors. He salutes smartly. The rest of us place our hands over our hearts. The first boy in the color guard wears a blue-and-gold Cub Scout uniform. The third boy is dressed like a bloody but elegant vampire. Marching between the Cub Scout and the vampire, carrying the flag, is my son Samuel. In the dress and wig his brother Benjamin wore last year. There are scattered chuckles as Samuel levers the flag into the heavy brass stand. I pledge allegiance, the vampire begins. Samuel rips the wig from his head and holds it over his heart. To the flag of the