That Controversial Pledge

I was there, I saw it. Watch this short video, then scroll down for my impressions.

It was a League of Women Voters candidate forum featuring three sets of candidates. Illinois 8th District Congressional candidates Melissa Bean (D, incumbent), Joe Walsh (R), and Bill Scheurer (G) were up first.

They were followed by 31st State Senate District candidates Michael Bond (D, incumbent) and Suzie Schmidt (R), and then by 62nd State Representative District candidates Sandy Cole (R, incumbent) and Rich Voltair (D). But I was one of the few who stayed for those, and almost no one remembers or cares what was said by those candidates.

Joe Walsh’s supporters packed the hall. Frankly, we expected that liberals would be bussed in to the area to support Bean, as they were bussed in to protest Right Nation 2010 a few weeks ago, so we were out in force and ready for anything.

But there was no conspiracy or plan to disrupt the proceedings that I heard of, whether by reciting the pledge of allegiance or any other way, and as a local Tea Party leader with connections to Joe and his campaign staff, I think I would have known.

As you can see in the video above, the moderator, Mrs. Kathy Tate-Bradish, was trying to introduce the rules of the event when she recognized someone on a point of order, which led the to the pledge being recited. Then everyone sat back down.

Mrs. Tate-Bradish seemed very offended, because as a retired schoolteacher, she is accustomed to people sitting down and shutting up when she is speaking, and if they don’t then it is solely a question of their disrespect to her, and she expressed her hope that this wouldn’t be repeated.

Frankly, I deplore the criticisms of Mrs. Tate-Bradish’s appearance that I’ve heard that some bloggers have made, and, as a fellow Air Force veteran, I have no doubt of her patriotism. I think it’s obvious that her complaint is that she expected to be in control of the room, and for a moment, she wasn’t.

What I find disappointing is the line taken by Mrs. Tate-Bradish and her superiors at the League:

Executive Director Jan Czarnik said what happened at Wednesday’s debate and subsequent criticism directed at moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish was an attempt by supporters of Republican candidate Joe Walsh of McHenry and tea party members to bully the organization.

Czarnik said someone is not a better American just by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

“It’s a phony patriotism issue is what it is,” she said. “They must think it helps their campaign.”

Meanwhile, the Northwest Herald editorialized, noting that Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer didn’t stand or recite the pledge:

Is Scheurer somehow unpatriotic?


He, like Tate-Bradish, just recognizes that incivility masked as patriotism is, in fact, not patriotic at all.

Never was. Never will be.

What we have on display here, for all to see, is an acute case of liberal contempt.

Perhaps Northwest Herald editor Dan McCaleb never heard of a small affair that happened in 1773 that’s come down to us as the “Boston Tea Party.” Complaining of “incivility” was the least of the British reaction. But the colonists had concluded that civility was getting them nowhere, and so they chose a different tack.

Likewise the contemporary Tea Party has figured out that civility, when used as an instrument to silence the people, is not civility at all. Never was. Never will be. And that’s why we see the videos on YouTube of gaffs by Congresscritters. That’s why we saw disruptions in town hall meetings across the country in 2009. That’s why we’re fast approaching the second anniversary of the Tea Party demonstrations, with no end to them in sight.

As I’ve said, the liberal mindset is that it’s the job of the working class, the productive class, the taxpaying class, to sit down, shut up, and pay more taxes.

They’re not going to stop trying to get us to do that. This week, the meme is that their refusal to express their patriotism is, in fact, patriotic; while our insistence on expressing our patriotism proves that we’re not patriots at all.

That’s a debate I’m happy to have any day. Because it means that the old liberal meme of “you can’t question our patriotism” is over. Liberal patriotism is now fair game as a topic of debate. I’m delighted to have the discussion of which party is proud of America, and which is ashamed of it, which apologizes for America, which opposes American interests at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, it’s quite comical to me that anyone thinks this thirty-second interruption in a little LWV forum is worth the national coverage it’s getting.

But there we are. Some people are outraged that a retired school teacher was unable to prevent 300 patriots from reciting the pledge of allegiance when they wanted to. And some people are outraged that the teacher tried.

I have to sympathize more with the latter group, for the sole reason that their outrage is vindicated by the outrage of the former group.

So if you’re in the first group, figure this out: We’re not going to sit down and shut up anymore. When you tell your lies, we’ll be making sure you know we noticed. When you vote against our wishes and our welfare, we’ll make sure you hear about our dissatisfaction. And when you want us to sit down and shut up when we think an expression of patriotism is called for, don’t hold your breath.

In fact, I’m feeling like an expression of patriotism right now:

(Cross-posted from Thoughts of a Regular Guy.)