Council reverses Marin mayor’s controversial Pledge of Allegiance ban

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The San Anselmo Town Council is bringing back the Pledge of Allegiance to kick off council meetings, despite the mayor writing off the tradition as “fostering blindly loyal patriotism.”

“I’m certainly not going to say it,” said Mayor Ford Greene, who decided last month to do away with the customary recital of the pledge without consulting his fellow council members.

San Anselmo Mayor Ford Greene, photographed in San Rafael, Calif. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal) 

Three of the five council members said Tuesday they wanted to uphold the tradition, and Greene said he would abide by the majority’s decision.

“We need to have these unifying traditions in a time of extreme divisiveness in the country,” said Councilman John Wright, who joined Vice Mayor Brian Colbert and Councilman Steve Burdo in advocating for the practice.

Greene, who was appointed to the annually rotating position of mayor in December, caused a stir among council members when he chose to dump the pledge without mentioning it. His decision came to light when Colbert noticed that the pledge wasn’t said at the council’s Jan. 14 meeting, and asked Greene about it.

“My initial challenge was just how poorly you handled it, Ford,” Colbert told Greene on Tuesday. “Trying to make this move as mayor and sort of playing a ‘gotcha’ with the council to see if we would catch it was in bad form.”

San Anselmo Mayor Ford Greene discusses his views on the pledge.

— Matthew Pera (@MatthewRPera) February 12, 2020

Greene later said he had made a mistake by making the choice unilaterally, and said he would allow Colbert to “lead” the pledge until council members could discuss the issue.

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Greene began Tuesday’s meeting by directing “those of you who do wish to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to ask our vice mayor to lead you in doing so.” He then stood silently in a corner while members of the council and audience said the pledge.

Greene said his refusal to say the pledge is his way of protesting President Donald Trump, whom he called “a lunatic criminal who’s abusing power.” In October 2017, Greene began taking a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at any event he attended, including council meetings.

“It just really concerns me,” he said, “this practice of rote recitation in an environment of authoritarianism with an authoritarian leader, where the opportunities for unconsciously submitting to peer group pressure …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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