Driven by my strong distaste for legislating patriotism. I've written to nearly every NC House member, pleading with them to resist their patriotic pandering with a new law that would require schools to "offer" the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Many have written back, some agreeing, and most disagreeing with my position. Today I heard from Grier Martin:
I ended up voting for this bill. It was a feel good bill, but I can't say I feel too good after the vote. The reasons you served in the armed forces certainly parallel my reasons for serving. What enabled me to support this bill was the clause that schools "shall not compel any person to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance".
I very much appreciate the fact that I got a return message, but the sentiments expressed are discouraging. These sorts of litmus-test bills put elected officials between a rock and a hard place. Don't vote for a bill like this and you're making yourself a target for wingnut accusations of being with the terrorists. Vote for it and you're undercutting the integrity of true patriotism.
It's a sad day when the NC House has nothing better to do than pull publicity stunts like this. I feel sorry for thoughtful legislators who are caught in the crosshairs of the theocrats on the right wing fringe.
UPDATE: I had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Martin this afternoon about the vote and the environment in Raleigh that leads to this kind of bill. He is a good guy, through and through.