NC Dem Gets 'Barraged' By Email


Sometimes I am truly embarrassed to be a registered Democrat, and this stupid story is almost enough to push me into my own damn Blue Party - a party in which pandering to right wing patriotic bullshit would be cause for excommunication. The Greensboro News & Record has the sad saga.

RALEIGH — Rep. Maggie Jeffus can remember when she started her career as a school teacher saying the Pledge of Allegiance with her class every day. "That just kind of dropped off over time," the Greensboro Democrat said. Lawmakers would prod school systems into bringing back the pledge in classrooms where it has fallen out of the daily routine under a bill that cleared a key committee vote Tuesday.

The full House could review the bill this week or early next week. The measure is a favorite among local and national conservative groups and until recently had gotten scant attention during the current session of the General Assembly. At least one group, Called2Action based in Wake County, has encouraged members to write their legislators.

"I've probably gotten several dozen e-mails about this issue," said Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat. She said the barrage of e-mail had prompted lawmakers to move forward with the bill.

Jeffus, too, said she had received a number of e-mails about the topic. North Carolina already has a law that "encourages" local school systems to display the state and federal flags and "provide the opportunity for students to recite the Pledge or Oath of Allegiance on a regular basis."

The bill passed by the House Education Committee Tuesday is more forceful but not as strongly worded as a bill passed by the Senate last year. The Senate proposal would have required virtually all students to recite the pledge daily.

Under the version heading for House approval, schools or classes could opt out in some situations, according to its authors. Action on the measure comes as House and Senate negotiators are trying to complete this year's $18.8 billion state budget, the lion's share of which goes toward education.

So here's the backstory:

A handful of right wing Theocrats (Called2Action) send out a couple dozen emails, which a couple of legislators call a "barrage" and the next thing you know you have religious Brownshirts policing schools to require that kids recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America . . . one nation UNDER GOD with liberty and justice for all. Unless, of course, you happen to be an uncharged, unindicted so-called enemy combatant incarcerated in Gitmo. Or a poor black guy on death row. Or a gay couple. In which case liberty and justice don't mean jack shit.

I hear people say good things about Pricey Harrison, and it's hard to say what her exact position on this issue is from this story, but if this the kind of crap that "good Democrats" do, I guess I'm not a good Democrat.

If kids want to say the pledge, fine. I'm all for it. But a coercive state law that demands reciting a pledge to a nation under god is bad public policy.


Someone at Kos

said that any coercive legislation such as that being proposed would be overturned as unconstitutional. I wouldn't be so sure about that given the Supreme Court we have today.

Another comment from Kos

I understand where you're coming from, honest I do. But this kind of diary/rant provides the exact kind of ammunition that the right-wingers love.

It goes like this:
Liberals are Against the Pledge - link to this diary
Only People who Hate America Are Against the Pledge
Therefore, Liberals Hate America

Democrats, even if they are only nominally affiliated with party positions, cannot be seen as being unpatriotic. Even with "under God", the pledge is a powerful symbol of patriotism and national unity. You can't screed against the pledge without putting a great big "Kick Me" target on your back.

It's an interesting comment, but leaves me unmoved. I could care less what the right-wing fringe thinks. And as to my patriotism and commitment to ideals for which America stands, I'll put my credentials up against anyone's.

Compromising with the right-wing lunatics (like Called2Action) is like making a pact with the devil. I see no good that can come from sacrificing my beliefs in order to get people I don't respect to think better of me.

My job is to speak with integrity and conviction in ways that pull the center back to the left. We've given up too much ground, and meeting the theocrats half-way is a formula for sustained failure.

Thanks for the cartoon

Anglico, I'd forgotten exactly when the phrase "under God" was added, probably because I was only 12, so thanks for the cartoon.

I'm pretty proud of my 1954 self because I didn't say the new words (and we recited the pledge at least weekly then), probably because they weren't in the pledge I'd learned, but also because I didn't want to be told what to believe. You can see that I'm kind of a conservative guy, in at least two senses of the word.

Listen to the end of the National Anthem. It ends with a question that we should all ask ourselves. Whenever I hear or sing it, my sad answer is "No".


I'd never put it together that the end of the SSB is a question. And I couldn't agree with you more about the answer to that question today.

My letter to legislators

I served for nine years in the armed forces, doing special operations assignments that would make you want to die. I love this country and what it really, honestly stands for: Freedom.

And that means Freedom with a capital F. Freedom to agree, to disagree, to love, to hate, to do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt someone else. Requiring anyone to pledge allegiance to anything they don't want to is not right. Kids and their parents should should be free to make decisions like this without the government telling them what to do.

I served long and hard to keep this country free and to preserve the liberties promised in our Constitution. Requiring people to say the pledge of allegiance has nothing to do with freedom. It is the opposite of freedom. It is wrong.

CIA gives up? But Rick finds them and says POA

Ditto, DittoHeads Now say the POA or I will spray
you with the 500 cans of Raid WMD's I found today* Senator
Rick sweating it out over his election as a war hero

But what about the Consitution you lost Rick?

I really think you people

I really think you people are dispicable. You sit here and pray for soldiers to die!? You're awful?! You all should be ashamed of yourselves. We all fight for freedom. You people laughed on 9/11. I( know you did. You said, yay democrats! yay! Shame.

You people??

Wow - Ann Coulter visits BlueNC. We must really be seen as a threat.

I am proud to be a Democrat. I cried on 9/11 - and every time I heard the Star Spangled Banner for a long time after that. I support our troops. I proudly fly the American Flag. I buy American as much as possible. I go to church. I have a job and a family.

But none of that means you have to blindly follow and agree with President Bush. He has been a disaster for America since December 2000 when the Supreme Court elected him. Examples:

-He sat by and ignored CIA warnings prior to 9/11.
-He sent the 'Northern Alliance' into Tora Bora to get Bin Laden - instead of our own troops - and Bin laden is still alive today because of this blunder.
-He has added $3 TRILLION to the national debt in just 5 1/2 years with his disatrous economic, budgetary, and tax policies.
-He started a war with Iraq that didn't have to happen. Saddam was contained and made impotent by the no-fly zones and sanctions.
-He has lost a war in Iraq that could have been won if he had listened to his generals and Colin Powell.
-He had Cheney convene a secret energy policy group in 2001. The resulting policy was highly effective - gas prices have doubled - and Exxon has never made so much money. Check that one off as "Mission Accomplished!"
-He has never - ever - vetoed a bill that Congress sent him.
-He failed to respond to the Katrina disater that unfolded in living rooms across America last September. Anyone could see federal help was needed. Anyone but W. He was on vacation.

The list is endless. Yet all he has to do to fire up his base - you poeple - is to talk about the red meat issues of the far right. While he ignores the needs of America.

UPDATE on letter writing frenzy

I sent emails to a ton of NC House members and received a dozen or so responses (not from our own Joe Hackney, of course). Most of the responders used the exact Called2Action talking points, with a few adding that no child would EVER be required to say the pledge.

Yeah right.

Tell that to the five year old whose teacher tells her to stand up and put her hand over her heart and recite the pledge of allegiance.


Ed Cone has a problem with the use of "Brownshirts" in this post. It may be a bit of hyperbole, but these days nothing would surprise me.

Did Ed say you were freaking out?


Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

No freaking out

he just didn't care for "Brownshirts" or "right-wing patriotic bullshit." Funny guy.

Please email your rep NOW

I heard back from Paul Luebke on this awful legislation:

This bill (SB 700) is on the House calendar tonight.
I plan to speak against the bill and vote against it.

If you are looking for something to do that will make a difference, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get going with emails to your state representatives.

When a dozen letters qualifies as a barage, it doesn't take a lot to make a dent. I've contacted nearly every state representatative in Raleigh. I hope you'll do the same.


Called2Action sent out an alert today specifically targeting Jim Black for holding up the bill in the House.

C2A claims to be non-partisan but had this in a May primary action alert:

"Please take a few moments to visit the website of our Political Action Committee (PAC), Called2Elect, where you can find endorsements for these races, as well as a downloadable voting guide that you can use and/or pass out to friends, neighbors, and Sunday School classmates."

The endorsements:
Congressional Dist. 13: Vernon Robinson
NC House Dist 40: Marilyn Avila (John Locke Foundation)
NC Supreme Court: Calabria
Court of Appeals: Constangy
Court of Appeals: Stroud
County Commissioner Dist. 3: Gurley

This is the only time

I've been glad Jim Black didn't step down.