Joe Henderson: Being a good American is more than the Pledge of Allegiance
Rick Scott is upset that a Colorado Mayor tried to suspend reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before city meetings.

Rick Scott
Lest we forget, this nation was born with the "woke mob" and "radicals" of its generation.

One of the first things most schoolchildren learn is the Pledge of Allegiance. Many recite the words every morning before classes start because the teacher said to, and besides, that’s what good patriots do.

State law says the pledge “shall be recited at the beginning of the day in each public elementary, middle, and high school in the state.” However, students can opt-out if their parents provide written permission.

After all, it’s a free country.

Why bring this up?

Because Florida Sen. Rick Scott is on one of those “only people who vote Republican are true patriots” jags. He seized the moment after the Mayor of Silverton, Colorado, suspended the practice of saying the pledge during board meetings.

For the record, several people in the meeting spontaneously rose and recited the pledge anyway. Good for them. As I said, it’s a free country.

There’s something more sinister about Scott’s approach, though. Never one to let a good Twitter hit go unused, Scott took to social media and had his say.

“This is un-American,” he tweeted. “We can’t allow the woke mob & radical Democrats (to) destroy the values that make America great.”

Actually, Senator, maybe the Colorado Mayor went too far, but refusing to recite the pledge is totally American. You can’t shout freedom from one side of your mouth and issue mandates from the other.

Lest we forget, this nation was born because of the “woke mob” and “radicals” of its generation. They fought to overthrow British rule in the U.S. colonies. They “destroyed the values” of the monarchy.

My goodness, they threw tea into Boston Harbor rather than pay taxes.

And don’t equate that with the criminal insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol to overturn an election result they didn’t like. Totally different animal. As they used to say about protestors of the Vietnam war, if you don’t love America, leave.

Find the conspiracy-filled Q-clowns a nice little deserted island somewhere, and let them rail on to their heart’s content.

Let’s get back to Sen. Scott.

Like many conservatives, he believes you’re only a good American if you never question this country (unless Joe Biden is in power).

That’s a load of crap.

Reciting a 31-word pledge doesn’t mean you’re a great American any more than standing for the national anthem instead of taking a knee.

Democrats are to blame for letting it get this far, though. They sat back while Republicans many years ago claimed the label of “patriotic.”

That led to the logical progression we see today.

Republicans would have you believe the only “real” Americans are the ones who check the boxes.

Christian (preferably evangelical): check.

Love the Second Amendment: check.

Believe America is flawless: check.

Think Tucker Carlson speaks the truth: check.

Believe in “traditional” family values (not that woke stuff we see today): check.

Vote Republican: check, check, check.

Well, I’ve got news for the good Senator.

Millions of Democrats are patriotic, even if they don’t ride around with an American flag flapping from the back of their pickup truck. They stand for the pledge and sing the national anthem. They believe in God and do good works in the Lord’s name.

These Americans love this country — all of this country. They value diversity and want to extend a helping hand to those in need. These American patriots appreciate diversity, fairness, and the right of all legally eligible people to vote without government-erected obstacles.

They don’t mind if you agreeably disagree with them as long as you don’t pull out an AK-47 when they disagree with you.

We have much bigger problems in this country than a Colorado Mayor and the pledge. However, Rick Scott would have you believe that nothing is more important than mouthing the words, even if you never attempt to live up to their ideals.

I think I mentioned, though, that it’s a free country.

I will defend Scott’s right to say what he said.

Likewise, he should defend my right to say he is wrong.

It’s called America.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Charles

    June 23, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Time for you to give up the gig. You are a disgusting man full of himself. Telling other what do do and think doesn’t work when you are a, fraud, and hypocrite. Yes, that is what you are Henderson – a washed up, biased and disgusting bitter old man.

    • Joe Henderson

      June 23, 2021 at 7:52 pm

      Ironic that you would criticize an old (younger) man for an old man for telling others what to do.

  • Ron Ogden

    June 24, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    “They don’t mind if you agreeably disagree with them as long as you don’t pull out an AK-47 when they disagree with you.”
    Are you kidding Joe? They don’t mind? They merely condemn you as a racist if you are unrepentantly white, damn you as a Neanderthal if you happen to admire Trump, force your children to learn that American history is bunk and their homeland a fraud, shove down your throats cocked up hypotheses about how real Americans are victims of class warfare imposed on them by oppressors and bullies called white males, tell you that the right way to show your American manhood is with makeup and AIDS pills and that anything else is either toxic, stupid or both, and repeat this same calculated abuse day after day after day on MSNBC, in the WaPo and the Times and, it seems, in an obscure and deteriorating blog called Florida Politics. “They don’t mind,” huh? Then why are they looking for any excuse to close the channels of communication to people whose opinions they don’t like, people like Donald Trump, yes, but also like lots of ordinary Americans who believe social media is for everyone and not merely for the politically correct.
    I side with Charles, above. I know it hurts, Joe, but this isn’t 1967 anymore. The “Summer of Love” is gone and you should go with it.

Comments are closed.


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