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HB 1150: Forced Pledge/Forced Silence Bill Glides Through House Cmte

In today's exercise in faux patrio-piety, Rep. Hal Wick presented House Bill 1150, to require all K-12 students in South Dakota to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily, to House State Affairs this morning.

Rep. Wick said his bill came about because some nice young boy wanted to say the Pledge on September 11 (the new high holy day that justifies all excesses) and was denied by his school. Rep. Wick did not clarify whether this unnamed young man asked permission to say it the Pledge himself or whether he asked that everyone be required to recite the Pledge with him. Those two requests would be very different.

Wade Pogany testified on behalf of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota to support the mandatory Pledge. Pogany said his proponent testimony probably surprised some folks, since the school boards usually stand for local control against state mandates. However, said Pogany, "certain things... are more important than local control." Indeed there are... like CYA when legislators are wrapping themselves in the flag and you don't want to be painted a godless Commie.

Did I mention God? Dale Bartscher from the Family Heritage Alliance certainly did. "It is fitting," said Bartscher, "that we begin the school day by honoring God and country."

No, it is absolutely not fitting that we begin the day requiring every public school student to honor God, not in an America ruled by the First Amendment.

Notice that Bartscher put "God" first in his statement, exposing the real priorities of HB 1150. It's not a civics lesson; it's a wedge for the theocrats to force their God into public classrooms.

A proponent from Pierre, Kathy Lucas, said something about remembering a classmate who didn't recite the Pledge or celebrate birthdays because of his religion. She didn't tie that brief anecdote together with her support of HB 1150; she blithely ignored the fact that she will force more children into that awkward position of having to explain why they aren't doing what everyone else in the classroom is doing (were none of you people seven years old? Do none of you remember how hard it was to be different?).

Rep. Wick did say that students who choose not to say the Pledge face no penalty; they may "stand down but remain at attention." I thought standing down and standing at attention were mutually exclusive actions, but Rep. Wick's language reminds us that we can't expect some Republicans to make sense. His language also reminds us that HB 1150, in requiring a "respectful silence" of Pledge objectors, violates the Constitution. Students are forced to either say specific words that may violate their conscience or to be silent. Forced speech or forced silence—I invite your judgment of which is worse.

No one rose to argue that a pledge to any flag is un-Christian. No one reminded Rep. Wick that compelled speech (religious or otherwise) is unconstitutional. No one rose to remind the sponsor and the committee that there are much more pressing issues facing our children than the need to incant certain formulas every day. House State Affairs approved HB 1150 13–0 and sent it to the full House.

A socialist wrote the Pledge to sell flags. Rep. Wick and Bartscher are forcing the Pledge now to sell God. I love America, but the more I hear about the Pledge, the more I see people using it for their own schemes, the less comfortable I am about saying the Pledge myself or requiring students to say it with me.

p.s.: Oklahoma is considering a similar Pledge mandate. Bill author Sen. Rob Standridge says its purely a grassroots effort. Sen. Standridge and Rep. Wick are both ALEC members. Coincidences abound.


  1. Joan Brown 2014.02.19

    Another waste of time and taxpayer money in Pierre. No school should be forced to say the Pledge at the beginning of every day. Furthermore it doesn't belong in public schools as long as the words "under God" are in it. being forced to listen to the Pledge on a daily basis is basically the same as brain washing the kids into thinking the Pledge will make them more patriotic. Some kids could say or hear the Pledge 100 times a day and not be patriotic. In fact it could do the opposite to any kid that might think like I do.

  2. Ben C 2014.02.19

    I don't like this bill. It sounds like "patrio-pious" grandstanding to me too. As I recall, 70% of parents polled in the Sioux Falls School District supported the saying of the Pledge everyday. Does this mean those parents think it's so important that they say the Pledge as a family on weekends, holidays, and summer vacation when school's not in session?

    Having said that...: "she will force more children into that awkward position of having to explain why they aren't doing what everyone else in the classroom is doing". The kids I've had that have had to abstain from a classroom activity don't appear to be traumatized by it. I think things are better now then when you, or even I, was in school. Also, Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, can't celebrate birthdays (which we're not going to ban) so it's never really any secret anyway.

    Also, while making kids "remain at attention" doesn't make sense, I don't see why requiring silence would be so bad. How's that different from you requiring students not to talk over you while teaching?

    In the end though, we both agree this is a bill we could do without.

  3. mike from iowa 2014.02.19

    I,(enter name of wingnut pol),do solemnly swear allegiance to Grover Norquist and his no taxes ever pledge. If confronted by Libs,I will solemnly swear I never said what I said,and when shown a transcript that proves I said what I swear I never said,I solemnly swear that the Libs took my words out of context,so help me RNC and god.

  4. owen reitzel 2014.02.19

    It's too bad these Republicans actually care about the kids that are standing saying the pledge.
    How about the kids that are eating less because SNAP was cut (and they wanted to cut more) or the kids who's parents can't get insurance because the Republicans won't expand Medicaid.

  5. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.19

    Want to instill patriotism in your young Joey or Mary, I think I have come up with a much better idea. The pledge takes about 45 seconds out of each of 180 school days in the year. That figures out to about 2 hours and 15 minutes. How's about we handle the whole thing the first day of each school year?

    I am an old movie buff and watch Turner Classic movies a lot. They are running their 31 days of Oscar, prior to the awarding of Oscars for this years movies. They had one recently which I have watched at least a half dozen times, directed by Frank Capra in 1939 and starring Jimmy Stewart. It is Mr Smith goes to Washington. It is a story about a poor schmuck that the powers that be in his home state sent him as a US Senator thinking that they could control him but of course he proved them wrong and showed what real patriotism is. If you haven't seen it, it is well worth your time. And it takes less than 2 hours and 15 minutes.

    It will make Little and even big Joey's and Mary's heart swell with pride at this great country in which we have been so privileged to live.

  6. Jana 2014.02.19

    Hal Wick says his own Pledge of Allegiance to Wal*Mart.

  7. mike from iowa 2014.02.19

    Required free speech has a nice anti-American,unconstitutional ring to it.

  8. Jana 2014.02.19

    Mr. H is right. This is about posturing and not patriotism.

    I can just hear the old boys who sponsored this one. Damn kids and their music and internets...we'll force them to be like us.

  9. Ben C 2014.02.19

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington really is awesome :-).

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.19

    This is Tea Party indoctrination of our children

  11. Jim 2014.02.19

    "However, a student who does not participate in the salute shall maintain a respectful silence during the salute. The national anthem may be sung during any school day or school event."

    If the "opportunity to salute the flag by reciting the pledge" is a "school event", then johnny should be able to bust out with the Anthem every time the start the pledge. How do they criticize that? Isn't singing the anthem more patriotic then they pledge? What if a kid sings the pledge? What if a foreign exchange student recites the pledge? Do we need to grant them asylum? Who is gonna pay for that Hal? Not you.

  12. Jim 2014.02.19

    Btw Hal, the bill doesn't read those not participating shall "remain at attention", it says they shall "maintain a respectful silence". Didn't you read this thing? Johnny can maintain respectful silence seated in his chair or staring out the window. If you want the non-participants to silently stand facing the flag, hand on heart etc., you better write it in there, or quite spreading false info that kids have to "remain at attention". The bill doesn't say that.

  13. SDBlue 2014.02.19

    ALEC Legislation: For your GOP lawmakers who would not know how to poor p**s out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

  14. grudznick 2014.02.19

    Who is this Mr. Alec all you people hate so much?

  15. Donald Pay 2014.02.19

    Yeah, you can tell teenaged students to be "respectful," but when we baby boomers were that age and were similarly forced to have a moment of silence before lunch, it just encouraged a lot of fake fart noises. As an adult, I would prefer students were disrespectful than to kowtow to this government attempt to mandate speech. A bill which is good only because it teaches us all how close we are to fascism and how little courage our politicians have to fight it.

  16. Jim 2014.02.19

    Uncle Alec throws swell Jesus parties in towns like Chicago and Dallas. Big breakfasts and lots of fun. Important things get discussed. The flag gets pledged and such. Hal and some of friends get invited and we get to pay for them to go to the party.

  17. JML 2014.02.19

    Get your facts straight moron. The bill requires schools to give students the opportunity to recite the pledge each day. Students who do not want to take part do not have to. Nobody is forcing anybody to do anything. You would think you would do some goddamn research before you took the time to go off on some self-righteous tirade. You liberals are so eager to be offended by something or someone that has a different point of view from you that it's hard to even take you seriously.

  18. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.19

    When I was in public elementary school at the end of and shortly after WWII, we had several children who, because they were Quakers, were not required to recite the pledge. I don't remember any consequences to them back them, but then our country was not so rabidly partisan then either.

  19. Jim 2014.02.19

    I did just read the text and Hal's comments about. If you did things like that too, you could be less of a moron. Say the pledge with you kid in the morning, or have em show five min early and say pledge with the others that want to do it. Oh, and do try and be less of a moron. Thanks.

  20. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.19

    We'll see if SD wants to continue following the ALEC path as they are in Kansas. There is a bill before their legislature to allow parents to hit their children hard enough to leave red marks and bruises. Nice people.

    (Okay, full disclosure: It's sponsored by a Democratic woman, and not likely to get anywhere. Maybe if it really was an ALEC bill . . . ?)

  21. John 2014.02.19

    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag waving a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

    This combat vet thinks the pledge and the near-compelled speech is bunk. It's nationalism run amok. It will not be said in the colony schools for they vividly recall how the US and its military tortured and murder their brethren for practicing their religious beliefs. If Wick and his apologists really want to instill their nationalism then pass a bill that the pledge will be recited prior to the commencement of all court proceedings.

  22. JML 2014.02.19


    Stop trying to be clever. You're not good at it. When I first learned of this bill I too was under the impression that it "required" students to recite the pledge, and I am 100% against that. However, after 2 entire minutes of research (exhausting, I know) I learned that was not correct. So why write or defend an article that is blatantly misleading and incorrect in it's headline & opening paragraph? Because of blind faith to a political agenda. Plain and simple. I'm not Rep or Dem or a Christian for that matter, I couldn't care less whether this bill passed or failed. Just stop with the nonsense. If your kid doesn't want to say the pledge, he/she doesn't have to. Calm down. No one is forcing "God" or "Country" on anyone. You're trying to create a controversy that doesn't exist. Some kids will recite the pledge and some won't. That sounds more "free" to me than forbidding the kids who want to recite it that opportunity.

  23. John Tsitrian 2014.02.19

    Seems like the value in an exercise like the Pledge is that it does have a unifying effect, where at least once a day students of so many different ethnicities, religions, national origins, races can stop midstream for a moment to reaffirm their "American-ness." I could see doing away with "under God," but the rest of the words of the Pledge are a pretty solid statement of values that are worthy of allegiance. Who knows? Some of those young scholars may someday grow up with a commitment to make sure those principles of liberty and justice for all are actually applied in this country. As to the bill itself, I'm ambivalent. I'm basically okay with either outcome.

  24. Jana 2014.02.19

    Mr. Wick's support of WalMart speaks volumes to his character. He is supporting a global business to expand in the backyard of not just his constituents, but in competition with a local South Dakota business with its headquarters right in the idiot's district!

    The business he is supporting will not only hurt a locally owned and operated business, it will take the profits out of South Dakota!

    Maybe someone can get Hal to comment on that.

  25. Jana 2014.02.19

    JML...No one is forcing "God" or "Country" on anyone.

    Gosh, how could anyone ever think that from the South Dakota GOP legislature.

  26. Jim 2014.02.19

    JML, I never said the bill "required" anyone to recite the pledge. It doesn't say that. The bill says those not doing it "maintain respectful silence," while Hal says they have to "remain at attention". Hal probably doesn't get the distinction. We don't know each others backgrounds. I said every day all through school and had no problem. In fact I liked. Not everyone did. I still like it. I just think gov should be telling us to either say it, or stand there and shut up. Don't get me wrong, I love my country. One of the things I love is that we don't compel certain speech or silence. If my comments seemed absurd, it is because I find this bill absurd. Not everything you get in comments is going to be scholarly debate. Even Grudz will tell you that.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.19

    JML, I managed to express my rage over this unconstitutional measure without swearing; try such restraint and civility yourself.

    But if you want to come in here and treat the conversation like a barroom fight, I can punch back. "Give students the opportunity" is a well-known euphemism for "Make kids do stuff they may not enjoy," only slightly fancier than "You don't have to, you get to." Don't play word games with us, JML.

    I did my research. I read the bill. The bill says to kids "Say the Pledge, or show respectful silence." Compelled speech either way. My daughter is not allowed to sit, not allowed to demonstrate lack of respect for a false show of patriotism or a forced display of state-established religion. Neither is acceptable, according to a Supreme Court ruling that came in the middle of World War II (ooo, more research).

    We liberals don't go looking for things to be offended by. We just find ourselves surrounded by conservatives who seem all too willing to offer grounds for offense without our even asking.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.19

    Ben C, true! I do require silence regularly in my classroom. I also compel a lot of speech. But can we distinguish the silence and speech I compel for purposes of delivering curriculum and the silence and speech our overlords in Pierre compel to satisfy their theocratic agenda?

  29. Steve O'Brien 2014.02.19

    I agree that this is political pandering at its lowest. I do not favor when a group "proves" its patriotism by making OTHERS do something deemed patriotic.

    I do have one exception to my opposition. I have seen the VFW and American Legion groups at local board meetings lobbying local schools to adopt pledge recitation requirements. I have to concede that if my saying the pledge makes them feel more appreciated for the sacrifices they have made for country (and the sacrifices made by their friends who are no longer with us), I can live with that. Having earned a "thank you" gives them the ability to ask for that "thank you" in the way they want.

    So let this one go, and instead spend every minute, every thought, every resource that would have been used in discussing this issue getting to work creating a land WORTHY of a uniform public affirmation.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.19

    So Donald, is HB 1150 about to make a crime out of making fart sounds? Dang—Rep. Wick forgot to specify whether faux flatulation will be a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor.

  31. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.19

    Cory, well said.

    The one sure way you know when you are talking to a tea party or FOX "News" clone is when their comments are littered by words like "moron", "you liberals", and the "you have no substance", particularly when the don't comprehend a word you said.

    JML has soiled Madville with his simplistic observations and name calling that best belong on the press release blog or the Rapid City Journal.

    Tell me again who introduced this flag flap in the legislature, a Republican or Democrat?

    If Republicans think we will have a stronger better America by pledging allegiance to piece of cloth, they have another thing coming.

    When children are forced or put in a compromising position, they generally rebel, I know I did.

  32. Charlie Johnson 2014.02.19

    One's insecurity(Wick)and those of others doesn't justify the purpose and introduction of this legislation. School children in this state do not need to be standing robots of political self gratification.

  33. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.19

    Pretty darn well said Roger and Cory. It would be very interesting to see how many of these young people will enlist in service to their country (politics not included) after reciting the pledge every school day for 12 years, as opposed to not being able to find a job and the military needing more cannon fodder.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.19

    I welcome disagreement. I revel in it. But we can disagree as real neighbors, not as if we were shouting at responseless, soulless images on the telescreen.

  35. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.19

    I often think about unifying aspects of the American population. The Minneapolis/St.Paul metro contains the largest East African (Ethiopian, Somali, Eritrean, Kenyan) population in this country. I see women and girls in hijabs and men in the long outer clothing and small, bill-less caps every day. (Most of the men only wear the distinctive Muslim clothing on Friday, their Sabbath.)

    At any rate, I often wonder about how they feel as brand new American citizens. Every time new citizens are sworn in here, pictures show dozens of Africans and Latinas and others waving American flags, laughing and crying. Many of them have very limited English language skills. Nearly every one of them are working on it.

    Do they feel like a part of this nation? The Muslims really seem to. They are very active politically. There is a MN Muslim representative in Washington. There is a Muslim man on the Mpls school board, a Muslim likely to win election to the state legislature. There is a Latina and an East African man on the Mpls city council.

    They are real, true Americans. So are their constituents. Things like the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America are a good thing. Things like pledging allegiance to the Christian god are not a good thing. While pledging one's allegiance to the USA is a uniting thing, pledging allegiance to a specific god has the opposite effect. It is disuniting.

    While the addition, "under God," does not specify the Christian god, is there any doubt about the intent?

    For the large number of good, real, and true Americans who do not have a belief in a god, the pledge add on is disuniting too.

    We have a Buddhist real, good and true American in Congress. Must we alienate her? Buddhism is very common among the real, good and true Americans in Hawaii, plus thousands more on this mainland.

    Can America afford disuniting a sizable chunk of our population?

    I support the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA. I also support English as the official language of the USA. I do not support any favoring of any religion. What do you think is causing the terrible violence in the Sudan? In Israel and Palestine? In Nigeria? In Iraq? In Afghanistan?

  36. Jana 2014.02.19

    CAH makes me want to chant USA...USA...USA!

    Mr/Ms JML, welcome to the debate. Please join the discussion on a regular basis, without it we all run the risk of getting dumber by never being challenged to stand with logic behind our opinions.

  37. Jana 2014.02.19

    Asked some kids at church tonight what they thought of the new mandate/requirement to say the pledge. Smart kids that they are, they all said they see through the politics. They don't mind saying the pledge, just think it diminishes them that they have to recite it from rote every morning to make someone like Hal happy.

    They would rather continue to celebrate America and democracy when we do great things.

    Sorry Hal, but maybe you should do an assembly and then go class to class and explain why you think this should be a law. You, and your cosigners might learn something from the kids. Their proud to be Americans...they just don't need you to make it YOUR decision instead of theirs.

    And Hal. I didn't show the kids a picture of you as the person who was mandating what they should say every morning...didn't want the old guy bias. They just didn't like it. One even knew the history of the Pledge and filled the rest you?

  38. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.19

    I'm thinking about Lanny's and Steve's comments about the military. I served as a chaplain for 6 years at Ft. Meade. My "old boys" there were wonderful, heroic people. Let's see, how many current federal Congress people are veterans, or had children enlist and go to the Middle East?

    I think the number was Zero, except for our Democrat, Tim Johnson. Evidently reciting the pledge +with+ the Christian addition didn't help their patriotism. Interesting.

  39. Jana 2014.02.19

    Heck Hal, they mostly live in the area where their parent were against your push to bring Wal*Mart in...didn't bring that up either.

    Welcome to the future of South Dakota. Smart kids with a global and local perspective are going to change the political landscape of our state.

  40. Jana 2014.02.20

    Deb, I have 14 sons, daughters, uncles, aunts and cousins who have served or are serving in our armed forces. They absolutely loved the GOP sequester and screwing around with retirement and education benefits from the people who wrap themselves in the flag and have never served.

    One GOP leaning nephew promised to show up at a campaign rally in uniform and when the candidate who hasn't served tried to "glom" onto his service by asking all those to stand with him as a campaign stunt, was going to sit...and glare. Figured that was the best way to make a statement that he wasn't a political pawn that could look past the hypocrisy.

  41. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.20

    Good for your nephew.

    I don't presume to speak for my beloved Old Boys. But I wonder if WW II vets might be different from the way the word "patriotism" is used or misused today. I think the meaning was considerably different.

    One thing I can say with certainty, not one single one of them supported attacking Iraq. They were so anti-war. They understood going to Afghanistan. That was no different than Japan in 1941.

    I think rah, rah patriotic antics were seen for what they were, just for show, no substance. Those Old Boys knew real substance.

  42. mike from iowa 2014.02.20

    Require that the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States be recited at the start of each school day in every public school classroom

    HB 1150 title. Nobody is being forced to do anything......Schools are REQUIRED to make time available to say the pledge. Nobody is being forced to do anything......students are REQUIRED to maintain respectful silence. Do these non- REQUIREMENTS count towards graduation?

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.20

    Deb and those immigrants make me want to chant "USA! USA!" Softly, proudly, and without any coercion from the State.

  44. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.20

    You are absolutely right Deb. I was at the first protest of the war with Iraq, which believe it or not was in September of 2002, a month prior to the vote by Congress to allow President Bush to do his dastardly deed. It was a post card writing campaign down by the Federal building on 13th and Phillips. Because of the anthrax scare in several places including Tom Daschle's office, we had to send them by pouch and marched (about 50 of us) over to the Post office on 2nd Ave to mail the pouch to each of our Congresspersons.

    The Saturday after the war started there were about 250 of us at the Battleship Memorial on West 12th St here in SF, protesting the attack on Iraq. There were 25 veterans from WWII, Viet Nam, the Cold war and Desert Storm who spoke out at this protest. Not one word was said about the Afghanistan war but the unanimity of those protesting was that we did not belong attacking Iraq.

    A small portion of that protest group met every Sunday, March through October in front of the Federal building here in SF, until this past fall. My participation in the protests does no make me any less proud to be an American, but in fact it is because I am an American that I have that right, and it is a right that men and women have fought and died for and that those of us who have served, have served for.

  45. mike from iowa 2014.02.20

    I'm gonna disagree with the need to invade Afghanistan unless and until we find out why dumb bass dubya redacted the Saudi pages in the 9-11 report he fought so hard against and then tried to take credit for. 15 of the 19 9-11 hi-jackers were in fact Saudi citizens. And everybody and their pet cat knows Bush family and the Saudi royal family have been in bed together for just about forever.

  46. owen reitzel 2014.02.20

    JML is a typical Teabagger. Yell ad call names because he can't have a good discussion.

  47. Rick 2014.02.20

    If implemented, it becomes compelled speech. Worse, it becomes a compelled loyalty test.

    So, what are these ALEC legislators doing to increase the state's share of funding our schools, instead of increasing the number of goofy state mandates on local control of our local governments?

  48. Loren 2014.02.20

    Want to show REAL patriotism? Go back to the draft where EVERYONE gets a chance to serve their country. This feel good legislation just produces another generation of young folks who are good at lip service without actually participating.

  49. Brian 2014.02.20

    "If fascism comes, it will not be identified with any 'shirt' movement, nor with an 'insignia', but it will probably be wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution." - James Waterman Wise, Jr., reported in a 1936 issue of The Christian Century, Volume 53, Feb 5, 1936, p. 245

    This is becoming more true every day.

  50. Douglas Wiken 2014.02.20

    The draft is a form of slavery. It makes really stupid political decisions possible and wastes an enormous amount of time for young people who might make an actual contribution outside of the dragooned corps. I can never understand why adults want to make their own war on the rights of 18 year olds.

  51. Erika 2014.02.20

    My first reaction to this was to tell my children that if the idea of compelled speech made them uncomfortable, they would have my support if they chose to sit quietly as an individual instead of reciting the pledge, but after reading more about the man who wrote it and what his intentions were, I've changed my mind. Like this from the Huffington Post:

    "Bellamy (cousin of Edward Bellamy, author of two best-selling radical books, Looking Backward and Equality) believed that unbridled capitalism, materialism and individualism betrayed America's promise. He hoped the Pledge of Allegiance would promote a different moral vision to counter the rampant greed he thought was undermining the nation."

    And this:

    "Bellamy thought such an event would be a powerful expression on behalf of free public education. Moreover, he wanted all the schoolchildren of America to recite the pledge at the same moment. He hoped the pledge would promote a moral vision to counter the individualism embodied in capitalism and expressed in the climate of the Gilded Age."

    I now want them to recite the hell out of this pledge and think about how the man who wrote it was a socialist who believed in equality and the power of the group working together to build a better country. Then I'm going to point out the conservative cognitive dissonance that would require public schools to provide the opportunity to recite a pledge written by a socialist while simultaneously considering association with the Warren Wing of the Democratic Party to be a liability. And when they get to the "under God" part, I want them to consider how the Catholic Church lobbied congress to alter its pledge, and what that means to have a religious institution wield such power over our government.

    Also, as a parent can I insist that my children pledge allegiance only to flags actually made in America? It's what Sam Walton would have wanted.

  52. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.20

    Erika, The pledge has been recited in schools for over 60 years now. How has Bellamy's vision of stopping the greed of capitalism worked out so far?

    And Douglas, ending the draft has ended the making of really stupid political decisions, right? The opposite is probably true. If the American people had any skin in the game in Iraq, there is no chance that we would have been there as long as we were and maybe would not have gone there in the first place. But as long as the other guy's kids, you know the poor schmucks that couldn't afford to go to school but also could not find a job, were the ones that were facing the chance of being killed, and as long as I get my tax cut and won't have to pay for the war, but put it on the credit card for future generations to pay, why should I care whether or not we go to war?

  53. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.20

    For the most part, I have generally agreed with your comments and have tried to support your positions on numerous topics here on Madville. It pains me to say there is one item in your post that I have to harshly criticize.

    It understandable that people support the Pledge and rally around it, I support the pledge in the proper venue and when it is not forced or required. The truest form or patriotism has, and always will come from the heart.

    For a person like yourself with vast experiences with all races and cultures of people, I find that your "support of making English the official language of the USA" objectionable.

    How do we make English the official language of the USA other than some sort of SB bill or proclamation? Could any violation have the force of law?

    And then there is the 1st Amendment which does not state specifically what language we are free to speak, or does it?

  54. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.20

    Roger, Seeing your post, I am reminded of a story I have seen a couple of times recently. A curmudgeonly old dude, I suppose about my age (and I might sadly admit) sometimes temperament, is standing in line in the grocery store, when a rather dark complected, beautiful young woman ahead of him in line gets a cellphone call. She is rattling on in a tongue foreign to him. When the call is finally ended, he says to her, if you are going to live in the United States, why don't you learn to speak English and not some foreign language. To which the young woman says, I was speaking Navajo, if you want to speak English, why don't you move back to England.

  55. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.20


    I've heard that story and never tire of it, of course in retelling the tale we always add our own tribe.

    Here's another one I like, Americans do speak English, third grade English.

  56. grudznick 2014.02.20

    Did your libbie leader Bernie have the guts to vote against this abomination requiring children to talk about Sibby's God?

  57. Douglas Wiken 2014.02.20

    Bring back the Tower of Babel. It might be a good tourist attraction on the reservation.

  58. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.20

    Wiken keep his Tower of Babel in Winner where it belongs.

  59. Douglas Wiken 2014.02.20

    I'll talk to our Native American mayor; but I don't see why such an outspoken supporter of languages would be opposed to a tower of babel. Too many years ago, the US gov. and Democratic party was fired up to hire translators for voters on reservations. After a lot of money was spent, the results came in. One very old Native American woman actually needed a translator.j

    If the desire is to permanently hobble a people, then having their youth spend time on a language used by only a few hundred people seems like a perfect way to do it.

    The problem with any language study is that there are so many of them, that whatever one picks, it is likely to be unnecessary in the future...with the exception of English and the language of the sciences.

    Deb is on the right trail. But, the English language instruction should be in a federal government language camp before any immigrants enter the general population. The federal government is responsible for immigration controls or the appalling lack of them and should be directly responsible for English language instruction rather than dumping that cost on communities that have no control on immigration and the resulting babel.

  60. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.20

    The mayor of Winner has sold out his people with his support of Keystone XL, he lives in a fantasy world where he thinks the project will solve the ever depressed economy.

    Whether Wiken likes it or not, Lakota spirituality and culture is not in any way associated with Christianity or the Biblical Tower of Babel.

    Young people and others should embrace opportunities to learn their cultural language regardless of the number of people that speak or write it. I know more and more young people that speak Lakota now that it is taught in some high schools and reservation colleges.

    As i suggested earlier, before we attack and force immigrants to speak English, Americans need to learn to speak, read, and write English and discover what a bastardized language it really is.

    If English is be the "official" language of USA., we need to eradicate all non-English words from usage. Would care to go to a rodeo? Want to order a taco? Want to have a Greek salad?

    And of course, the 1st Amendment will mean nothing. You have the Freedom of Speech, only if it's English.

  61. Donald Pay 2014.02.20

    In general, I don't like pledges, though the Pledge of Allegiance is not so bad. I recite it. I just skip the "under God" part because if I'm going to pledge allegiance to the US, it's going to be done honestly, and in the spirit of strict construction of both the Constitution and the Pledge itself.

    What I really don't like is government enforced shows of false patriotism, like those that Rep. Wick wants to set up. Since Rep. Wick had a nice story, I'll relate another couple.

    I think my distaste of false patriotism has something to do with a story my grandfather told me when I was young. As part of his military duty, my grandfather was ordered to go out to a Hutterite colony during WWI to enforce some false patriotism. He wasn't too keen about it, but apparently some higher ups in the military got the idea that the Hutterites weren't exhibiting the flag and the necessary enthusiasm for the war effort. I guess they might have feared the Hutterites were still more attached to Germany, than to the USA.

    Anyway, my grandfather goes out there and makes them "run the flag up a pole." Once that happened he told them, "Those were my orders. They didn't say you had to keep it up, so when I leave you can go ahead and do what you want." He said he doesn't know or care whether they kept flying the flag or not.

    My other grandfather was from Germany, and the story I was told was they came here to dodge the German draft and the jingoistic atmosphere of pre-WWI Germany. I have the feeling he wouldn't feel at home in Hal Wick's South Dakota.

    I find honest displays honoring the sacrifice and service of military veterans and others who serve our country and communities the best way to honor our country. If you ever attend a powwow, you will see honor songs for people. Similar honor songs are what some school boards want to prevent during graduation ceremonies. And I also like to honor how our country allows people to struggle against injustice until they make this country a more perfect union. So, if kids are going to have to recite the pledge, let them do like I do: to honor the struggles of Americans who make this country great. Some of those would be gays, who are fighting against the bigotry and fascism of people like Rep. Wick.

  62. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.21

    Roger, I think you have assumed something I didn't say:

    I Do Not Think Languages Other Than English Should Be Eradicated.

    I enjoy the sounds of the languages I hear. What I'm saying is that it is imperative that we all have one common language. I think everyone ought to be at least bilingual. In large chunks of the world, multilingualism is the norm.

    People need to be able to clearly communicate with medical people, in the political arena, with teachers, etc. But for pete's sake, keep other languages too!

  63. mike from iowa 2014.02.21

    Roger C-I believe well over half of the words in English language derived from those pesky French surrender monkeys that wingnuts hate so much.

  64. Jim 2014.02.21

    Hal's bill doesn't require those participating to recite the pledge in English. Hal you better fix this or we could have situation like kids singing America the Beautiful in different languages.

    Be sneaky bout the amendment though. Put in there the pledge shall be recited in unison. Then you can say unison implies all speak the same language.

  65. Jerry 2014.02.21

    Typical conservative fear mongering. If they indoctrinate you at a young age, republicans think you will follow them blindly. They are correct with some.

    For the rest of us free thinkers, we prefer to stay free thinkers and to further move South Dakota and the rest of America, into the future. We fail to see how this indoctrination will work to do anything other than divide us further.

  66. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.21

    Donald Pay, Thanks for sharing the story of your Grandfather. No one could say it any better than you have. God bless our great country, and those who have served and some have made the ultimate sacrifice in so doing. Saying the Pledge as a rote recitation does not do that or honor them in any way.

  67. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.21


    My comments about eradicating non-English words from our language were not directed at you, they were made to Wiken, I did not assume that about you.

    For the most part, English is the dominant language in dealing with government, hospitals, social service agencies, etc. These agencies and government have in place language data bases accessing hundreds of languages and translation services.

    English already is the common language of our country, I just don't see the necessity to make "English the Official language of the U.S.A.".

    From my experiences, it has always been the tea party types that want it mandatory to speak, read, and write English only. I view this as another attempt exclude large groups of minorities from "their" country.

  68. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.21

    Roger, due to the large number of immigrants, I do think it is necessary to designate one national language.

    The courts, hospitals, and civic groups need to have translators of dozens of languages. Most here contract with businesses that supply translators. I don't know what the cost is, but I've seen how it works. A phone call is made, the phone is put on speaker, and the client speaks with them. It really works slick.

    It really works slick - where it is available. It's not available on the street, in the grocery store, with the cop in the car, reading the street signs, searching for info in the library, calling 911 to report the fire in the basement.

    In my experience, immigrants do a good job of learning English, 75% of them. That is especially true in places like MN that work hard on making English language courses available to adults, and special school classes for new child immigrants. I think if English were the official language, localities would be forced to be more proactive in providing fluency classes at no cost.

    Roger, why are you opposed to English as the official language of the USA? Do you think other languages will go away?

    It hasn't happened. There are lots of cultural festivities celebrating food, clothing, language, etc. Northeast of Aberdeen is a contingent of Finns who still speak Finnish first, though they are entirely fluent in English too. There are the Czechs in southeast SD with Czech Days. This country is full of such cultural hotspots that preserve important aspects of their heritage. I can't see that changing if English becomes our official language.

    Perhaps English could be designated as America's First Language. That way there is clearly space saved for other languages.

    Teabaggers want English to be The Only Language spoken. That is not at all what I'm saying.

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