President Obama’s Letter to the NYT

President Obama’s Letter to the Editor of The New York Times today responds to a thoughtful NYT article by Jim Rutenberg on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Click HERE for a link to the NYT’s coverage of the President’s letter and the article that inspired it.

Views from the Edge posted the following comment on the NYT website:

Arguments that the key provision of the Voting Rights Act are no longer necessary are what the President says they are. State decisions to remove the Confederate flag demonstrate greater sensitivity to the continuing presence of white supremacist assumptions than is apparent in the U.S. Supreme Court and among the Republican caucus in the U.S. Congress. The President persistently keeps before the American people the historic aspiration “in Order to form a more perfect Union” and, in so doing, does the nation a great service. This president is balanced, historicaly-informed, philosophical, articulate, and personally grounded. After years of swallowing his tong in hopes of reaching bi-partisan solutions, President Obama is making use of his last years in office in ways that will place him among the greats of American history.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 12, 2015.

The Germans at the Service Club Meeting

Pledge of Allegiance

Five visitors from Germany were guests of an international service club recently where my friend Steve Shoemaker is a member.After the meeting, they asked Steve some questions.

Why ask Steve?

For starters, he’s 6’8″ and he’s up for Club President soon…unless he’s impeached before taking office for his Letter to the Editor.

Dear Editor,

Five folks from Germany recently visited central Illinois as part of a local service club program to improve international understanding.

At one point they asked me about something they did not understand:  why do Americans begin so many gatherings with a ‘”patriotic” song, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a prayer?

As foreign visitors, of course, they felt excluded from at least the first two–often at events designed supposedly to welcome them…  And if from a non-Christian religious tradition, they felt excluded from all three.

Perhaps especially because they were from Germany, remembering the horrors of two world wars begun partly from excessive beliefs in the superiority of their nation and religion, they were sensitive to expressions of exceptionalism at U.S.A. sports events and service club meetings.

Can we welcome others better by showing the American virtue of hospitality, finding rituals that affirm the equality of all, and treating others the way we wish to be treated?

Steve’s an affable chap and hard not to like. At the next meeting Steve and some of the members had a nice chat. There’d been some conversation, they had a different opinion, they said, and the good thing was they were all free to disagree.

Hmmm.

Click HERE for a quick history lesson on the evolving text of the Pledge of Allegiance.

What do YOU think? Chime in with a comment to expand the discussion. I’ll send them to Steve for the next meeting.