The Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park has come up with a novel way of trying to be more accommodating to the city's increasingly culturally diverse population: starting next month, city council meetings will no longer begin with a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
A city council member who supported the move told the Star Tribune that it was motived out of concern over the current political atmosphere.
“Given the current Washington politics that are going on now, there’s a lot of people that are afraid of our government, and we worry about that," Council Member Tim Brausen told the paper, which first reported the news.
The story is seemingly teeded up for the Drudge Report and hours of cable news outrage, but Chad Hartman, host on News Talk 830 WCCO, began his segment on it by playing a pre-produced clip with an announcer's voice saying, "Warning, warning, phony patriotism approaching!" - a bit he said he had prepared for moments exactly like this.
"I'm not bothered by this at all. How many people even knew about the numbers cities where they start with the Pledge of Allegiance? I absolutely do not think it should be a mandate or requirement and that doesn't mean these individuals don't love the country or believe in the country," Hartman said. "You can love that you're living in America and disagree with the certain key points. This,again, is not the purity test."
Later he added:
"How we decide who's the true patriot and who really believes in this country—It's up to each individual and you may not agree with their decision. You may not agree with their explanation. "
However, Adam Carter, a news anchor with 830 WCCO and frequent contributor to the Chad Hartman Show, had a different perspective.