Wednesday, April 28, 2004

How Pathetic is This? From the right-wing, Moonie-owned newspaper The Washington Times comes this breathless report of the latest salvo in the culture wars:

Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, yesterday did not say the words “under God” as he led the House in its daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rep. Pete Sessions, Texas Republican, accused Mr. McDermott of “embarrassing the House” and proving that “he and those like him stand more for the liberal left than they do for our friends and neighbors.”

“The liberal wing of the Democrat Party launched yet another salvo today in its ongoing battle to drive a wedge between Americans and the values and ideals we hold dear,” Mr. Sessions said in a statement last night.

Chilling, don't you think? Apparently Mr. McDermott blieves that you should be able to pledge loyalty to your country without also pledging loyalty to God. The horror! Mr. Sessions, careful to distinguish the “liberal left” from “our friends and neighbors”, is outraged. If we ever manage to elect an openly atheistic representative, look for Mr. Sessions to exist in a perpetual state of embarrassment.

The Times goes on to enlighten us about McDermott's sordid past:

The House has overwhelmingly approved two resolutions expressing outrage at the June 2002 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it is unconstitutional to have schoolchildren recite the Pledge in class because it includes the words “under God.”

Mr. McDermott was one of seven Democrats who voted against a March 2003 House resolution — approved 400-7 — that condemned the 9th Circuit decision as inconsistent with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment. The House passed a similar resolution, 416-2 in June 2002, immediately after the court's decision, and Mr. McDermott joined 10 Democrats in voting “present.”

My opinion of Mr. McDermott keeps going up. Voting against such overwhelmingly popular measures reflects a sort of political courage that is all to rare nowadays.

Since the typical Times reader has a child-like attention span, the article goes on to remind everyone of Mr. Sessions' view of the matter:

“Congressman McDermott already knew that he had a problem with the words 'under God,' based on two votes he cast. The question is why he put himself in the position of embarrassing the House in this way,” Mr. Sessions said.

Alas, my opinion of Mr. McDermott did take a small dip when I read the remarks of his spokesperson on the matter:

When asked about yesterday's Pledge incident, Mr. McDermott's spokesman, Mike DeCesare, said his boss “hesitated, unsure of what he should do because the words 'under God' are under court review.” Mr. DeCesare confirmed that his boss did omit the words.

Incident, indeed. It is a pity that Mr. DeCesare didn't say something like, “My boss believes that patriotism does not entail any particular religious belief. We're sorry if Mr. Sessions was embarrassed. We invite him to take his cogent and eloquent objections and blow them out his effete, Republican ass.”.


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