When I was a boy not one school day started without the Pledge of Allegiance (and recall, it’s not mandatory).  Then as we remained standing the teacher would find a seat at the piano and play My Country ‘Tis of Thee.  As the first bars sounded I would get chills.  I still do.

Do you see anything in the Pledge of Allegiance about color or ethnicity?

My parents showed me where my family had lived for generations.  We once traveled to a field in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and climbed a hillside.  An old foundation was the only portion left standing of what had been a house.  My dad knew exactly where there was a spring.  We stopped and drank the sweet water.  This is some of what my country means to me.  It’s a pride about survival and grit and a commitment to a better life.  It’s why my ancestors came here and sometimes not so willingly.

Many early Irish and Scottish settlers came to the Western Hemisphere as slaves or indentured servants.  Some had been forced off land to make way for the Lord of the Manor.  They endured a miserable crossing and then a life with few conveniences.  How do we measure grief on a scale?  And, yet.

It’s what the race hustlers do when they’re looking for an edge.  Reparations or preferences or a pound of flesh.

The latest is a writer calling the Pledge of Allegiance racist.  I’ve heard Francis Bellamy called a socialist.  He was a devout Christian who believed in shared religious experience.  He was from Upstate New York, which was a hotbed of Christian awakening and home to the Oneida Community.  These weren’t political socialists.  They were making an attempt to practice Christianity as it existed in the early days of the faith.  For all people.  Now Bellamy is being called racist.  Do you see anything in the Pledge of Allegiance about color or ethnicity?

I never thought I’d be one of the guys saying it but if you don’t like this country, then leave.  The man calling Bellamy a racist is, frankly, an illegal alien.  If you want to stay then you should stop playing identity politics.  If the writer is so smart then he could have a great life south of the border, where his family has its origins.  My people were just happy to be here.

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