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We've been getting some reaction today to the story about the Pledge of Allegiance at political debates, much of it from people taking on GOP contentions (by Glenn Beck and others) that the League of Women Voters is partisan and favors Democrats.

At 2PJ's, Dayvoe gives an overview of the national and local stories about the debates, saying "Neutrality is the new Un-American. And a new reason to bully."

Janis McDonal, a reader from Herminie, Pa., writes: 

This is when the history, the initial meaning, the establishment of the use of the pledge, etc. would be good to know. Citizens – and their representatives – are constantly making decisions/judgments based on no real information.

Rosemary Prostko of Bethel Park -- who has a letter to the editor criticizing Tim Murphy in today's P-G -- was at the debate and said the story was one-sided:

I was at the Tuesday forum held by the League of Women Voters with Dan Connelly and Tim Murphy. I was very disappointed that you only talked to the rude supporters of Rep. Murphy for your story. I would have told you I did not participate in the pledge because this is STILL a free country and I will not be bullied by a group of synchronized hoods!

You also did not mention the many interruptions instigated by the supporters of Mr. Murphy. I guess these are not people who frequent true political events. I know from many years of experience that the League runs a tight forum. Mr. Murphy, as a many time participant should also know this. He chooses to support the mob rule of his supporters just as he refuses to affirm the President was born in this country to cravenly appeal to a certain group.

UPDATE: Here's a new one from Scott Johanson in Wilkinsburg:

I read your article in today's Post with bemusement that there is now an nationwide conservative outrage at the lack of the Pledge of Allegiance at political debates. I was curious if this was something that held an historical precedent, so I sampled the transcripts of the presidential debate located on Commission on Presidential Debates website (www.debates.org) and I was not able to find the Pledge present there either. I also thought about my usual day and the lack of the reciting of the Pledge when gathered with other citizens of our Republic. When I entered the bus for my morning commute, we did not recite the Pledge. When I and my co-workers arrive in our down-town offices or gather in the lunch room we do not recite the Pledge to remind ourselves of our patriotism. In the evenings when I sit down to dinner with my family for dinner we do not recite the Pledge either, these are only the points in a normal day in my life when I am gathered with others where the Pledge would be just as appropriate to be recited as the candidate's issue debate this past Tuesday. I am sure that Mr Murphy and others who are elected to do the peoples business in Washington could also think of other instances such as sporting events (just after the Star-Spangled Banner is sung would be a perfect time), every hour during breakfast, lunch and dinner in public restaurants amongst others. Perhaps Mr. Murphy should concentrate on the issues that he was elected to care for, rather than questioning the patriotism of his fellow citizens. In the real America, that exists outside of the minds of Washington politicians, we Americans work and feed our families every day without needing to publicly remind those around us of the love of country that we hold in our hearts and minds by reciting the Pledge or wearing a pin on our lapels. Thank you for your time, and have a great day.

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