UNITED STATES—On Thursday, February 4, a unanimous vote opposed an amendment by Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, to begin each session with the Judicial Committee by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I just think it would be nice, in the spirit of national unity and national pride, which I know we all aspire to do to a greater extent, that at the beginning of each meeting, the chair or one of the designees of the chair would have the opportunity to lead us in the pledge of allegiance,” Gaetz said.
“We’re all aware that in these times, it’s important for the country to see members of Congress working together on some things and while I know that we can deal with divisive issues in the committee, it would be my hope that we can start every committee meeting with a great, unifying, patriotic moment.”
House Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler of New York said:
“It’s unnecessary. The House begins every day with the Pledge of Allegiance. We’re covered by that. There is no necessity to say the Pledge of Allegiance twice during the same day. It’s not been our practice to do so.”
The conversation between Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee and another unidentified Democrat caught included:
“So what do they want? Do they want prayers said before the beginning of each meeting and the pledge or just the pledge?”
“No, just the pledge,” the other Democrat answered.
“I remember in the first grade we had something like this,” Cohen replied.
Then, the unidentified Democrat said, “I remember too, I remember on Fridays at 10 o’ clock we duck below our desks in the event of a nuclear bomb.”
To which Cohen replied, “Right, duck and cover.”
I offered an Amendment to add the Pledge of Allegiance to our Judiciary Committee procedures in the spirit of national unity.
Every Democrat voted “no.”
Several mocked me for making the suggestion.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 5, 2021
“I think it’s a simple one. I think it’s important symbolism right now. We all know and it’s been discussed today already that our nation is divided. Many of us talk frankly about this individually. We’re more divided now arguably than we have been since the era of the Civil War and there are a few things left in our culture, in our society that unite us. The Pledge of Allegiance is one of those things,” said Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana.
According to the First Amendment Encyclopedia, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is America’s most common form of paying respect to a national emblem. It started as part of a nationwide public-school observance in 1892 honoring the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America.
By 1935, the Pledge of Allegiance was a common practice in 24 states, and in 1954, the words, “Under God,” were added, “in an attempt to distinguish the United States from “godless communism.”