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Bender: Woke school board asleep at the wheel

The Fargo School Board, by a 7-2 vote, decided to stop pledging allegiance to the flag before meetings. The bloody goat sacrifices will continue.

Tony Bender
Tony Bender
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Apparently, the world ended since we last met here. That's right, the Fargo School Board, by a 7-2 vote, decided to stop pledging allegiance to the flag before meetings. The bloody goat sacrifices will continue.

The New York Pest moaned.

Fox and Fiends wept.

The country duo Big & Dumb called the board “commies.”

What is the culture war if not a pitched battle to impose one group's preferred culture on others, without much effort invested in trying to find compromise and accord? I don't care which side of that fight you're on; if you're in it, you're part of the problem.

Kevin Cramer, who loves America enough to drag deceased veterans through his campaign ads, tweeted patriotically about the outrage shortly after being dragged himself, kicking and screaming, to vote for a veterans health care bill. His initial inclination, apparently, was that they ought to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Unless, of course, they're amputees.


We Support the Troops except when we don't.

Meanwhile, a flag-waving Fargo radio talk show patriot who shall remain nameless, got his panties in a twist. After all, it was Pride Week. And, hey, it's his fault he's anonymous. His morning show just staggered to a 3 share in the ratings book, which means if businesses want to put their advertising into the witness protection program, they know who to call. This is the same patriot who was in Washington to cheer the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow the very democracy the flag represents.

It's all fun and games until cops get killed.

We Back the Blue except when we don't.

I don't know why he doesn't like to discuss that. Even if he confessed on the air, considering the ratings, it'd remain a secret. You'd have to search Mar-a-Lago to find it.

Also, how hard must it be to fit headphones over those antlers?

So, forgive me if I don't buy the puffed-up super-patriot schtick. It's predictable, Pavlovian, pearl-clutching tripe to stir up an ignorant base. However, if anything's dumber than the reaction, it's the action that precipitated it. Typically, when North Dakota makes national news, it's because of some new redneck policy. Then, the Fargo school board had their “Hold my beer” moment.

If anyone derisively calls me “woke,” I embrace it. It means “evolved.” However, if you're going to be “woke,” common sense ought to be involved. Choose your battles. Why pick a meaningless fight that makes you come off looking like some kind of Richard?


If I find anyone more off-putting than smug, preachy, holier-than-thou conservatives, it's politically correct, anal-retentive liberals. Perhaps I just expect more.

School Board Member Seth Holden objected to the innocuous use of the word “God” in the pledge, claiming it represents a Judeo-Christian god to the exclusion of others. A bit of a stretch, I think. Another complaint was that “liberty and justice for all” doesn't ring true. Fair enough. It never has, but we ought to aspire to that end.

There's an understandable wariness about incorporating religion and performative patriotism — the last refuge of scoundrels — into American culture, but hypersensitivity, gotcha political correctness, and self-appointed language sanitizers don't serve us well, either. Lighten up, Francis.

We're supposed to be the “United” States, bound together in a noble experiment to make our lives and those of our fellow men better, to advance democracy, as stumblingly imperfect as we may be in the process. To learn to navigate our differences. To evolve. Would it be that awful to remind ourselves of our aspirations before a meeting or a ballgame?

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
Opinion by Tony Bender
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column from North Dakota for Forum News Service.
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