It's a trend that's cropping up on America's college campuses: left-leaning students and student groups labeling a traditional display of patriotism as infringing on the free-speech rights of those who feel differently about the nation.
A vote to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during meetings was cast by the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Student Senate – with twice as many voting to remove it than keep it – as the overwhelming majority insisted the patriotic tribute symbolizes an oppressive and discriminatory government that is non-inclusive.
One student senator at the Michigan university, Dorian Thompson, revealed that 22 voted to remove the Pledge, while only 10 opposed the measure and 10 abstained, and he cited three progressive arguments for its banishment.
"The arguments to remove it were to create an inclusive environment, that it represented an oppressive government, and that there are international students that we should be representing," Thompson informed The College Fix.
Anti-American campus trend
The student government at Grand Valley State University isn't the first to abolish the Pledge and reflect an anti-American trend.
"This is the second student government this fall semester to nix the Pledge of Allegiance from its agenda," The Fix's Jennifer Kabbany noted. "The University of Oklahoma student government also voted in September to scrap the Pledge from its meetings."
It was argued that having the Pledge recited before meetings at the Midwest university was an infringement on students' free-speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
"A resolution before the student government made the case that the Pledge was incompatible with the First Amendment," Breitbart News noted in September. "The student government voted 15-11 in favor of the resolution."
Serving his second year on the student senate, Thompson explained how he noticed the Pledge was absent when fall meetings started, and later found out that chairs and vice chairs "secretly" eliminated it before school was in session – so he set up a public vote to formally decide the issue.
"I motioned to bring it back," the political science major recounted – noting the vote failed after a volatile student senate meeting just a few days after Veterans Day. "Of course, our country doesn't have the brightest past with human rights issues, but with liberty and justice for all, that says right there – no matter what interesting times we are in – we will always rise above it and go forward and not backwards."
He contended students have no idea what a truly oppressive government is like.
"The oppressive government thing? You could be shot or arrested for making that statement in a real oppressive government," Thompson – who belongs to the College Republicans – pointed out.
GVSU Student Senate spokesperson Ryan Fritz claimed that the Pledge is both non-inclusive to foreign students and non-religious to students who aren't Christian.
"A lot of students didn't feel comfortable with the 'under God' aspect of the Pledge," Fritz told MLive.com.
Lansing Sánchez-Castillo – another student senator – insisted the Pledge doesn't represent the public university's diversity.
"We are representing a diverse population here, and that specific language doesn't sit with this diverse population and fully representing them," Sánchez-Castillo told Fox 17 News.
Sánchez-Castillo – who is a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America and running as an independent for U.S. Congress against Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) – abstained from voting on the issue due to personal bias, but he was more than pleased that that the patriotic gesture was dropped from the university's campus meetings.
"It's important when we're talking equity and equality and social justice that we are having those kinds of measures taken," Sánchez-Castillo impressed.
The insinuation that students are being forced to participate in the Pledge against their wills was shot down by the conservative student government member.
"Thompson said no one was ever forced to stand or recite the Pledge, nor were there any issues last school year," Kabbany stressed. "Meanwhile, he said, at least one campus administrator told him that some alumni are angry about the issue and threatening to pull funding. He said he hopes to reintroduce the issue with the student senate."
Thompson lamented that the politically correct multiculturalism touted and promoted on university campuses across America works to incite racial tension and division – instead of unity.
"It's a sad point in our country where we are having debates on things that we should be talking about that unites us instead of divides us," Thompson expressed, according to Fox. "Things can be done to make sure that people know this is not over and our voices will be heard. My great-grandfather fought in the military and fought in World War II, [so] this is something that really means a lot to me."
The patriotic student promised his social media following that he will not rest until the Pledge is reinstated.
"[M]ake this no mistake – the fight is not over," Thompson vowed in a Facebook post, according to The Fix. "No matter if I continue to serve on this body or decide that they do not represent my values and leave, I will do everything in my power to fight this disgraceful act. God bless our flag, and may God bless our great country."