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Park Board Commissioner Called "Disrespectful" For Sitting During Pledge

Former Morton Grove Village Clerk Eileen Coursey Winkler attended a meeting and decided to speak her mind about the topic.

File photo
File photo

Morton Grove Park Board Commissioner Dan Ashta is being criticized for not standing up during the Pledge of Allegiance during park board meetings, the Morton Grove Champion reports.

Former Morton Grove Village Clerk Eileen Coursey Winkler made a public statement at the July 18 meeting, calling Dan Ashta’s actions “disrespectful.” Ashta did not directly discuss Winkler’s comments but instead welcomed her to open a “private dialogue” through email, according to the newspaper. 

What do you think? Is it disrespectful for Dan Ashta or anyone else not to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. 

Ray Czarnik July 25, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Without a doubt it is very disrespectful to our Country. I dont personally know him, but honoring…Read More the Flag of the United States is the right thing to do especially if you are a public servant. People arent stupid, they will remember this at Election time.
Lucy July 25, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Totally disrespectful! To bad the people didn't know this when they elected him in April. Thank goodness I didn't vote for him.
Diane July 25, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Totally disrespectful. I love that people from all over the world come here and think they can spit in our drinking water. Love it or leave it! If you want to be apart of this great land the very least you can do is show respect for our customs. Shut up during the Pledge of Allegiance. You don't have to recite it, you don't have to believe in it - but for GOD (yes our country is a county based on the belief of God) sake respect it and show that by being silent for the few moments we recite it. We bend over backward trying to understand you. Personally, I think they should be ticketed - $500 fine!
Daniel Pose July 26, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Good for him for defying the robotic chanting. No one should chant the Pledge of Allegiance because it was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (see the new book "Pledge of Allegiance + Swastika Secrets" by the author Ian Tinny and explaining the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry). Due to government schools (socialist schools) Americans are ignorant of the fact that the Pledge of Allegiance originally began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag - that is why the Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute. http://youtu.be/BssWWZ3XEe4 The pledge was written by a socialist to promote socialism and it influenced German socialists and other socialists worldwide. No one should chant the pledge of allegiance. Think of Francis Bellamy as America's Leni Riefenstahl. Although he was arguably more successful than she was. The pledge was written by a socialist to promote socialism and it influenced German socialists and other socialists worldwide. Stop the pledge of allegiance.
Nancy DeLeu Spircoff July 26, 2013 at 09:14 AM
He won't get my vote!
Pat Craig July 26, 2013 at 09:30 AM
Three thoughts occur; 1) As a politician he's about on a level of Anthony Wiener regarding awareness. 2) Isn't it wonderful that the Park District has solved all of its' challenges, (like how to pay for the Oriole pool rebuild without raising taxes), and can concentrate on petty distractions like this? 3) Would it be out of line to notice that Ms. Winkler is the daughter of long-time Park Commissioner "Ma" Coursey and has benefited from the "freebies" commissioners get? Just sayin'
Shawn July 26, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Sigh, and out come the crazies. Daniel, please take your conspiracy theories elsewhere. Adults don't have time for that. Also, just because the Nazis created their salute based on the Bellamy Salute(it wasn't even the same salute, Bellamy Salutes use palms up) doesn't mean you can try and make it sound evil. Ohhhh, the Nazis did this after you guys, are you guys Nazis too? Seriously dude, grow up. Do you realize that the swastika has existed as a symbol for around 3,000 years? It's original meaning translates literally to "to be good"? Does that mean that just because the Nazis took the symbol and repurposed it that they were also good? No, and that's where your faulty logic breaks down.
Shawn July 26, 2013 at 09:50 AM
Diane, I agree with most of what you said. But you are absolutely wrong about what our country is based on. America is not based on any religious rules. It is based on the idea that people should be free to do what they want, as long as they aren't harming others. It was based on freedom of religion, which includes freedom from religion by its very nature. There is no national religion. There is a supposed to be a wall of separation between church and state. The pledge didn't even initially include the words "under God" until 1954, when the head of a religious group successfully lobbied to get those two words added. It is a disgrace to what America stands for. The same goes for "In God We Trust" being on our money. 1864 for coins, 1957 for paper money. I liked "E pluribus unum"(out of many, one) because it represents the strength of unity while "In God We Trust" instantly creates insiders and outsiders, which is of course, divisive. United we stand, divided we fall.
Rosemarie Alioto July 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM
He should be removed immediately
Diane July 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM
All I am saying is that if you cannot respect the few traditions we have, then do not run for public office. Again you don't have to say anything, just show respect for others beliefs. Stop bending the rules and deteriorating our country. This behavior leads everyone to believe that you won't respect the rules an regulations. What would happen in any other country if we behaved like this? I am pretty certain that we would not be allowed to hold a public office. This is a bigger issue than this one person. I've been to graduations where people talk, walk, shout during our Pledge, it's just plain old disrespectful. If you want our freedoms than the least you can do is respect ours.
Kitty Kendrick July 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Rosemarie says it succinctly!!!
Concerned Resident July 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM
WOW!!! Not only is it disturbing that this guy was actually elected by the people back in April, but what's scarier is that we're stuck with him for 6 years!!! Next thing we'll find out is that he's never really been a patron of anything Park District related and is essentially a puppet of the Action Party version 1.0, who probably helped him get elected in the first place. Maybe he'll at least get his buddy Staackmann back on the board... What a complete joke!!!
Lucy July 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM
If Staackmann gets on, I am done with the Park District. We need someone young that actually uses the Park District and can relate to the families. How many of the current commissioners actually use the Park District (besides the fitness center) and participate in any of the family and children activities?
Joseph Hedrick July 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM
As a citizen he pledged to the country. As an elected offical he is to set an example. It is obvious he should step down or be recalled.
Malibu Bob July 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Daniel, I resent the theory you set forth. Makes absolutely no sense since, at the time Naziism was the worst possible idea in the world at the time. And who would want to be associated with the most terrible creature of all time? We are talking about saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Repecting our country.
Pat Craig July 26, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Never let facts get in the way of a good political rant. Perhaps Daniel was a bit un-politically correct in his presentation, but, unlike some of the knee-jerk reactions from those who do not know their history, his facts are correct, (which can be verified by just a bit of research... see http://oldtimeislands.org/pledge/ ). Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897). Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex. The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth's Companion, the leading family magazine and the Reader's Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. The original Bellamy salute, first described in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who authored the original Pledge, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words "to the flag," the arm was extended toward the flag. At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all." At the words, "to my Flag," the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side. -The Youth's Companion, 1892 In World War II, the salute too much resembled the Nazi salute, so it was changed to keep the right hand over the heart throughout. "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it," ---George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense
Shawn July 26, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Some of his facts were correct, but it wasn't really the veracity of his comment that is the problem; his problem is the connections he is making based on the information. My reaction wasn't knee-jerk, it was rationally presented with facts of my own. How exactly does the fact that the nazi party co-opted a salute that was tied to socialist beliefs lead to the idea that one shouldn't recite the Pledge of Allegiance? So it was an influence to some Germans, big deal. America isn't a socialist country. There are some things that are socialist, but there are socialist programs and entities that are beneficial to everyone. As to your quote about the past and repeating it; how does that even apply here? The nazis took something that meant one thing and used it as a representation for something horrible. Are you saying that we can't create new things because someone might take it and use it to spread hate? Should companies stop making new logos? Because that would be the only way we could learn from the past.
Pat Craig July 26, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Shawn- Surprisingly I don't disagree with much of your position. I also believe that the way that the commissioner chose to act makes him a direct relation to the south-bound end of a northbound horse. I disagree with your position of socialist programs, but honest disagreement is what makes for civilized debate, (by the way, you seem to have taken some of my comments as personally directed toward you, some were, most were not). Regarding your strawman argument about not creating new things because someone might co-opt it, that is ridiculous on its' face and was good for a chuckle. What I would find funny if it weren't so sad is that so many are so wound up over a phoney issue while being unconscious over the real and serious issues that face us. Its' like the old magicians trick of misdirection. The main difference is that few magicians spend tax money.
Shawn July 26, 2013 at 06:28 PM
There are so many socialist programs in America that work, I can't list them all here. But I'll name a few. Public school, the post office, fire dept., police, some museums, the VA, congressional healthcare, farm subsidies, highways and roads, and the list goes on and on. And that wasn't a strawman argument. A strawman is when someone creates a weakened and distorted version of your argument, thus allowing them to easily defeat it. I made a comparison that essentially was saying that if his example makes sense, then so does mine because they are identical. The swastika originally started out as a positive symbol. The nazi party started using it as the symbol of their hateful group. The Bellamy Salute started out as a harmless part of a national ritual. The nazi party started using it as a symbol of their hateful group. Seeing that they are exactly the same type of example, how is my example a strawman? Quoting Daniel: "Americans are ignorant of the fact that the Pledge of Allegiance originally began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag - that is why the Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute." To that I say, "so what?". All he did was state a fact. He might have a point if it was the other way around- if our pledge had roots in nazi beliefs, then his argument would have much more validity because that's someone co-opting a negative symbol.
Pat Craig July 26, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Shawn perhaps we should just agree to disagree regarding the effectiveness your socialistic examples, (like the VA; the Post office;Congressional healthcare and farm subsidies). I believe that the function of government is to do those things that private individuals cannot effectively do for themselves. I also still contend that your argument was, indeed a "Strawman", you disagree. So be it. We can continue to argue as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but the bottom line is, this "controversy" is a tempest in a tea pot that allows for ignoring the real serious issues such as how our tax dollars are spent.
Big Al July 27, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Lots of comments to read, but consider that this person may belong to the Jehovah Witness faith which do not salute or acknowledge the US Flag. If this is the case, let it be lest ye open up another can of worms.
Edward C. Grabowski August 05, 2013 at 10:23 PM
This discussion violated Godwin's Law.

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