Kim remains mum during Pledge of Allegiance


As the old progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors dissolves into uncertain new political dynamics, everyone has been looking for signs of what's to come, large and small. Do the new committee assignments mean the moderates will have more power? Have identify politics moved to the forefront? If the new marching order is “getting things done,” what kinds of things will get done?

It feels a bit like the end of an era after 10 years of progressives running the show, but there are small signs that progressivism under the dome isn't dead yet. Here's one: on Saturday, when the new Board of Supervisors was sworn in, new Sup. Jane Kim stood for the Pledge of Allegiance but remained mum, not saying a word.

When I asked her about it later, Kim said that she doesn't believe in the pledge and has never said it throughout her tenure on the Board of Education. Her predecessor Chris Daly, as well as Sup. Ross Mirkarimi, generally say the pledge but pointedly drop the words “under God” from it, with Daly sometimes being quite loud and pronounced in his modified lyrics.

There's no legal requirement for the Board of Supervisors to pledge allegiance to a flag, and there are many political jurisdictions that don't say it. So, is dropping the pledge from the board agenda one of those things that the new board would like to get done? Don't bet on it. But personally, it did make my heart go pitter-pat to watch Kim's lips remain still as her colleagues aligned themselves with a piece of cloth.

And at this point, I plan to savor the small things.


Daly was actually reciting the original pledge of allegiance as it stood for over a century and a half. The words 'Under God' were introduced during the Red Scare, are blatantly unconstitutional, and should have been removed long ago.

However I'm with you and Ms Kim. The requirement of pledging allegiance to this nation, and its flag, is totally at odds with the bedrock of personal freedoms on which this country was founded, and no one should go along with it.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

Fact Correction: My note above should reference the Pledge as it stood for: over a half century. It has only existed since 1892 and was amended with the Constitution usurping 'Under God' in 1954.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 16, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

Thanks for stating facts on this subject. Indeed the words "under God" officially were added into the pledge in 1954 due to pressure from conservative and religious organizations.

The Pledge of Allegiance itself, was written by a socialist.

Posted by Grim Griefer on Jan. 18, 2011 @ 1:00 am

thats why nobody likes you.......douche!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 02, 2011 @ 3:46 am

wow im on here for a school project and i see this your the douche

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2011 @ 10:42 am

So I'm puzzled by Steve's issue with it.

The pledge is a mindless, empty and meaningless bit of rote mouthings. Forcing someone through school or societal pressures to recite it makes it devoid of any meaning.

I was with Steve up until the end there. Such a hate filled and Palinish thing to say about the majority of Americans at the end there. I'm sad that millions of Americans are letting Steve down by being patriotic and being a fans of the American flag... all those little Eichman's ruining Steve's world.

Maybe when the revolution comes we can make a flag out of hemp with a bicycle rider smoking a bong on it.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

I never say it either. I stood for it and may have held my hand to my heart at the inauguration on Saturday out of consideration for the BoS, as I was their guest, but as a mother of three, with many occasions for the Pledge of Allegiance, it has never felt authentic given the genocide and brutality that it took to establish the United States, so I never say it. I never realized Jane Kim did not say the pledge either.

Posted by GuestTami on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

Hey Kim...... If you don't like the pledge no one is keeping you here, you can board the next boat and head back to the original cesspool you came from. :)

Posted by Guest on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

And if you don't like the fact that there are people in the US who refuse to participate in mindless exercises of propaganda, you can move to Saudi Arabia, Iran or China.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 8:20 am

Umm, where do you think Jane Kim is from, Guest? She was born in this country and lived in the United States her entire life. Just because someone is of Asian descent doesn't make them any less a citizen than you, xenophobe.

Posted by triplezero on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

She's from New York, but lived here for decades.

And they do the Pledge there too.

Posted by Grim Griefer on Jan. 18, 2011 @ 1:02 am

I find the above comment racist and think it should not be allowed here. Nothing wrong with having strong feelings and making - unless those feelings are racist and that sure sounds racist to me.

Posted by Bill on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

the comments in response made quick work of the above horrid comment, and I also think it's good to have an example of the smallminded, inaccurate xenophobia of some people in reaction to Kim. So even though I agree with your characterization, I'm going to let it stand. Anything further or more explicit, however, will be deleted if I see it. Thanks, Bill.

Posted by marke on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

Our local progressive sect is more panicked than I thought. Or so Steven T. Jones would have us believe.

He grabs onto the sight of a politician not reciting the pledge of allegiance as a sign that SF progressivism still has a pulse.

There are better vital signs to be on the look-out for. Such as a practical and inspiring vision of a better SF.

Too bad that Steven T. Jones can't find that in any of the city's progressive pols. Instead, what we have all found in the past few weeks is mutual back-stabbing and inept, self-serving plotting.

As to the pledge itself, no one should ever be compelled to take pledges of allegiance or loyalty oaths. It's fine for Jane Kim to refrain from the pledge if she wishes, and fine for her colleagues to participate if they wish.

But seeing her refusal as a sign that SF progressivism is not yet dead, after all, is a poor commentary on the sect's prospects for being any kind of vanguard in the city.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

The Pledge oF Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy whose cousin was Edward Bellamy, the author of the utopian novel Looking Backward. Pledging allegiance to the flag is certainly a worthy topic of discussion -- as is development in District 6 and the rest of the city. District 6 is Ground Zero for development in the city -- and yet that warranted not one word in a post election interview of Jane Kim in the Bay Guardian. I do believe that will change in the coming months and years. How could it not? So many issues face San Francisco, but the looming one is development and the continued redistribution of wealth into the hands of a very small, fortunate group of winners who stand to benefit disproportionately from development in throughout the City -- but especially in District 6. It is there that enormous high rises are going up, high rise condominium complexes, reachable to only a small percentage of people.

Posted by Sue on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

Really - no one cares whether Jane Kim is saying the pledge or not.

But at least you admitted that you are "savoring the small things." If that's the highlight of the new Board's tenure then we'll all be better off because of it.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

I'm glad to see our local progressive sect get the comeuppance they have long deserved. Their smugness, abusiveness, and stupidity finally became intolerable.

However, it would be a loss for the city if they did not rebound. I remember what it is like when the moderates dominated things here under Mayor Dianne Feinstein. They became just as smug, abusive, and stupid as the progressives are now.

Let's hope SF progressives reflect on their failures, recover a sense of balance, shed their anti-intellectualism, and develop some social skills. Everyone would benefit.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

We pledge allegiance to the flag --one nation under G0D--in large measure to thank a Deity for the munificence that has been found in America, that is in America. When so many places in the world endure subsistance living,... When people want to attack this country for no other reason than our progressive and democratic stance, then we are again obligated to pledge allegiance to the flag. Jane Kim's attitude is not progressive, it is a sign of sloppy thinking--not thinking through something. Thoughtless like Chris Daley. If I'd know she had such a problem with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I'm not sure I would have voted for her.

Posted by GuestSteven on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

The real sloppy thinking is claiming many people are better off in the US because of God (though he seems to have forgotten about millions and not just during the past couple of years).

You have every right to believe in god (many on the left are deeply religious) & to say all the current words to the pledge, but to reconsider your vote for her is also sloppy thinking.

I assume she still has the positions on issues and other reasons you voted for her.

And she seems to have put some thought into her decision since she probably realizes even in San Francisco (where political sex scandals that would ruin a politician in other places are forgotten as they glide to Sacramento) might lose her some votes.

Though if the country is really progressive and democratic, whether a politician says the pledge shouldn't matter.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 1:58 am

This was funny...I wonder if Ms. Kim would have put on her campaign literature, "and as your Supervisor I will not say the Pledge of Allegiance" if she still would have been elected...Sounds a little petty.

Posted by Flowers on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

Who knew?

While I agree with Sue above that land use is probably going to be THE major issue in D6, and as such I'm still very troubled with her close ties to Willie Brown and Rose Pak, Jane and anyone else should be applauded when they have the courage to stand on principle.

This is one of those times. Making people pledge their allegiance to the flag should trouble anyone who believes in freedom and democracy, or just takes a broader view than blindly adhering to narrow national interests. Matt Gonzalez had a quote in his office along the lines of "Love of ones country is a wonderful thing. I don't see why that love should end at the border."

At the same time, as some of the comments above clearly show, the pressure to adhere to the pledge can become quite oppressive. To resist that pressure takes courage.

Now if only she'll have the courage to say no when Willie Brown and Rose Pak and their developer friends come around to collect their favors...

Posted by Greg on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

Freedom is the ability to tell other people how to live and force your values upon them, while complaining about others trying to do same to you.

It seems like coercing people to repeat mantra's would be right up the progressive ideological spectrum.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 3:38 am

Not surprising in a city like SF, filled with people like Kim calling themselves left leaning, progressives or whatever. Next thing we know they will claim the US Constitution is outdated and have no place in 'modern' times. This country was
founded on a strong belief in individual human rights and in God and these
tenets have been what made America great up to the late 1960's, after which
it has degenerated to this present state. Kim obviously never took any American
history or civics classes. Where did this woman come from and when did she come

Posted by Nightrider on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 12:46 am

Kim graduated from law school where there is a Constitutional law class.

And your history and civics classes seem to have skipped Thomas Paine.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 2:03 am

Perhaps the pledge could be rewritten to suit the needs of progressives better.

Heres are some ideas that could be incorporated

ARTHUR: Old woman!
ARTHUR: Old Man, sorry. What knight live in that castle over there?
DENNIS: I'm thirty seven.
DENNIS: I'm thirty seven -- I'm not old!
ARTHUR: Well, I can't just call you `Man'.
DENNIS: Well, you could say `Dennis'.
ARTHUR: Well, I didn't know you were called `Dennis.'
DENNIS: Well, you didn't bother to find out, did you?
ARTHUR: I did say sorry about the `old woman,' but from the behind
you looked--
DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!
ARTHUR: Well, I AM king...
DENNIS: Oh king, eh, very nice. An' how'd you get that, eh? By
exploitin' the workers -- by 'angin' on to outdated imperialist dogma
which perpetuates the economic an' social differences in our society!
If there's ever going to be any progress--
WOMAN: Dennis, there's some lovely filth down here. Oh -- how d'you do?
ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
Who's castle is that?
WOMAN: King of the who?
ARTHUR: The Britons.
WOMAN: Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we're all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous
DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship.
A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.
DENNIS: That's what it's all about if only people would--
ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives
in that castle?
WOMAN: No one live there.
ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?
WOMAN: We don't have a lord.
DENNIS: I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take
it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
DENNIS: But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified
at a special biweekly meeting.
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,--
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: --but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more--
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN: Order, eh -- who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn't vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don't vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake,
[angels sing]
her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur
from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I,
Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.
[singing stops]
That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords
is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power
derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical
aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power
just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just
because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd
put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that,
eh? That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing me,
you saw it didn't you?

Posted by matlock on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 4:03 am

"DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords
is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power
derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical
aquatic ceremony."

No, supreme executive power derives from a back room deal made by Bevan Dufty and Steve Kawa sluiced through on race baiting to cover for a return to Willie Brown levels of corruption.


Posted by marcos on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 7:01 am

Right on da' money, marcos.

Posted by D3 voter on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

and winding up the racial ambulance siren.

Willie Brown's corruption or the progressive servility to SEIU, stuck between two stupidities.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

Amazing how many comments on this issue. I say the pledge and don't say "Under God," but I have always wondered why we have to say the pledge day after day and week after week. After all a pledge is a promise but seemingly a very weak promise if we have to repeat it everyday as we do in our schools and every week as we do at our board of supes meetings.

Posted by Guest John Avalos on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 7:56 am

Thanks for your hard work on SF's foreign policy statements.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 9:46 am

Been some pretty extensive discussions on this site over the budget, pension reform, collective bargaining, etc.

But I like how you chose this one - the really important one, lol

* No one cares what you do during the pledge. People are, on the other hand, a little concerned about the city's bond rating being dropped. I don't expect much from you on that though...

Posted by Sambo on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 11:22 am

When John wasn't busy kicking ass on the budget, he often did chime in through press releases, advocacy and yes, even an occasional response on one of these stupid forums.

Also, the things that you mentioned are all things that he has to vote on and discuss publicly, where something as arbitrary as this is not argued about in a public arena except here.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

Not sure if this will work on FCJ.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 9:05 am
Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 9:09 am


speak louder than words. I gave at the office. Meaning that I served honorably (unless you count that time in Tangiers) in the military and you can stick your jingoistic pledges up your kazoo. I always take my hat off and put it over my heart and stand up at ballgames and other gatherings just so I won't have to fight some redneck even drunker than me.

I've always felt that as members of the race we should give time to public service. My whole family's done that. My son and I served in the military and my daughter was in the Peace Corps. That's adequate. Most of the people waving the flag here have probably never given anything back to the country and whine about even paying their fair share of taxes.

Good for you, Jane Kim ... see all of the at Daly's Dive at 8pm tonight? I'm pretty sure he's guaranteed to be there Friday and Sat. evenings.

Go Giants!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 9:11 am


speak louder than words. I gave at the office. Meaning that I served honorably (unless you count that time in Tangiers) in the military and you can stick your jingoistic pledges up your kazoo. I always take my hat off and put it over my heart and stand up at ballgames and other gatherings just so I won't have to fight some redneck even drunker than me.

I've always felt that as members of the race we should give time to public service. My whole family's done that. My son and I served in the military and my daughter was in the Peace Corps. That's adequate. Most of the people waving the flag here have probably never given anything back to the country and whine about even paying their fair share of taxes.

Good for you, Jane Kim ... see all of the at Daly's Dive at 8pm tonight? I'm pretty sure he's guaranteed to be there Friday and Sat. evenings.

Go Giants!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 9:12 am

Says John Avalos in a post above;

"I have always wondered why we have to say the pledge day after day and week after week."

Because the board of supes has put that requirement into their rules. How come a supe doesn't know this?! If you don't like the board's rules, change them. You're a supe, for chrissake.

But a word of caution -

It's foolish to use up a lot energy fighting over symbols, regardless of which side you take. The more important issues are reviving the city's economy, dealing with a devastating budget crunch, and improving the daily lives of ordinary citizens in the neighborhoods.

Moreover, our local progressive sect has to deal with the issue of coming back from the edge of oblivion. Right now, they're in denial about their condition. And those who are not, can only suggest more "mantras" and "confabs," as Tommi Avicolli-Mecca has done. Yikes!

They've become so dysfunctional, we'll have to show them how to save themselves.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 10:27 am

Arthur Evans, classical man of letters, diminishing the significance of symbols?

Concrete is more important, but symbols are not for nothing.


Posted by marcos on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 10:39 am

I remember when I was a youngster in England and admiring the American flag from afar and being thankful to the US for its sacrifice and role in defeating Hitler and ending WW2. When I look at Old Glory today, I am sadly reminded of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed based on a pack of lies. For this reason, I remain seated, in protest, when the BOS pledges allegiance to the flag.

Posted by Luke Thomas on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 10:57 am

My sentiments exactly me old mate.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Jan. 15, 2011 @ 10:16 am

How childish not to pleadge to a country that has provided you with so much. Pretend socialsist with Che T-shirts who know nothing of history. Lame and disgraceful

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

Oh, I read history every day,

Was looking back on assassinations due to the Arizona shootings and found that when Franz Ferdinand was killed to start WWI that it was the second attempt on his life that day. And, his wife's. On the way to a speech someone threw a bomb through the window (open, I presume) of his vehicle and it landed on his lap and he tossed it back out and (of course) it blew up the aide's vehicle behind him. None killed, but they went to the hospital while he went on to give his speech in which he asked why they weren't able to protect him in Serbia. Then, on the way to the hospital to visit wounded staff, he and his wife were assassinated by a guy with a pistol whom, I guess, jumped on the running board of their car.

From this, students, we learn an important lesson:

Always keep the windows of your car rolled up when driving in Serbia.

Go gigantes!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

Not Serbia. He was killed by a Serb.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

Any selection from Gypsy would make a fine substitute.

Posted by Brock Keeling on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

The Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors opens every meeting with the pledge of allegiance. I just stand with my hand on my heart looking at the flag, but remain mum. I'm glad I've never had to make an issue of it because it's not important compared to the actual issues we deal with, but if I did have to make a deal of it, here's what I'd say.

I haven't said the pledge of allegiance to the flag since I defied the authorities at my high school who expected us to start every day with the pledge. Why would I start now? Its very essence violates my principle of universal love and respect: pledge allegiance to the U.S., but not to Canada? Are strangers who are U.S. citizens more important to me than strangers who are Canadian citizens? In this world today, justice is served by the abolition of national allegiances and the unity of peoples.

But if you accept (for the sake of argument) that the U.S is an amazing country that deserves allegiance because our enlightened democracy is capable of helping the whole world, what part of the pledge is acceptable?
"I pledge allegiance to the flag" - a little bit of idolatry never hurt anyone
"of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands" - OK
"one nation" - really? I have some friends who are Hawaiian independence activists. Would I pledge opposition to them to open every meeting?
"under god" - not for us atheists.
"with liberty and justice for all" - ha! pledging it don't make it so.

Saying the pledge is jingoistic. To start public meetings with the pledge insults the principle of debate and freedom that should mark our public discourse. Kudos to Supervisor Kim for preserving her words for more important statements.

Posted by Dave Snyder on Jan. 15, 2011 @ 12:13 am

Arthur my point was not the BoS. It was in general. What's the point swearing fealty to the United States of America if you got to do it over and over again?

Posted by Guest John Avalos on Jan. 15, 2011 @ 9:02 am

It would be best to just let it go and stop wasting time on it.

But sadly the time would be spent wasted on; happy meals, foreign policy, salt, deep friers, marijuana commissions, Hee Haw salutes too non profit flunkies, social justice, bornagain/progressive values etc...

Posted by matlock on Jan. 15, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

i love jane kim for this

Posted by Mark Snyder on Jan. 16, 2011 @ 11:25 am

Dear John,

Sorry you feel I have no sense of decency because I challenged a comment of yours. However, voters have every right to hold politicians accountable for their statements and behavior. That's how democracy works.

You say:

"What's the point swearing fealty to the United States of America if you got to do it over and over again?"

Ceremonies play an important part in the civic life of any people. Group affirmations have long been a part of ceremonies.

The reason ceremonies are important is that they give us a chance to affirm what we have in common and to affirm are best values. More often than not, we are engaged in activities where we attack each other or take our values for granted. Ceremonies provide some remedy for that imbalance.

The pledge of allegiance as originally written (before the later insertion of "under God" in the 1950s) affirms our commitment to our country as a democratic republic, national unity, and liberty and justice for all.

If people want to skip this part of our civic ceremonies, that's fine with me. But I'm quite surprised that you do not understand its importance, especially since you are an elected official.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 16, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

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Posted by marcos on Jan. 16, 2011 @ 3:08 pm