Oh, say can you see … No

The idea of playing the national anthem and state song, “Alaska’s Flag,” monthly in Anchorage schools seemed so timely, so cogent, so right, but not everybody agreed.

The district’s seven-member school board inexplicably rejected the proposal 3-4 last night. It had been offered by board member Dave Donley as a way to instill patriotic principles in students and build unity in Anchorage’s schools.

Board members Margo Bellamy, Alisha Hilde, Deena Mitchell and board President Starr Marsett were the “no” votes. Board members Donley, Andy Holleman and Elisa Vakalis voted in favor.

The district does mandate a daily Pledge of Allegiance, but has no policy about the national anthem and state song, although they on occasion are played at school events in the district.

Donley’s proposal would have had the songs played during the first week of school and monthly after that. It is nothing short of surprising to us that anybody would even think to object to a regular playing of the songs. But we are surprised almost daily.

“There’s not a chance I could vote for something like this,” board member Alisha Hilde said before casting a “no” vote. “It does not advance student learning, we’re not going to help kids get jobs or go to college, this is one little thing.”

It would seem to us that hearing the Star Spangled Banner and the Alaska Flag song on a monthly basis in district schools would not be such an imposition on the district or a burden on its administrators and teachers. Doing so would ensure students have the chance to learn the words to each song and perhaps come to feel, as those of us who sometimes tear up at hearing them, a connection each and every time they are played. They tell us despite our differences, we are Americans. We are Alaskans. We belong to something larger, something we are proud of.

Why the majority of the board members think regularly playing the songs is a waste of time or a distraction is something they can explain to voters in the next election, but frankly their reasons against wanting to play them – including not wanting to “codify” a schedule of the songs or mandating students “rotely” listen to them – seem cockamamie to us.

In a time when the United States all too often is cast as the bad guy, it would be good for our youngsters to be reminded on a regular basis this nation serves as a beacon of hope for most of the world; that people so desperately want to be here that they risk their lives to breathe our air; and, that they are part of America’s greatness.

What the board did calls to mind all the very good reasons – accountability among them – to change Anchorage School Board elections from at-large to a district system.

There is nothing like having to explain yourself to clear up muddled thinking. Perhaps they could begin at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery by explaining to the headstones why the songs are an imposition.

15 Responses to Oh, say can you see … No

  1. Dave Maxwell September 18, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I am outraged at the communist mind set in the leadership of our schools. I’m offended at the decisions of the school board.
    Oh and as a reward for your communistic decisions, let’s go ahead and give a raise to your fellow strikers on the peninsula!

    And btw spell check would be helpful for your editor
    Donkey’s proposal
    Forth Richordson

    Dave Maxwell

    • Editor September 18, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Darned computers! Fixed. And thanks.

  2. Donald Drumpf September 18, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Maybe they don’t feel like grouping all of the children together in one place to avoid an active shooters playground while practical gun laws remain stagnant in congress – Thanks GOP. You really want to tell the our children and the nations of the world that America is righteous, that America is a beacon of hope? Then lets stop tarnishing it with the acts of this fascist president. Until then, lets show them the truth. A large number of Americans attempted to create something beautiful, peaceful, and prosperous. Then a minority focused on keeping everyone out to enjoy the spoils for themselves and degraded entire races based on the color of their skin.

    • Fred Flintstone September 18, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      “lets show them the truth. A large number of Americans attempted to create something beautiful, peaceful, and prosperous. Then a minority focused on keeping everyone out to enjoy the spoils for themselves and degraded entire races based on the color of their skin.”

      That succinctly describes the founding of our great nation, then the democrats’ fight to keep black people in the chains of slavery while conservatives fought to free them. Fascist leadership indeed.

      It’s time to let that sordid past lie, and attempt to regain that which we have in common. E Pluribus Unum. Being American is a thing to be proud of.

  3. Jim Schradle September 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    I wonder if Alisha Hilde thinks her school district is advancing student learning, helping them get jobs or go to college now?

  4. in business and 4 kids September 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Money and patriotism are two difference makers that the polls will hopefully reveal next go-round

  5. R-Dubya September 19, 2019 at 12:38 am

    Well, everyone can be … outraged, dismayed, disgusted, ashamed, mad, upset, or whatever. The bottom line is that until ‘we’ get a majority of conservatives to the election polls to elect conservative school board members, this slide into the morass of degradation of liberal progressiveness will only continue onward, un-contested and without checks and balances.

  6. Donald Drumpf September 19, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Fred Flinstone, are you kidding me!?!?! Pick up a book. The Federalists would be considered today’s democrats, preferring larger government oversight, aristocrat, and northern industrialist interests. The Democrats were the conservatives, named that way to strategically appeal to the people and common man. They preferred states rights over federal, oh, and that other thing, maintaining black as slaves because they deemed them to be an inferior race. Later, they’d go on to block black students from entering the University of Alabama to register for school. These are facts, not speculation or propaganda. Someone intelligent enough to recite Latin should know better.

    Before we go criticizing liberal progressiveness, lets remember that those principles and values helped aid civil rights in this country – for minority races and different genders Fred, helped advance the knowledge of global warming, The 40 hour work week, voting rights, vacation time, child labor laws, NASA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, etc, etc, etc. So I get it, Darwinism directly conflicts with progressive ideals. But why would you want to live in a world that was completely cutthroat. Wouldn’t you rather raise humanity up as a unified race rather than tear the person in front of you down the ladder? Darwinism has it’s place and is a major reason America was able to sustain such levels so quickly. But unchecked, it will fail, just like it did by causing the great depression.

  7. John London September 19, 2019 at 10:11 am

    IT is soooofunny to hear some Wib Socialist tell us how racist we are when not only have they not read books like “Out of Africa” (not the Hollywood liberal movie version) but most likely have not spend much time in 3rd world countries of color, or had people of color in their family. If they did spend much time there they would realize that indeed there is more so called racism in these countries of color among citizens of color than in the good ol’ USA. More Social stratification, more desire of a lighter shade.

    These haters of America use race just like the Communist Russian Bolsheviks of old used ethnicity to divide Russia to get power. The working people there would not fall for the ruse of Marxism and the lies of Marxist, so another scapegoat was invented, Ethnicity. For the modern leftist in the West and America, the scapegoat is Race.

    The old changes brought by the left in America are encoded in our culture yes, but the democrats of those times would laugh and be disgusted by the lunacy of the left in America today.

    “Happiness is a Communist headed south, with a Socialist and Liberal under each arm”.

  8. John London September 19, 2019 at 10:36 am

    South Africa had the potential to serve as a great example of the cause of human equality winning out over prejudice and political injustice. Unfortunately, the far-left seized the opportunity to institute their policies of perpetual poverty, violence and race hatred. The failure of South Africa is the failure of the world to acknowledge this reality. Where it might have been a model for other nations, it instead stands as a dire warning – while the toxic seeds of leftist politics grow elsewhere, including in our own backyard.
    -The Ongoing Tragedy of Post Apartheid of South Africa

  9. Olivia Carstairs September 19, 2019 at 10:47 am

    OK, Mr. Drumpf, now it’s time you were schooled, as it were, in American politics of the south. It was the Southern Democrats who were opposed, and sometimes violently so to integration.
    Learn more about: Lester Maddox, Governor of Georgia, who stood in front of his restaurant with a pickaxe to stop black from entering. He closed his establishment rather than comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. How about George Wallace (D) Governor of Alabama, Ross Barnett (D) Governor of Mississippi, Theodore Bilbo (D) Governor of Mississippi and member of the KKK, James Eastland (D) Senator from Mississippi, Senator Herman Talmadge (D) Georgia and Senator Robert Byrd (D) Senator from West Virginia and Exaulted Cyclops of the KKK. I could also throw in Bull Connor, Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham, but that might be too much.

    I lived this history did you?

  10. Will Gay September 19, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Any comments by a finger wagging liberal hiding behind a pseudonym should be disregarded.

  11. Donald Drumpf September 19, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    So, in a response to me rightfully pointing conservative and liberal political parties in in the late 18th Century, I’m getting “other nations are racist too, and more so, so America is not that bad”, “Liberals are using racism to turn America into a communist Nation, equality for all will backfire”, and “Democrats had racists too in the south, here’s a list of them”. John, not even acknowledging whatever point you were trying to make. Miss me on all of that. Olivia, I did not live this history. I read about it, wrote about it, listened to audible books and podcasts about it. Was lectured about it in high school and college. And even so, if I wanted a list of terrible human beings, I’m sure I could google it, it looks like you did that same thing at nationalreview.com. If you want to find out which Republican aligned VIPS were racist, just change one word in your search bar. The original point was to just teach our children the truth. We have a wonderful country. Its Successful and prosperous, but has it’s warts. A song isn’t going to do any of that. Only reason we went history mode is because someone above was attempting a revisionist moment.
    Progressive values led the way towards equality in this country against people who tried to keep basic human rights away from African-Americans, no one can take that away.

  12. Camad September 19, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    This left shift in our community, our culture is enraging me. Little by little we watch it erode and I am clueless on how to turn it around. I know that leaves me open to jabs about being totally clueless but I’m not. I didn’t vote to legalize pot and now am confronted by it daily. My parents were right in that it is a gateway drug to other things. You cannot convince me that this current onslaught of awfulness wasn’t brought on by that legalization and liberalization of our society. Booze was bad but this is insane. I have no say in what or how my kids are taught but am seriously afraid for their futures. And now we are going to slowly chip away at the basis of our citizenship- patriotism. If you’re worried about losing your rights as an American, you’re watching as it happens. Shaking my head in dismay.

  13. Olivia Carstairs September 20, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Oh, Mr. Drumpf. I was there. I saw. I heard. I smelled and tasted the anger. I neither need lectures nor the internet for this subject. I doubt you can say the same.


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