‘It’s a Total Waste of Time’: New York Board Members Vote Against Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance During Meetings

The upstate New York town of New Paltz voted last week against reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at its board meetings after one of its members called the Pledge a “total waste of time.”

The debate began when board member Amy Cohen, a local business owner and former mayoral candidate, introduced a motion during a Monday meeting that the board recite the Pledge of Allegiance during its bi-monthly meetings as a show of patriotism and respect, according to the New York Post.

“This is a government building, we have a flag here,” Cohen said during the meeting, the New York Post reported. “Personally, coming in off the street to do our governance … I feel that it helps me kind of transition.”

The late afternoon sun moves behind an American flag Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, in Lawrence, Kan. The area is under an excessive heat warning. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
 (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

But not all of the board members viewed the Pledge in the same light that Cohen did. After objections were raised, Cohen’s motion to recite the Pledge of Allegiance was voted down 4-3.

“To me, it’s a total waste of time,” Vice Chair Lyle Nolan said during the board meeting. “It’s a pressure type of thing, because if you don’t stand, it looks like you’re against it and I don’t think we need that. We’re all adults. We’re all here to do a job.”

Another board member, Lagusta Yearwood, said that the Pledge was a “funny little thing.”

“I love this country, I don’t see any reason to say a pledge to it,” Yearwood said before declaring that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance “goes against the principles this country was founded on,” the Post reported.

Member Michael Zierler also voted against the motion, saying that he didn’t want the Pledge of Allegiance to create “a wedge” between the board’s members.

After the motion was shot down, many local veterans expressed their outrage and disappointment against the board members.

“It is unfortunate that members of the planning board misinterpret our nation’s Pledge as divisive rather than unifying. We can only hope that the dissenting members choose to re-evaluate their position and support the time-honored tradition that we hold so dearly,” Iraq War veteran Dietrich Orris told the Post.

Andrew Heaney, a local Republican congressional candidate, also expressed his anger and frustration with the board for their decision.

“We either have a country, or we don’t. It’s shocking that an elected official won’t take the 15 seconds required to put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” Heaney told the Post.

(H/T: Fox News Insider)

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

Front-page image via Shutterstock

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