The effort in adding the Pledge of Allegiance before all the meetings at the Bladen County Board of Election, in North Carolina failed after it didn’t garner enough votes. Chairwoman Louella Thompson (D) threatened to call law enforcement after a community member led the crowd in an impromptu reciting of the pledge to protest the decision.
Republican Councilman Emory White introduced the measure to have the pledge added to the agenda. While the proposal was seconded by Michael Aycock, chairwoman Louella Thompson, Patricia Sheppard, and Deborah Belle voted against it.
Arguing for the measure, White questioned why they would all agree to prayer before the meetings but shun the pledge.
“Being in the military, we honor the flag all the time in the military,” he said. “I just think it should be on the agenda. There is no way we should have a meeting without it. It’s like having a prayer. Why do we object to the Pledge of Allegiance?”
“That’s my right and I exercise it,” Thompson gave her answer.
Daine Smith, a longtime Bladen County resident, was one of the people who spoke up at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“You have an opportunity here to create a sense of unity and it’s easy to do; just add it to the agenda. If you don’t want to recite it or stand for it, you don’t have to. But the folks who do want to do that, have the opportunity to do so. And that’s not a lot to ask. That’s compromise, and that’s what we need in this country.”
Smith then stood up and led the audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Although the two Republican board members joined the crowd in honoring the flag, Thompson objected, calling the move “out of order” and threatened to have them all arrested.
“If that happens again law enforcement will be called,” Thompson said. “It is against the law to disrupt a meeting. That is going on and that is what happened today with the reciting of the pledge.”
“I don’t feel I was out of order and I don’t think anyone would be out of order to do the same thing,” said Smith. “It’s on the agenda for individuals wishing to address the board so I don’t think it’s inappropriate to say the pledge during it.”