It appears that the Pledge of Allegiance at South Portland High School and related editorial comments have generated much heat and not much light.

At least this has given us something more compelling to discuss than the apparent disconnect between global warming and record amounts of snow with attendant cold temperatures!

At the outset, there are some important points.

 First, a pledge should be short, clear and consistent in language with the oath of citizenship. By definition, it should not be “optional” to any citizen.

 Second, it should be considered equivalent to the national anthem and sworn oaths of allegiance, and it is appropriate at all public assemblies where the flag is honored and displayed. This should include daily school ceremonies. This is useful redundancy!

 The statement “under God” was introduced in 1950, possibly reflecting the perceived threat of worldwide communism, emphasized by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and others. Today, the threat of radical Islam is possibly of even greater concern. These concerns could be addressed by adding the words “God bless America” or “in God we trust” after the pledge, as many leaders do.

 Most importantly, however, the right to vote should be limited to those who have sworn the oath of allegiance and the pledge. All citizens should be instructed and examined with the same examination as immigrants before they are granted the right and privilege of voting. Since students have been reciting the pledge, they should be able to pass the test and qualify!

Harry W. Kinsley Jr.