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LIBERTY: Rights & Tolerance | September 15, 1988


An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

Taking the focus of the Presidential campaign away from more "bread-and-butter" concerns, Vice President George Bush has decided to make an issue of The Pledge of Allegiance -- so be it.

Governor Michael Dukakis was correct in citing the legal precedent for not signing the bill that would have required the reciting of The Pledge: In a case involving a Jehovah's Witness, who -- though patriotic -- was prohibited by his religion from swearing allegiance to anyone but God, the U.S. Supreme Court did judge that such involuntary oaths are unconstitutional -- that is, illegal. The justification for their ruling should be apparent to us all: Patriotism does not come from state legislatures but, instead, from within one's own soul.

To instill such deep and abiding love of country, we citizens of the world's foremost democratic republic must have elected leaders who work unfailingly for "liberty and justice for all" -- not just for a privileged few, as has all too often been the case over the past eight years.

As governor of a state with better education, a lower crime rate, and a higher standard of living than the nation as a whole, Michael Dukakis not only says The Pledge -- he lives it.

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