Buttress: Not a Female Butt

Today at Blotter HQ, buried deep beneath the Catalina Channel, we received a press release via email from the office of Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach). Harman was perturbed by the decision of the Orange Coast College student trustees to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from their meetings, as was posted on this blog last week.

I personally enjoyed that post--not only was I able to mock God's sexual techniques, but I also received my first oblique death threat. But Harman wasn't enjoying much--unless he enjoys disgracefulness.

"It is disgraceful that the students at Orange Coast publicly denounced the Pledge of Allegiance," remarked Harman. "Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is one way we remember our nation's founding principles.

Americans have made innumerable sacrifices to protect and preserve our great democracy," Harman commented further. "Their decision chips away at the moral fabric that binds us together and makes this country great. It weakens what so many have fought to protect, and it attempts to undermine a pillar of our foundation."

A pillar of our foundation? The pledge has only been around since the early-to-mid 20th century and since then has undergone significant revision (in both its textual and physical expression). Not only that, but a foundation is the base of a structure. As such, it doesn't have pillars. Pillars have a foundation, sure, but not vice-versa.

The Flyingest of ButtressesAll I'm saying is, it could be argued that the pledge is less of a pillar and more of a flying buttress--an external enhancement to prop up the structure (rather than a part of the foundation or founding basis). And do we really want a state senator who uses inappropriate architectural metaphors? I think not.

Thus I found myself emailing Harman's office to ask whether they agreed that the flying buttress analogy was more appropriate than the foundation-pillar one. Kelly Garman, the senator's press secretary (all staffers' surnames must rhyme with Tom's), sent me this response:

"Your question regarding the Pledge of Allegiance is duly noted and I think it could be legitimately argued."

Literally and figuratively, that's all she wrote.


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