Yesterday I posted on making four-year-olds sing that they love something, accepting it was probably a tempest in a teacup. I also noted similar incidents may contribute to reinforcing what seems to me telling children what to think and feel.
I came across an August 2008 incident in which the Yankees and the New York Police Department were forced to pay restitution for kicking a man out of Yankee Stadium for not toeing the line on singing “God Bless America,” apparently against the law. The Yankees had to state they had no policy about fans moving during the song and pay the guy $10,000.
Campeau-Laurion, the director of Web production for a media company, had quietly watched the Aug. 26 Yankees-Red Sox game with a friend, eating a bag of peanuts and drinking two beers. He decided to use the bathroom during the seventh-inning stretch – a period when fans routinely flock to the restrooms. An NYPD officer blocked his path, indicating he could not leave his seat during “God Bless America.”
Campeau-Laurion explained that he needed to use the restroom and attempted to walk past the officer, who grabbed him by the arm before he took a step. A second officer assisted in restraining the baffled fan and forcibly marching him out of the stadium. The officers refused to ease their grip, even though Campeau-Laurion did not resist them.
“It’s a proud day for freedom to know that people can now enjoy America’s pastime at Yankee Stadium without being forced into acts of patriotism,” Campeau-Laurion said.
Added the man’s lead counsel,
“Neither the Yankees nor the NYPD can force people to engage in acts of political loyalty. … As a result of our lawsuit, fans can now go to a ballgame at Yankee Stadium knowing they will not be subjected to NYPD-enforced patriotism.”
This incident feels belligerent to me — forcing people to behave and communicate certain ideas, enforced by the state — and the sort of thing that results from behavior like the teacher’s.
There are so many song children can sing. Why have them sing songs that force them to say they love America and Israel?