My fifth-grade class had trouble saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

About a third of the class mucked things up when they got to “indivisible,” and lisped out a weird chorus of ‘f’s and ‘l’s. Some kids pledged allegiance to “the fart of the Untied Apes of Harry Carry.” And then there was me, a snot-nosed little atheist who refused to say, “God.”

Looking back on it, my fifth-grade class was a lot more competent than Associated Students Legislative Council. We got the garbage out of the way early and quickly, so we could move onto the class’ important business: eating paste and changing France’s name on the map to “Buttsylvania.” Leg Council (pronounced “ledge,” as in what council members perch under during daylight hours) has not even figured out what to do about the Pledge of Allegiance.

Last week, Off-Campus Representative Marty Doyle proposed a bill that would have made leggies open every meeting by reciting the pledge. He also listed himself on the bill as “Mr. Martin E. Doyle, IV.” The leggies revolted. While pretty much everyone agreed that America was great and all, no one felt quite up to pre-meeting jingoism.

I sympathize. The pledge is 31 words long – that’s a lot to ask. Leggies were also worried that the Pledge brings God into the affair, something that might offend non-Christians and snot-nosed atheists.

Young master Doyle said it wasn’t like that at all, just “an assertion that a nation so great as ours could not exist without some sort of divine assent.”

I guess I’ve never thought of Leg Council as walking with the Lord – stubbing His toes and pulling His beard, maybe, but not walking with Him.

Anyhow, the leggies figured they probably shouldn’t go and remind God of their existence every week. Luckily, Off-Campus Rep Dan Edgar figured out a deity-less way to back the good ol’ U.S. of A. – play the “Star-spangledBanner” before every meeting. And, as a favor to the leggies, it would be a purely instrumental version: No one would have to remember all 80 words to the national anthem. All leggies would have to do is think good thoughts about the land of the free and home of the Whopper while standing up straight.

Come to think of it, maybe it was a lot to ask. So Leg Council tabled the bill for another week.

Besides, Edgar’s bill was incomplete. It didn’t include a color guard, a cannon or any fireworks. How can leggies be expected to make proper fools of themselves without a color guard?

They can meet for four weeks without accomplishing anything so productive as paste eating – that’s how. Leggies spent four weeks squabbling with each other, voting on going to votes, trying to overrule the internal vice president on parliamentary procedure and not being nearly so creative as “Buttsylvania.”

Actually, Leg Council did pass one thing that wasn’t on internal paper shuffling. They passed a position paper asking the Isla Vista Foot Patrol to answer its phones.

Maybe if leggies pledged allegiance, the cops would have cared.

Or maybe not.

Still, opening the meeting with a good all-American tune is an okay idea. That’s at least a minute that leggies won’t spend going to a vote on going to a vote on very little at all. I just think they need something more appropriate than “The Star-spangled Banner.”

“M – I – C – K – E – Y, M – O -U – S – E …”

-Brendan Buhler