So, during the last school-board meeting for Pagosa Springs schools (September 17, 2021), a situation came up that turned out to be a topic of discussion for the community – which has consistently been silenced by Pagosa Springs, CO social-media pages (thereby, silencing local communication about a topic that should be discussed).
I positioned my phone (to record the meeting) in the view of the entire school-board. Within that frame, Bill Hudson, of the Pagosa Daily Post, was in the front row, and next to my camera.
Bill was asked by the School Board president Bruce Dryburgh if he’d like to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance. Bill Hudson – within his God-given/Natural/Constitutional Rights – politely declined to lead stating ‘Sorry, I can’t’; then someone else took the lead and we all stood to practice the Pledge of Allegiance.
During the pledge, my camera caught Bill standing with his arms around his stomach, one hand grabbing the forearm of the other while everyone else stood with their hands by their hearts reciting the pledge.
It was an image that captured the feelings of most people who’ve seen it – positive, neutral and negative.
SIDE NOTE: When uploading videos to YouTube, their algorithm goes through every uploaded video, frame-by-frame, and (attempts to) select the best possible thumbnail to represent your video. In this instance, YouTube chose the video of Bill and everyone during the Pledge of Allegiance, and I left it as-is.
I’ve posted all the local public meetings I’ve been to the last couple of months to the internet in the hopes that the community gets a chance to see what decisions are being made, and to possibly take part in becoming active participants. This video highlighted some important things in our efforts to curb students wearing masks on buses, and instead the public focused on Bill’s stance.
I am fine with his stance – it’s his right.
What I’m NOT fine with is how multiple local Pagosa Springs, CO social media page admins are censoring the discussion. Bill can have opinions about our stances regarding the Constitution, our Rights, masks, vaccines, etc. (and those are freely shared on local Pagosa Springs, CO social media pages without issue), yet we can’t discuss the reporter? I am fine with Bill publishing his personal opinions of us. There’s no reason for it to not operate in the reverse for us to do the same.
In the last couple of months, I’ve read articles of Bill defaming concerned locals in the community regarding their stances on the aforenoted various topics. His opinion about our stances are published throughout the community; making way for a one-sided conversation when ours are consistently removed and blocked.
That’s where I decided to republish the 56-second video to YouTube solely of Bill not standing for the flag-salute – on my platforms, on my websites, and on my personal pages.
This isn’t about my opinion of Bill’s stance – some of my closest friends will NOT stand for the pledge, and will NOT favor (what they consider) idolization for something/someone/idea/etc. they do not fully gel with, and I respect their position since I have never walked in their shoes to understand their reasoning, but understand their freedom of choice with that decision. This is about having a public discussion NOT be censored, and that is all.
I hate censorship. Bill willfully – in a public meeting, and on-camera without issue – refused to stand with his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance and declined to lead when asked. That’s his right. I respect it. I also respect people being able to take that footage from a public community meeting and express THEIR views on that as well.
We live in a world where some people want to deny us the freedom to choose to get jabbed and/or wear a mask for ‘the betterment of all’, while most of those same individuals state that someone’s personal conviction to not recite the Pledge of Allegiance is a personal decision. The irony…
…and the mental gymnastics of it all.