For those of us who don’t have the blue checkmark — and even for some of us who do — there’s a duality to social media.
On one hand, we love cultural rubbernecking. We love the blunders, the mishandled controversies, the viral disasters.
On the other hand, we don’t want to be the subject of one of them. It’s a version of the old dream where you show up at school naked — except it’s not school, it’s the whole internet, and it’s not a dream.
So let me say that I feel sympathy for Kevin de León, a Los Angeles city councillor, Democrat, gun-grabber and now viral superstar. You’re naked in front of the world, Mr. de León and, well, it’s not a good look.
On the other hand, however, you got there because you flubbed the Pledge of Allegiance, a piece of work tattooed on the heart of every schoolchild in the country.
De León has a blue checkmark verified Twitter account with a significant following, although his name recognition doesn’t export that well outside of California. He was, for four years, the president pro tempore of the California state Senate. In that position, he managed to go bad-viral with a gun-control rant about “ghost guns with .30-caliber clips.” He also challenged Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her seat in 2018; he came in second in a jungle primary and lost the general election 54 percent to 46 percent. We’d all forgotten about him outside of the Golden State, however.
And then on Tuesday, he forgot the Pledge of Allegiance when asked to say it while Zooming into a City Council meeting.
It started off well enough. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.”
Then the pause. “Under-visible,” he continued. Another pause, this one shorter.
“Uh. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” He stopped again there and said something under his breath that sounded like, “Oh boy.” Which is exactly what one would say in a situation like this, I suppose, but we all hope we wouldn’t be there. There was also what sounded a bit like a keyboard clacking. I’m assuming he was not trying to find out the lyrics to “Margaritaville.”
“For which it stands,” de León continued, albeit haltingly. “One nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Pledge of Allegiance fail at today’s L.A. city council meeting… pic.twitter.com/cKdcB7HpEp
— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) January 26, 2021
Nailed the landing. Good work.
No word on who said “oof” at the end of the clip, but that’s pretty much all of us.
De León was Twitter’s kickball on Tuesday, needless to say.
L.A. city councilman Kevin de Leon with a cringe inducing butchering of the Pledge of Allegiance. Yikes. https://t.co/IC3p8sYEOC
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) January 26, 2021
This man, Kevin de Leon, wanted to be a US Senator https://t.co/7Z1IdgjRfy
— Sherman McCoy (@wasphyxiation) January 27, 2021
In which Kevin de Leon can’t quite remember the pledge of allegiance https://t.co/XqEzPJ1SdX
— Hillel Aron (@hillelaron) January 26, 2021
In related news. Here is a then-4 year old. pic.twitter.com/oDp3dSk7VY
— Joe Patterson (@Patterdude) January 26, 2021
I’ve got a kindergartener going 4 half-days a week who knows the pledge, likes saying the pledge, and knows how to work Zoom. If the LA folks need someone to lead them in saying it, they can give us a yell. 😉
— Dan (@Birch_LL) January 27, 2021
De León made light of it with a tweet of his own about his version of the Pledge of Allegiance — and he used it as a fundraising opportunity, because of course.
“Embarrassing, am I right?” de León tweeted Tuesday evening.
“If you or someone you know got a good laugh out of my own ‘unique’ version of the pledge of allegiance, consider donating a few $$ to [No Us Without You LA]. They’re doing amazing work in CD 14 to provide food security for undocumented immigrants.”
Embarrassing, am I right? If you or someone you know got a good laugh out of my own “unique” version of the pledge of allegiance, consider donating a few $$ to https://t.co/Ig5Qrkr4i2. They’re doing amazing work in CD 14 to provide food security for undocumented immigrants. pic.twitter.com/XBpc6V2fTQ
— Kevin de Leόn (@kdeleon) January 27, 2021
If only Joe Biden had employed this tactic during the presidential campaign. Imagine the tweets: “Embarrassing, am I right? Who says stuff like ‘poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids’ and expects to be elected president? If you got a laugh out of this latest instance of campaign trail self-immolation, consider donating money to Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracism Center, which makes sure those white kids know how privileged they are.”
It’s unclear whether de León wants to run for senator again. Alex Padilla, Vice President Kamala Harris’ appointed successor in the Senate, is up for election in 2022, and Dianne Feinstein almost certainly won’t run again in 2024, given her age.
If he still has the ambition to jump to the big leagues, however, here’s a tip: Learn the Pledge of Allegiance.
Yes, one feels for him that he’s the subject of so much rubbernecking — but if he’d learned a pledge so easy a 4-year-old can do it, he would have precluded all this trouble.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.