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By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — Winter Garden Mayor John Rees ordered a man to leave the city commission meeting Thursday night because he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I just said, ‘Either stand or go in the hallway.’ He wouldn’t,” said Rees, 65, who was elected to a third, three-year term in March. “It wasn’t premeditated. I just reacted. It hit me. I said it. I gave him an option. … Life will go on.”

Rees said he considered the man’s refusal to stand for the invocation — a ceremonial prayer that opens the city’s public meetings — and the Pledge of Allegiance to be disrespectful. “I did not make him stand for the prayer,” Rees said. “But the Pledge? Even school kids stand. So I told him, ‘You have two choices: You can stand or go outside.’ ”

Police Chief George A. Brennan then approached the man and asked, “What are you going to do?”

The man then got up and left. He was not arrested.

Rees said he did not know the man.

Consisting of 31 words, the 122-year-old pledge has been the subject of debate and legal battles for years, including a notable one in Florida that led a federal appeals court to rule that it was unconstitutional to force students to recite — or even stand “at attention” — for the pledge.

The Florida case involved an 11th-grader at a school in Palm Beach County whose parents sued in 2005 after the teen was punished and ridiculed by his teacher for refusing to stand while his classmates recited the pledge.

Leslie Postal contributed to this report.

Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

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Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A true blue wave in November would not only include former Vice President Joe Biden defeating President Donald Trump, but Democrats retaking the U.S. Senate, expanding their majority in the House of Representatives, and winning victories in state races. None of that is guaranteed to happen, but according to an article by Elena Schneider, James Arkin and Ally Mutnick in Politico, some Republican activists are worried that when it comes to U.S. Senate races and online fundraising, the GOP is falling short.

"The money guarantees Democrats nothing heading into November 2020," Schneider, Arkin and Mutnick explain. "But with President Donald Trump's poll numbers sagging and more GOP-held Senate races looking competitive, the intensity of Democrats' online fundraising is close to erasing the financial advantage incumbent senators usually enjoy. That's making it harder to bend their campaigns away from the national trend lines — and helping Democrats' odds of flipping the Senate."

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