South Hills High School

Opinion: Why I sat down during the Pledge of Allegiance

The 2017 year has been a stage for unacceptable racism, Charlottesville, Va. being a clear example, that has been instigated by Donald Trump’s inexplicable actions. With the new rise of what Newsweek calls “America’s Boy King,” many find their hatred towards minorities justifiable and hide behind Trump, sticking their tongues out at anyone who looks different from them.

Thus, today’s USA has taken a back-to-the-past trip to the 1950’s, regressing at the hands of this presidency. Those who stand beside me feel fearful of the threats being thrown at them or from being told that this is not where they belong. What happened to the equality given to all under the American flag? What happened to the ideals that this country was built upon?

This country shouldn’t be subjected to white supremacy, because it was made for diversity. We are ONE. All races, religions, orientations, genders, and classes are born as human beings and shouldn’t be divided. So, I will do anything to ensure the rights of my peers and stand (or sit) by their side to silently voice that I am with them.

When my class was asked to do the Pledge of Allegiance, I sat. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one, but I was still astonished by the fact that only TWO people had sat down. I knew that there were students in that class who did not feel comfortable reciting the pledge. Why weren’t the people who didn’t believe in God sitting? They seemed to approve saying “under God” as if the lack of acknowledgement of different religions, and separation of church and state wasn’t a suspicion to them or insult to their beliefs.

It was not an act of random teenage rebellion to radiate my angst and then decide not to stand the next day. It was not an impulse decision that became a last-minute effort to defy authority and government.

Standing felt wrong and against everything that I stood for, literally. I wasn’t going to follow this conformity just based on social norms, and by doing so I would be lying to myself. I don’t shame those who stand, but no one has to feel that they have to shy away from what feels right in their heart.

At this time, our country is dissolving and avoiding the issues that need to be addressed. Trump has ignored the responsibilities that come with being president and is setting a perception that immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and more are inferior to other citizens.

Only hoping for change sets up a path for disappointment once it is clear that nothing is getting resolved. Instead, actions, even small ones, are powerful enough to create messages that speak volumes for those who don’t have a voice.

Sitting down meant that I wasn’t going to condone the treatment of individuals who don’t fit the standards of people like Trump. I do not tolerate the black and white mentality that Trump has instilled in this country.

There is hardly any representation for all groups, and I firmly believe that sitting calls for a better America, one that takes into account the struggles of all residents. Future generations shouldn’t have to live under the rule that being “different” is not allowed. Giving respect is common sense, so why is this such a problem? Why is it that in the “land of the free” there are still conflicts to recognize everyone’s basic human rights?

5 Comments

  • Reply Eddie Rojas August 29, 2017 at 11:08 am

    So proud that you have the courage and strength to stand up for your ideals. It’s a difficult thing to do.

    Like

  • Reply unclesmrgol August 29, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I always stand proudly when our Anthem is played. My forefathers fought to free slaves, and then others died in WWII to free the world from fascism. All of them fought under the Flag, and all of them stood proudly for the Anthem as I do. If you feel that standing isn’t right, then don’t, because you live in a country where it isn’t obligatory — but don’t expect others in private business to understand your position — because many of them won’t. The true test of your feelings will come at the next job interview when your employers do due diligence and pull up this article. You might be hired, but they have every right to judge your character as defective by their standards and to not hire. Of course, you probably don’t want to work for a patriotic person anyway, so maybe this is a good thing.

    Like

    • Reply Eddie August 30, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I completely disagree with your assessment @UNCLESMRGOL. Fascism is exactly what this article speaks against and champions for equality, exactly what your forefathers fought for. The founding fathers of this country also wrote the constitution which specifically talks about the separation of church and state. Something the Pledge of Allegiance completely disregards. I believe future employers will read this article and commend Adalis on her courage to stand up for what is right. Of course, there will always be people (like you), who will judge a persons character as “defective”, simply because their ideals aren’t exactly like yours. But that is exactly what this article states as the problem. A TRUE patriotic person will read this article and champion the freedom that was expressed, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s important. That we stand against tyrannical ideas of government (like the current administration), stand against the hatred towards minority groups or people of color, and that we exercise those rights accordingly and in a civilized manner (which this young girl did).

      Like

  • Reply Eddie August 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I completely disagree with your assessment @UNCLESMRGOL. Fascism is exactly what this article speaks against and champions for equality, exactly what your forefathers fought for. The founding fathers of this country also wrote the constitution which specifically talks about the separation of church and state. Something the Pledge of Allegiance completely disregards. I believe future employers will read this article and commend Adalis on her courage to stand up for what is right. Of course, there will always be people (like you), who will judge a persons character as “defective”, simply because their ideals aren’t exactly like yours. But that is exactly what this article states as the problem. A TRUE patriotic person will read this article and champion the freedom that was expressed, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s important. That we stand against tyrannical ideas of government (like the current administration), stand against the hatred towards minority groups or people of color, and that we exercise those rights accordingly and in a civilized manner (which this young girl did).

    Like

  • Reply Nicholas M Paschall September 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Standing for a symbol is a great gesture, so long as you agree with the symbol and everything it holds to it. Right now, between the intense racist discourse going on and some of the religious arguments floating about, I like to think I understand why you choose to sit through the pledge. I never stood for it because I didn’t think there was equality between the masses and because I didn’t support the idea of someone’s theological idea being held aloft for all to venerate.

    For people saying that one day you’ll be interviewed and “patriotic” employers may not hire you, then it is their loss. This is a land of opportunity thanks to brave men and women who have fought on and off the battlefield to make sure we have a semblance of equality. Does that mean everything is equal? Of course not. But we’re working on it, and the cowards who call you unpatriotic and pound their chests claiming their ancestors fought for this country, or that their relatives fought in some war… well, that’s nice. They served, but that doesn’t mean we owe them anything. I tip my hat for a job well done to any veteran of World War II, but conflicts after that are so muddied with politics that you could debate for hours on whether on not freedom was ever at stake.

    Just keep this in mind: I remember when 9/11 occurred, and the freedoms we had the day that disastrous attack took place. We have fewer freedoms now than we do now, with more rulings and laws that are having to be struck down one by one. You do what you feel is right, so long as you aren’t physically hurting anyone else or violating their rights in some way, then you look at your choices and decide on your own merits what you think is correct.

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