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?