“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
At the start of every school day, students across America stand in unison and recite words that were intended to hold deep meaning and purpose. The words mindlessly roll off of the student’s tongues and the pledge gets lost as the worries of the day takeover.
The reason we say these words as often as we do is to prevent our nation from mirroring hatred, disrespect, and chaos. So, this begs the question, how did we get here?
Did we forget we truly are one nation and in that alone we share the same community? Did we forget that the word indivisible means we can not be divided?
Perhaps if we re-evaluated the words, our nation could be reminded about how our country was built to function. The pledge ends with for all. Not just for Democrats or only for Republicans, but justice for all.
Today, it is easy to segregate people who disagree. They become the “other” belief to you. They hold the “wrong” belief according to you and therefore, not deserving of respect.
Disrespect is a much stronger word than respect. It means ignoring beliefs or viewpoints entirely — not having the courtesy to listen to someone’s viewpoint or acknowledge its existence.
As party members disregard opposing opinions with harsh social media posts, aggressive bumper stickers, and the splitting up of families after irreconcilable arguments, political respect has been neglected.
The future generation of voters are being raised in a climate where politics are not a casual subject. Political parties are polarized, and unwilling to cross the aisle to work in unison. One party’s loss is another’s victory.
People are afraid that by respecting principles of another group, they are agreeing or saying the other person’s beliefs are more correct than their own. In response, they adamantly want to make their views clear and then, more times then not, the discussion turns disrespectful. Both sides feel pressure to demean or disprove the thoughts of those who disagree.
The key to bridging America’s unprecedented level of political division is respect. In one form, it simply means “observation” and “acknowledgement.” By showing respect, you are not necessarily agreeing with or condoning someone else’s viewpoint, belief, or action. You are observing it, hearing it, and acknowledging that it exists.
Let us be the change we wish to see in the world. We should peacefully love and respect the country we live in and our right to believe what we want, despite how against it another may feel. It is not our job to get everyone on board with our ideals, but as citizens of the United States of America, it is our responsibility to respect one another.