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Letter to the editor: On sitting for the pledge

Every+classroom+at+Palatine+High+School+has+an+American+flag+for+the+pledge.
Every classroom at Palatine High School has an American flag for the pledge.

Every classroom at Palatine High School has an American flag for the pledge.

Gary Guzman

Gary Guzman

Every classroom at Palatine High School has an American flag for the pledge.

Aidan Busch, Contributor

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I have noticed over the past several months that many of my classmates have made the decision to sit during the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem.

It is their right to do so, and it is not my intention in writing this letter to attempt to take away or degrade this right.

However, I do wish to perhaps add some color to the conversation about this behavior.

I understand that there are reasons my peers choose to sit.

Many of them believe that there is still a level of inequality between different demographics in our society: whites and blacks, males and female, rich and poor, etc.

I agree with them regarding the notion that despite the fact our nation has come a long way in race and gender relations, we can absolutely do better when it comes to equality. No question about it.

Their response, however, creates far more problems than it solves.

The goal to pledge-sitting, as I call it, is to raise awareness of these causes and express displeasure with the way the United States has responded, both as a government and as a people.

We saw this most famously with Colin Kaepernick, a professional football player, who kneeled for the National Anthem. He told NFL.com that he did this because he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

As I think everyone has figured out by this point, Mr. Kaepernick’s actions have done more to sow division in our nation than call any kind of meaningful attention to racial inequality.”

As I think everyone has figured out by this point, Mr. Kaepernick’s actions have done more to sow division in our nation than call any kind of meaningful attention to racial inequality.

When we get down to what pledge-sitting or anthem-sitting actually means and accomplishes, it suddenly becomes less “heroic” and instead sillier. Let me explain why.

The pledge of allegiance, for those perhaps unfamiliar with its exact wording, is as follows:

“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.”

I think that some of my peers believe that when one stands, places their hand over their heart, and recites the words above, it is an expression of loyalty to a specific government administration or the government itself as a whole.

This could not be further from the truth. It is a pledge of allegiance to a symbol of American ideals and principles, namely, that of a republic—“and to the republic for which it stands.”

The definition of a republic is a system of government in which supreme power is held by the people.

When one is pledging allegiance or standing for the national anthem, it is a symbol of respect to our fellow citizens. It is a commitment to our neighbor, to pursue a common cause of liberty and justice.

I do not deny that we can do better to pursue full liberty and justice for all people.

However, by refusing to stand and demonstrate your commitment to this cause, objectors to the pledge of allegiance are turning their back on the very people that they are trying to call attention to.

One nation, under God, Indivisible.

Pledge and anthem sitting only sows further division, in a time when we could all use a little community. The pledge of allegiance is not a fascist covenant, no matter how cynically you look at it.

It can mean as much or as little as you choose, and I choose to think of it as a commitment to democracy and the students standing next to me.

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Palatine High School's student news site.
Letter to the editor: On sitting for the pledge