Sunday, September 24, 2017

To Pledge or not to Pledge? That is the question...NOT.

You may have caught the story in the news over the past week or so about a 6th grade student making a decision to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance at school. And Colin Kaepernick is still fighting for his right to "take a knee" during the National Anthem. In the wake of these small acts of patriotism, it seems that everyone has something to say. POTUS does.

At a rally this weekend, the President of the United States said, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get the son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He's Fired!"

No. No I wouldn't... What I would like to see is a NFL owner or two take a knee. Now THAT would be a true show of patriotism.

I work in the public school district dealing with "Pledge-gate." And the debates are similar to the national debate about taking a knee. Ironically, I wrote about the pledge a couple of weeks ago, before this happened and before the national news media had ever heard of us.  Should kids be allowed to take a Knee?

I do not know the child involved in this pledge incident. I have no idea who the teacher is. I feel horrible for everyone involved. I wasn't going to follow up on my earlier pledge post...but then I started reading the comments on an article about the incident. And all I want to do is scream. This is a little boy. I teach sixth grade, and spend all day every day surrounded by 11-year-olds. They are just starting to formulate opinions about the world on their own. They are inquisitive and hilarious and amazing. And I am just sick about some of the things grown people have written about a little boy. I have only ventured to read the comments on one article. That was plenty for me.


And THIS? Well this sums up the ridiculousness. 

This little boy is 11-years old. He is a baby. And he is an American. You may not like it, but it's true. People post all over the internet about how "these kids" need to show some respect or "go back to their country." So let me get this straight. These adults (white adults...I should point out) want us to teach this kid and every other kid to have respect for the flag, the country and for each other. But they publicly call an 11-year-old boy names, use racial epithets, and suggest he and his family leave this country. "He deserved to be assaulted," one commenter said. "Your family should move back to Kenya," another genius wrote. I could write a book about this right now. I am embarrassed that we believe these things about our own CHILDREN. I am not going to write that book, at least not today. But I am going to write this: 


There is no debate. And no reason for us to fight over it. This decision was made for us all a very long time ago and is right here for all to see. 

And guess what...neither the little sixth grade boy nor Colin Kaepernick owe you an explanation for their decision to take a knee. That is the beauty of freedom and democracy. Their decision NOT to pledge or sing is just that...THEIR DECISION.

I have been in school all of my life. I have said the Pledge of Allegiance a million times. I honor the flag and the freedoms that it represents. I honor every veteran that fought for our freedoms. And until people fully comprehend the First Amendment and every American's right to free speech, I'll be taking a knee in solidarity with everyone that has ever been attacked for exercising their first amendment rights. Now THAT's American.

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