Sitting for the pledge: a sign of disrespect

Guest Contributor Emily Thomas shares her opinion on sitting for the pledge.

provided by Christi Lazutkin

Guest Contributor Emily Thomas shares her opinion on sitting for the pledge.

Emily Thomas, Guest Contributor

The political climate has been tense for a while. With everything that has been going on from COVID-19 to BLM to the 2020 election, America has never been more divided. There have been so many people vocalizing their opinions and attempting to make statements that are bigger than all of us. “Making a statement” has become more about following trends, rather than forming your own opinion and doing what you believe is right.

One of these is seen almost daily here on campus, and that’s the decision of some students to remain seated for the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas state pledge. It cannot be denied that the ability to sit or stand falls under the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. Countless men and women have fought and died to maintain those rights. However, it’s required by the Texas Education Code, and the amount of people who choose not to stand everyday baffles me. Why sit for the pledge to the country that lets you love who you want to love, dress how you want to dress, and say what you want to say?

A few classmates of mine sit for the pledge, and I have asked some of them why they refuse to stand and almost every one of them struggles to come up with an answer. The people who sit for the pledge want to make a statement, and most of the time they don’t even know what the statement is that they are trying to make.

In a time when so few of us do anything together outside of our own families, these 31 words are the only few seconds of the school day where we as Redhawks stand united and that’s not a bad thing. Of course the flag represents many different things to many different people. For some, it’s a sign of patriotism, for others, it’s an emblem of social injustice, but at the end of the day maybe we can put that all aside and treat the flag and the pledge as a celebration of America, good and bad. 

The anthem and pledge were made to unite us. The pledge ensures that all pledge allegiance to the U.S., and reassures veterans that their work has not gone unnoticed. It is sad to see yet another uniting facet of American culture fall victim to politicization. Every act of defiance towards this country will just divide us further and further apart. For the people reading this that do sit for the pledge of allegiance, ask yourself why, and if you have to think too hard about it you probably shouldn’t be sitting.

When I ask myself why I choose to stand at the beginning of the second period everyday when I hear the pledge come on over the speakers, the answer is clear. I stand because of the sacrifice our veterans have made, because of my freedoms, and because of the opportunities that I have been afforded by being born in this country.

In countries across the world you can be imprisoned or killed for being gay, jailed for speaking your mind, or punished for wearing clothing that is deemed revealing by your male superiors. Keep in mind Chinese authorities possess the capability to detain anyone who sings the anthem “badly”.  Before you spew your hate for America, think of all the freedoms you have been rewarded, and try to not let a few bad people ruin the image of one of the freest nations in the world for you.

I frequently wonder if students could defend themselves to the school’s veterans such as English teacher David Volkmar. Having enlisted in 1984, he served as a member of the Marine Corps until 2003. It’s completely disheartening to know that people have the audacity to sit right in front of somebody who has put their life on the line for this country. 

Take some time to reflect on the effectiveness of your “statement”. Is it worth the blatant disrespect? Remember that the pledge is for every single American. It isn’t favoring one group over the other. If you really want to make a change, stand and bring America one step closer to being united again.