Patriotism Comes in More Than One Form


Reagan Reed, Staff Writer

Despite its purpose only being to recognize Spanish heritage week, the second reading of the pledge this week in Spanish has started a conversation about having to stand for the pledge at all. Many students are not wanting to stand through the second pledge because they feel it’s gratuitous, and to a lot of kids, it’s a chore enough already to stand through one. I realize that it may just be out of pure laziness for some kids, but others really do wonder why we stand for the pledge each and every day. 

There’s always the argument for the fact that our troops and our service government employees work extremely hard for us to have the right to stand and salute the pledge every morning, which is 100% true. Some might say it’s because we have more respect for the people who risk their lives for our country, or that we have an increased sense of loyalty and patriotism to our nation. It makes us proud every single morning to stand up and take a few moments to think of the sacrifices made by some, and the freedoms we are blessed with because of those sacrifices.

On the other hand, by that same logic, if we have been given these amazing liberties and rights, doesn’t that give us the right to exercise them by not standing for the pledge, and doing so without being attacked? If someone were to decide to not stand for the pledge, and their reason for this action was to make a point about their right to not stand if they don’t want to, that would not be unpatriotic. And technically, you could consider that just as patriotic as actually standing for the pledge, since they’re trying to prove a point about how free this country is.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I have heard many students bring up the fact that no other free country in the world practices this procedure, and that from an outsider’s perspective this is a very strange occurrence to witness. So, if no other country with the same rights as ours does anything remotely similar to this, then why do we? The pledge wasn’t even made by a government official, it was something published in a children’s magazine, that was for some reason immediately adopted into our everyday routine around the beginning of the 20th century. This information negates the whole patriotic feel behind the pledge, because it takes away the hugeness of how we see it, and makes you question why we even use it so much.

This is very similar to the debate that took the country by storm a couple of years ago when Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem as a form of protest against police brutality. He was deciding to do a form of nonviolent protest against an injustice that was happening in this country, which is exactly what our protected rights are intended to allow us to do. The government is set up for citizens to be able to publicly and peacefully voice their opinion, and they’ve been doing it for centuries and will continue to do so. During the civil rights movement, protests that were very parallel to Colin Kaepernick’s protest against the mistreatment of African Americans happened all the time. Of course, at the time they were interpreted negatively by the general public, but now looking back at history we see that without those few decades of pressure against the government and people taking grand gestures against the injustices, no change would’ve happened. Who knows, maybe these waves of small protest could lead to something huge being improved in our government, we can never know for sure.

The point I’m making with all of that information is sometimes doing something that goes against the typical patriotic move is not intended to be disrespectful to the country, or those defending it. Maybe it is a statement against something that is inherently wrong in the system of the country we love. So, when a student decides not to stand for the pledge, if they are doing so to forward a movement they care about then they should be allowed to do so without the hate of others. However, if it out of sheer apathy for having to get out of their chair for 30 seconds, and they don’t really have an opinion, either way, then they should get up and think about in those moments what rights they are entitled to and how they got them.