What does it mean to be an American? Is it simply the country we live in that defines us, or is it the set of morals and ideals that truly make us American? With the recent events involving civil injustice in Charlottesville and other parts of the US, many have taken their anger and distrust for the government out onto the country’s national anthem and pledge. Kneeling and sitting during the anthem and pledge may cause people to notice the issues at hand, but is it worth it?
Pledging our allegiance to the flag is not only out of loyalty, but it is also to honor those who have given their lives to protect and defend our country. People have the right to protest what they wish, but that does not mean it is right to sit or kneel instead of honoring those who have given their lives for us to enjoy unalienable rights and luxuries some countries can only dream of.
It is not right to use this practice of kneeling to get people to think about certain issues. Why not bring these issues into focus more directly? Of course, Kaepernick has donated a whole lot of money to charitable organizations, but does that justify disrespecting our country in the process? His actions infuriate some citizens who have pledged their lives to defending this great nation. And instead of standing tall and proud for one’s country, people are choosing to kneel and sit: the exact opposite of what America stands for.
But why is it important to support our country’s government even if they are not fixing some of the problems we deem important? The reason is simple: the people are the government. We live in a republic, which means the citizens have a say on what happens and can vote on the decisions that are made. It seems that people are beginning to become angered by the lack of change their votes have on the outcome of decisions made by the government. This frustration is understandable. The founding fathers’ main goal when creating our government system was to prevent leaders from easily becoming too powerful. This vision is why it is difficult to pass laws and make changes in representative government.
Issues like police brutality, racial injustice, and simple political opinions are on students’ minds at Cedar Shoals as well. Many students do not stand for the pledge and anthem because of support for their own issues or those at the national scale. Judging from the amount of people not standing in classrooms and during the Pledge of Allegiance, students are losing respect for our country. Unlike others, they don’t seem to be doing anything about their issues. It is extremely disappointing to see this happening.
The people who lack support for our flag and anthem do not bother me. It’s more the realization that people are becoming almost spoiled and forgetting that not everything is free, especially freedom.