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’ve recited those words countless times. But…with liberty and justice for all…have I truly listened to the words?
…with liberty and justice for all.
Our nation hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. Everyone does not share the same liberty and justice. These rights vary by race, religion, wealth, sexual orientation, and many other factors out of an individual’s control.
Don’t give me sorry excuses about individuals in some third world country being worse than us. The bar should not be so low. We are the greatest country in the world; or at least we used to be. No longer the world leader in individual rights, we need to be reminded of our deficiencies. Those reminders often come in the form of protests.
Americans have a long history of protesting. In fact our country was founded on the backs of colonists protesting against British rule. Protesting is as American as apple pie.
People say that protesting the flag and anthem has gone too far. Isn’t that an irreverent argument though? The Sons of Liberty weren’t protesting tea and they weren’t trying to insult importers as they threw product into Boston Harbor. Rosa Parks was’t protesting public transportation and she wan’t trying to insult bus drivers. Martin Luther King didn’t march on Washington because he hated the city and he wan’t trying to insult it’s residents.
Kneeling during the anthem isn’t a protest of the American Flag nor of the anthem. It’s not meant to insult the military or anyone else. It’s a reminder that not everyone receives the same liberty and justice.
Many people have already tuned me out because they don’t believe Americans have unequal rights. Ignorance and white privileged allow us to put our heads in the sand, but that’s an argument for another day.
If you waive the flag, stand for the anthem, and recite the pledge, but aren’t willing to have that uncomfortable talk about equal rights, then you are the problem. You drag our country down.
For those still reading, some of you see the inequality, but believe sports is not a place for political statements. I got news for you: standing for the anthem with your hand on your heart is a political statement. It’s an easier political statement to make than kneeling, but it’s still a political statement.
Pressuring, shaming, and forcing someone to stand for the anthem isn’t patriotic. True patriotism is when people want to stand. If you want to increase patriotism and unify the country, then fight for equality. Fight for justice - equal justice. Make this country a place where protesting is no longer needed. Make this country a place that everyone, and I mean everyone, is proud of.