By Eli Glickman
Standing for the pledge of allegiance is a highly controversial issue at B-CC today. Most are familiar with this scene: the bell rings marking the beginning of second period. Over the P.A. speaker, the pledge rings out; a small fraction of the class instinctively stands, as they do every day, while others sit. I believe students morally should stand for the pledge of allegiance because standing symbolizes respect for our nation and national unity.
Students, however, are not obligated to stand for the pledge. The landmark Supreme Court case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment protects students from being forced to salute the flag or say the pledge in school. The rights enshrined in the Constitution are vitally important to the fabric of this country. As such, I am not advocating for any policy that forces students to stand for the pledge. However, I believe that, as a symbol of unity and respect for American values, students should stand for the pledge.
Jules Capizzi, a junior at B-CC, said that she stands “out of respect and because [America] is a great country.” Respecting the country comes in a lot of different forms, yet they primarily circle around the sacrifices of our service members. “Brave men and women risk and give their lives for this country every day. When you don’t stand for the pledge, I believe that you’re insulting the memory of every service member who has put their own lives in jeopardy so others can live the American dream,” said senior Bryce Hartigan. Respect for soldiers is of paramount importance. America’s soldiers put their lives on the line every day to ensure that we are free and that we are safe.
Above all else, I believe people should stand for the pledge as a matter of national unity. In a deeply divisive time, it is crucially important that people find common ground and unite. The American flag and its ideals represent the best of all of us; they represent the universal goals we all stride towards: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Junior
Toby Berlinski said that “[he stands] for the pledge, because, as an immigrant, [he feels] grateful for the country that [he] moved to -- the U.S.” He feels “like even if [someone is] not saying the pledge, [they] should stand up and respect the pledge and the flag and what the pledge means to America.” What standing for the pledge means to America is that we are loyal. Not simply to America’s weaknesses or checkered history, but to the values put forth by our founders in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. America faces many problems, but the way to solve them is not through self-righteous divisiveness. It is through national unity, through a joint effort to repair problems and build a society that is better than the one we have now. This starts with the little things, like standing in respect for the pledge.
Patriotism, the love for our country, is not support for its problems or any politicians, but support for its values and morals. As President Teddy Roosevelt put it, “patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.” To those who dislike our president, stand because you believe that he does not represent the best that America has to offer; do not sit out of spite. Spitefulness will never solve our problems, but only entrench both sides and make them worse. Let’s all stand together for a better America, free of racism, anti-semitism, political divisiveness, and hate. Let’s stand together for the troops who sacrifice, and for our collective goals of a country that works for everyone: a country based on equality and liberty.
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