(I know I already posted today, I guess when it rains, it pours!)
I felt incredibly compelled to write about this topic after reading another blog post of the topic. Will Philips, a 10-year-old from Arkansas, has vowed to not say the Pledge of Allegiance until Gay and Lesbian people in the United States have the right to marry.
Check out Will's interview on CNN here.
I'd like to repeat: A 10-YEAR-OLD boy. From ARKANSAS. Is a GAY RIGHT ACTIVIST. On CNN.
He's my hero.
This has lead me to reminisce about my own, albeit milder, form of protest regarding the Pledge. I've shared with you all that I'm not a particularly religious person. I believe in things, but I don't really support one organized church. In addition, I wouldn't say that what I believe in is a single God. Therefore, I took (and still take) great offense to the phrase "One nation under God" in the Pledge. We are one nation under many gods, and no gods at all. So, throughout high school, when I was old enough to know better (clearly I'm a few years behind Will, and I also wasn't smart enough to skip a grade!), I stopped saying "under God" when I stood to recite the Pledge. I would, at times more obviously than others, say "One nation...(pause)... indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". It was small, often unnoticeable, but I felt that I was standing up (literally) for what I believed shouldn't be included in the Pledge.
That led me into thinking, "geez (yes, I say geez), when was the last time I said the Pledge?" My answer: the last day of my senior year of high school. That's right, folks. It occurred to me that the Pledge of Allegiance is something that only CHILDREN are asked to recite. How many of you, who work outside of the primary educational system, recite the Pledge on a daily basis? I'm going to guess just a few, if any. I don't get up, go to work, and stand in my office with my hand over my heart reciting the Pledge each day. Hell, I don't even know if there is a flag inside my building.
So why do we force (because many children don't know that they have the right not to stand and recite the pledge) our children to do this? Many don't even know the meaning of the words they are saying (I'm reminded of In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson when Shirley recited the Pledge all bass-ackwards). Does anyone besides teachers recite the Pledge in their "grown-up" lives? Is this an obsolete practice?
Finally, to come full circle, I just want to say that I think Will Philips is an amazing kid, with more guts than people three-times his age. I think his father is a great parent for supporting him. And I think that the cause Will is fighting for is a great cause. EVERYONE should have the right to marry the person they love, no matter what is between that person's legs.