Why I Don’t Stand for the Pledge


Santiago Rivera, Staff Writer

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, I, like so many others, thought it was a joke. I asked myself why in the world would a reality TV show host like to be the leader of the world’s most powerful military. Could it be for his own financial gain?  Maybe it’s just a well-formulated plan to advertise his brand world wide. Either way, Trump’s rhetoric has normalized xenophobia, racism, discrimination and misogyny.  His rhetoric, paired with broadcasted events of racially charged actions committed by the state and citizens, have prompted me and so many others to sit during the pledge. I refuse to pledge allegiance to a country that has demonstrated that a xenophobic, fear-mongering candidate is steps away from receiving nuclear codes while a black man can get shot with his hands in the air after asking  for help to restart his car.

Up until last year I proudly stood for the pledge. I understood that there are so many places where people’s rights are limited.  However, there are issues in today’s system, and the rhetoric that Trump has incited is an example of just that. It’s seeing a white man boast about the size of his hands and gain support from white supremacists as activist groups are threatened and communities continue to drink dirty water.

Many of those who are in the armed forces or who have lost loved ones may see this as disrespectful, and I understand. So many people have sacrificed their lives for my right to sit. However, it is totally hypocritical that there is outrage for those who sit. Meanwhile,  Trump continues to make offensive remarks about members of the military such as POWs like John McCain, women, a gold star family.

I want to be the change I’d like to see in this world. I’d like to get to a place where the people sworn in to protect Americans don’t kill 800 people, and bigoted fear mongers aren’t steps away from living in the White House.  I am prepared to stand again the day that Hillary Clinton sets her hand on the Bible and finishes her inauguration with the famous words, “So help me God.”