Sitting reflects personal values

Megan Munson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The red, white and blue of the U.S. flag holds a variety of meanings for the citizens of this nation. Many choose to stand and address it every morning during the Pledge of Allegiance. Others, however, choose to sit and reject this daily tradition—and that is entirely valid.

If the flag is representative of the values of the U.S.—most recognizably liberty, equality and democracy—and one feels that these values are not being respected, it only makes sense that they should choose not to salute the flag. While many cite pride in one’s nation as a reason to stand, a lack thereof is also a reason to sit. There is no reason to feign pride in a nation if one has been disappointed by it, especially not in a nation founded upon individual freedoms.

In September of 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously knelt during the national anthem at a football game. Kaepernick did not do this out of hatred for the U.S. or disrespect for veterans; he knelt because he felt that the American value of equality was not being maintained for all people. Is that not simply an expression of free speech? To limit the freedoms of others by intimidating them into standing for a ritual is far less American than simply kneeling.

There is nothing anti-American about choosing to sit during the Pledge. Those who choose to typically do so only after thinking deeply about what the Pledge means and what aspects of it don’t align with their own values. This takes careful consideration and thought on exactly what the Pledge means, and taking time for that analysis is a sign of respect itself.

Of course, there is undeniable value in having a Pledge. When millions have fought and died for the well-being of a nation, the least that citizens can do is show their respect for those heroes. However, to make the Pledge a routine is to take away its meaning; it becomes more of a habit than a ritual of remembrance and respect. The repetition numbs us to the meanings of the words we hear over the loudspeaker.

If the Pledge of Allegiance is to remain relevant, people need to focus on its content. Controversy should not surround whether or not people are standing to address the flag; rather, we should be discussing how to further make the ideals presented in the Pledge into a reality. Seriously consider the values you repeat every morning, and ask yourself whether or not you stand for them. Everyone has the right to stand or sit, but those who choose to sit are doing so for a reason.