By Ashley Na
Every day in third period, one of the two Associated Student Body public relations commissioners, leads us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. However, Nov. 8 was the last day that some students habitually stood up. Some students are refusing to say the Pledge as a way to voice out their opposition to President-elect Donald John Trump.
Not only the Pledge, but students are finding different ways to oppose to Trump in a “school appropriate manner.” Following the anti-Trump protests in states including Oregon, Ohio, California, New York and Indiana, select BVH students and others are also using different social media platforms to express their thoughts.
Some BVH students were unwilling to stand up for the Pledge as a demonstration against Trump. However, it is not the correct way to do so. The Pledge is a sign of respect and patriotism for the U.S. in which the citizens have adopted for centuries.
When the Pledge was first written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, it was meant to acknowledge the people who died to build America. Although the Pledge was used to “Americanize” foreigners because of xenophobia, it evolved over time into a means of patriotism and the love of the country, which is why it is cited everyday—in BVH students’ case, during third period.
According to the website Teach-nology—a resource website for teachers—the Pledge is “said in schools to instill a sense of patriotism amongst students.” Therefore, the Pledge is used to show love and loyalty by the U.S. citizens, to the United States. The idea of Trump becoming the president for the next four years does not show a relation.
Although, the Pledge as well as Trump portrays the face of America, Trump is solely “the elected head of a republican state,” while the Pledge is “an American patriotic vow.” People will get the relation and definition of the Pledge and the POTUS wrong if students continue to sit down in opposition to Trump.
Students have also been using social media platforms to express how Trump becoming the POTUS could possibly danger their own rights, respect of individuals, as well as to how it contradicts the ending of the Pledge, “with liberty and justice for all.” There were different examples on Twitter regarding to Trump and his actions. One of these tweets quote, “talk to me about respecting my country when my country begins respecting women and minority rights.”
Although Trump may be depicted as a threat to some residents or citizens residing in the U.S., there is no possible threats regarding to justice, free speech and equal rights, because of the First Amendment. Therefore, people should not worry about the misunderstanding of Trump restricting freedom of speech and start standing up for the Pledge.
Expressing one’s opinion is important and it should be well heard and generally respected. After all, it is written in the First Amendment. However, it is also important to know how to express an opinion. If an opinion and actions do not have a general relationship such as this, it can be interpreted that the person is unpatriotic and immoral. The efficient way to stand up against Trump is by attending in protests and campaigns, because it shows a clearer message intended towards Trump, without misconceptions with the purpose of the Pledge.
According to the Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, students do not necessarily need to stand up for the Pledge. The Congress protected students from saluting to the Pledge by force, by using the reason of the “Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution” in the year of 1943. However, students should still stand up for moral reasons such as showing respect towards their own country.
It is time for students to know what the Pledge is about and why it should not be used for presidential or political purposes. Next time when hearing the familiar voice in our third period class from the loudspeaker saying, “Please stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance,” students should take their time to think, decide before getting up. To say, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”