There is a FANTASTIC story making the rounds on media outlets everywhere right now, and it involves a 10-year-old Arkansas boy named Will Phillips, who got in trouble in his public school when he refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Now some of you might be thinking “Screw that little brat, who the hell does he think he is?” Normally, I’d agree with you. But this young man is much deeper than that.
He refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance because the ending — which states “with liberty and justice for all” — just isn’t true, according to Will. He cites ongoing racism and sexism as proof that the country is not living up to its ideals, and specifically uses gay marriage as an example that the “for all” part just doesn’t apply. Therefore, he’s decided to take a conscientious stand by sitting down.
When he first decided on this course of action, it was when a substitute teacher was in the class. At first the teacher pooh-poohed it, but by the fourth day she got pissed and ordered him to stand and recite the pledge. At that point, Will told her to go jump off a bridge.
For starters, it is not OK to be disrespectful to your teacher. Will Phillips apologized in writing to the teacher, but I wouldn’t mind if he was suspended for mouthing off like that. There’s no place for that in a classroom and he was absolutely wrong for talking to a teacher in that manner.
But other than that, I think this kid is FANTASTIC!
Look, I said the pledge of allegiance every morning. And I did so because it was mandatory. I never really thought about what I was saying, it was just the mindless start to my day. But this 10-year-old did what many kids his age (and adults for that matter) never do. He actually thought about it. He analyzed it. And he then he took the words and phrases he was being forced to say and he compared them to real-world events.
And guess what? Something didn’t pass the sniff test.
This kid is absolutely right. First of all, it is perfectly within his First Amendment rights not to say the Pledge of Allegiance. And the fact that so many PUBLIC schools seem to force this down kids’ throats is a little troubling. Rote recitation, that’s all it is. Personally I don’t like the “under God” part of it and I choose not to recite that particular portion, but sadly enough it took a 10-year-old to point out the hypocrisy of the rest of it.
The reaction to this story has been predictable from many of the reliable sources on the right.
Shouts of “If you don’t like America, you kin geeeeeeeet out!” and “Send the little Commie packin’!” can be heard far and wide from the unthinking masses. I find that hysterical because the kid is merely exercising a right guaranteed to him by this country, and he’s doing so after careful consideration and analysis. But heaven forbid we actually admit that this country isn’t perfect, and all those who dare make mention of that fact should immediately be labeled as socialist freedom-haters.
I love this country. There’s nowhere else I’d rather live and I’m very patriotic. But you know what? This kid is right. Why should he be forced to say “with liberty and justice for all” if there isn’t liberty and justice for all. Gay people cannot be married. They cannot enjoy that freedom which is granted to the “normal” people. So by definition, that is not justice for all. That is liberty and justice for some.
And as Will has shown us, that ain’t right!
Good for you Will. It must be the name. But regardless of your idiot classmates calling you a “gaywad” and all the fringe lunatics who will advise your parents to ship you off to military school to gain an appreciation of this country, I offer a different take. I think young Will is a prime example of what makes this country great. And futhermore, he’s a breath of fresh air right now and he has completely rekindled the hope that our nation’s youth are not just a bunch of self-indulgent, overly entitled little shits who don’t expend a brain cell to anything not related to an xBox 360.
Stay strong Will. And keep sitting.