In Defense of the Insurgents

Eli Adams, Staff Writer

Good morning, CLC.

I wish we could do things differently this morning. I wish those familiar intercom voices could address something significant that happened in this country last night. But because of its political nature, we can’t use the morning announcements as an outlet, and we can’t remind the student body that standing for the Pledge of Allegiance is a choice, not a requirement. Especially on a day like today, I implore all of you to exercise your right to sit during the pledge.

On August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown six times, killing him. Michael’s death (one of an uncountable number of black killings at the hands of police in the US) was the last straw. Nationwide riots ensued, and a second civil rights movement began.

But last night, Officer Wilson was given no indictment by a grand jury. “Indictment” simply means “charge,” so the jury ruled that Officer Wilson wasn’t worthy of being tried for murder.

I know this is a very delicate topic since most of our school population is Caucasian, and every single white person in the US benefits from institutionalized racism. Still, the fact that a kid my age who posed no threat was shot six times by a cop makes me want to puke. The fact that his parents have to deal with all the rioting and controversy on top of their baby boy’s death makes my stomach twist. And the fact that all of this happened because one cop doesn’t want to face the consequences of his actions and can get away with it because of a badge and the skin tone of the boy he murdered makes me want to riot.

But until I can make it down to Chicago to march down Lake Shore Drive with other demonstrators, I’ll riot quietly in my chair. On normal days, I personally don’t stand for the Pledge. Today I only wish I could do more.

To those of you who choose not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, whether because of the events in Ferguson or for any other reason, remember you have every right to do so. The Tinker vs. Des Moines Supreme Court law states students do not have to relinquish their Constitutional rights when they enter school, meaning you have every right to peacefully, non-disruptively protest. It is not unpatriotic to refrain from pledging to something you don’t believe in. This country was founded on that idea.

And to those of you who choose to stand for the Pledge, do not feel alienated. You have every right to pledge allegiance to something you believe in, for whatever reason you believe in it. Everyone should feel safe expressing themselves. Sit or stand, it’s most important that we support and try to understand each other.

So please stand for a moment of silence, followed by a choice.