All the usual elements are there in the latest twist in the ongoing debate in this country over protest and expression.
There’s the kid who sits during the Pledge of Allegiance, the one who stands while wearing an American flag T-shirt, the assumption of authority to teach a little respect, as the person who posted the video from Winter Mills High School in Westminster, Md., characterized it.
The student taking the matter into his own hands wrote on Instagram:
Some people don’t understand how disrespectful it is to sit during the pledge or national anthem and deserves to get there ass kicked More of y’all need (stand up) to these jackasses that sit during the pledge.if you have an issue with what I did today talk to me about it not your little buddy’s behind my back. #standthef***up #america #dumbass #hedeservedmore #bitch”
He was “disciplined,” the Carroll County Times reports, although school officials, citing privacy rules, didn’t say how.
They said, however, that students at the school are never required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
None of the students involved is being publicly identified, although the newspaper reports the kid in the chair issued a statement on a social media account.
“I was practicing my right to free speech, a right given to me by the soldiers that I do respect, unlike what he says. I simply will not stand and pledge allegiance to a country that is run by a racist, sexist, bigoted, fascist. I will not stand for a country who mistreats those who aren’t white and rich.
Forced patriotism is fascism, and nothing less. So I invite all to join me tomorrow, and #sitthef***down if you believe that free speech is a fundamental right of the people, and that it should be protected,” he posted.
It’s not a situation in which anybody is going to do much more than stand in the corner they were already in, but the Carroll County Times ran an editorial this week anyway that most certainly will fall on deaf ears.
Comments on our own Facebook page, from Carroll County residents, included: “Making Winters Mill alumni proud,” “Give that kid a medal” and “the student who was sitting deserved it.”
The ones on Instagram, reddit and fringe websites where the video appeared were far worse, filled with disgusting, hateful language and rhetoric.
Quite frankly, it’s repulsive that grown men and women would condone and even encourage this sort of violence and bullying among young people.
It’s a sad side-effect of the state of our country where our president himself has condoned violent behavior against people who take issue with him and his supporters. And no, this isn’t to say the right is fully to blame. There are no shortage of examples where protesters on the left have incited violence too.
We’ve created an environment where free speech and peaceful protests are under attack from both sides and, for whatever reason, we’ve decided that violent acts and vile discourse is the only way to get through to people on the other side.
Guess what? It isn’t working and is just causing those with opposing views to dig in their heels and take more extreme positions. Until we can begin to decry unnecessary acts of violence, especially those that may support causes we believe in ourselves, things will only get worse.
(h/t: Mike Worcester)