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Why I Say It This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Westfield, NJ
Opening the October issue of Teen Ink and flipping to the section on the 2012 election, I was surprised. I found Katie Becker's article “Why I Say It” offensive. In her article, she implies that there are two options when considering whether or not to say the Pledge of Allegiance. You may either abstain and sit respectfully (which I wholeheartedly agree with – respect is important) or take part in the Pledge because “the glorious history of our nation and liberties that our ancestors fought to protect [means] something to you” and you are “proud to be part of a country where you are legally guaranteed the same rights as the person next to you” and you are “thankful that … there are outlets through which you can voice your opinion.” The fact that Katie implies that those who refuse to say the Pledge are unappreciative and unpatriotic offends me, as someone who does not say the Pledge.

Katie also seems to imply that the only reason one might refuse to say the Pledge is out of discomfort with the phrase “under God.” I found this presumptuous. As a lesbian, I do not say the Pledge of Allegiance because I do not believe that there is “liberty and justice for all” since same-sex marriage is not recognized by the federal government or my home state. Since gays and lesbians are not, in fact, “legally guaranteed the same rights as the person next to [them],” as Katie asserts, I find it difficult to state each morning that we have “liberty and justice for all.” I probably will resume saying the Pledge once marriage equality is achieved.

Although I do not mean to invalidate the feelings of unity and nationalism that Katie experiences when saying the Pledge, I implore her to develop a more thorough understanding of the issue before jumping to ­conclusions. Those who do not salute the flag are not unpatriotic – if anything, in my case or in the case of those taking issue with the phrase “under God,” these people recognize the principles our great nation was founded upon (equality and freedom of expression) and hold their beloved nation to its own standard.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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alliperkins This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 6, 2013 at 2:43 am:
I completely agree with you and am really glad that you spoke up about this well-debated topic among teens. I think that you responded to this perfectly, and I'm sure that's why it was published in the magazine.
 
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