Monday, September 14, 2009

This fight over whether schools are required to inform students that they don't have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance brings to mind something I saw last weekend at the NASCAR race in Richmond. A couple of (inebriated, although that may have been incidental to what happened) fans loudly objected to another fan not removing his hat during the recitation of the Pledge and the playing of the national anthem... so much so that a police officer had to intervene to calm one of the guys down.

Yes, taking off one's hat is a sign of respect. But the guy had the right to not show his respect... and the two protesting bozos, for all of their ranting that they had served in Iraq defending the flag (whether true or not, who knows?), seem to be rather ignorant that one of our rights as Americans is the ability to not show respect to the flag, to our national anthem, or to our President.

We have the right to boo. We have the right to criticize. And we have the right to not show respect in the same way others do. I don't sing the national anthem, I don't recite the pledge along with others. I don't salute the flag. I don't take off my hat (because I don't wear hats!).

And people shouldn't have to be told that they have the right to opt out, to not take off their hat, to not sing along. If they (or, in this case, their parents) don't care enough to find out what rights they have and don't have, then I am not going to lose any sleep if they don't opt out of doing something they obviously don't care that much about in the first place.