Posts Tagged ‘The Pledge Of Allegiance’

Home of the Brave?

May 27, 2022 By Gabe Kapler
The day 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives.
Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.
When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t.  I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.
This particular time, an 18 year old walked into a store, bought multiple assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, walked into a school with an armed resource officer and its own police district and was able to murder children for nearly an hour.  Parents begged and pleaded with police officers to do something, police officers who had weapons and who receive nearly 40% of the city’s funding, as their children were being murdered.
We elect our politicians to represent our interests.  Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers.  We were given thoughts and prayers.  We were told it could have been worse, and we just need love.
But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free.  The police on the scene put a mother in handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children.  They blocked parents trying to organize to charge in to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops.  We aren’t free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.
I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents.  We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.”  But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings.  We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes.  We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.
Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place.  On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde.  I bowed my head.  I stood for the national anthem.  Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.
My brain said drop to a knee;  my body didn’t listen.  I wanted to walk back inside;  instead I froze.  I felt like a coward.  I didn’t want to call attention to myself.  I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families.  There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry.  I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit.  I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.
But I am not okay with the state of this country.  I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity.  I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest.  The home of the brave should encourage this.
    —    Gabe Kapler
Manager, San Francisco Giants (baseball team)
Mr. Kapler’s personal blog can be found at:  Kaplifestyle – A Lifestyle and Fitness site by Gabe Kapler
The specific post can be found at:  Home of the Brave? (kaplifestyle.com)
[Disclaimer:  The above post has been copied from the original site without permission or prior approval.  I make no claim of ownership – implied or actual.  I read the original blog post multiple times to try to extract the hi-lights for a “fair-use” review / quote.  I lacked the skill (or heart) to do this, so I am reprinting the author’s post in its entirety.  If Mr. Kapler feels I have misused his intellectual property and asks me to remove or modify this post, I will do so.    —    kmab]
On This Day In:
2022 Smoldering Or Burning?
I’m Not Okay Either
2021 Make A Difference
What’s That Sound?
2020 Promise Her In Music
2019 But I’m Well Past 100 By Now
2018 Learn
Land Of The Free, Because Of The Brave
4 Appearances In A Row, 4 Wins To Go
2017 And Yet I’m Still Having Fun
2016 I See Coincidence Everywhere
CA3: Civil War
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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We have gathered here to affirm a faith, a faith in a common purpose, a common conviction, a common devotion.
Some of us have chosen America as the land of our adoption;  the rest have come from those who did the same.  For this reason we have some right to consider ourselves a picked group, a group of those who had the courage to break from the past and brave the dangers and the loneliness of a strange land.  What was the object that nerved us, or those who went before us, to this choice?  We sought liberty – freedom from oppression, freedom from want, freedom to be ourselves.  This then we sought; this we now believe that we are by way of winning.  What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty?  I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts.  These are false hopes;  believe me, these are false hopes.  Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women;  when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it;  no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.  While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.  And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women?  It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will;  it is not freedom to do as one likes.  That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow.  A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few – as we have learned to our sorrow.
What then is the spirit of liberty?  I cannot define it;  I can only tell you my own faith.  The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right;  the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women;  the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias;  the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded;  the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near 2,000 years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten;  that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.
And now in that spirit, that spirit of an America which has never been, and which may never be; nay, which never will be except as the conscience and courage of Americans creates it;  yet in the spirit of that America which lies hidden in some form in the aspirations of us all;  in that spirit of liberty and of America so prosperous, and safe, and contented, we shall have failed to grasp its meaning, and shall have been truant to its promise, except as we strive to make it a signal, a beacon, a standard to which the best hopes of mankind will ever turn;  In confidence that you share that belief, I now ask you to raise your hand and repeat with me this pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands — One nation, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
    —    Judge Billings Learned Hand
Presented in 1944 during “I AM an American Day
Judge Hand was the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals in New York
[Interestingly, the above “quote” is not the one which originally appears in my journal.  It appears there are several versions of the speech with the last paragraph different in each.  I have here an amalgamation of three – including the one from my journal.
Also, note the difference in the Pledge of Allegiance from what it appears today.  In the 1950’s, under pressure from the Catholics, the Congress “officially” altered the Pledge to include the words “…One nation, under God, Indivisible…”.  This was a reaction to the threat of the Godless Communist.  I sometimes wonder what the Founding Fathers would have thought of this change as they almost universally favored a separation of Church and State.    —    kmab]
On This Day In:
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2021 Democracy, Pandemic, Economy And Climate Change
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2020 Hoping For #46 In January 2021
2019 Interesting, But Not Fascinating
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2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
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2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
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2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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