Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And a child shall lead them


The world needs more children who are willing to stand up (or “sit down” as is the case in West Fork, Arkansas) against prejudice when they see it.

Will Phillips refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom until, in his own words liberty and justice exists for all persons. He points to the fact that gays and lesbians cannot marry and that racism and sexism is still very much a reality in our country.

Watch the video and form your own opinion of the young lad. He is well-spoken, mature beyond his years in some respects and has the conviction to stand up for what he believes.

Okay, so maybe he allowed his frustration to get the better of him (after being pressed for several days to recite the pledge) when he told the substitute teacher she could “go jump off a bridge” — but he said it with style. (Again, watch the video. LOL)

As you can imagine this is getting a lot of airplay in the media and people on both sides of the marriage equality issue are speaking out. What follows is a comment that was made over on the Topix conversation board earlier this week.

Stupid Topic (that’s the name he posted under) writes:
“So is this 10 year old to be applauded for his/her actions?
Big freaking deal…”

Dear Stupid,

Will Phillips is to be applauded for all of the following:

  1. Setting aside the argument that he is well-read and intelligent (having earned the right to skip the 4th grade entirely), this young man is willing and unafraid to speak out for what he believes in, with little to no concern given to whether it’ll make or break his popularity;
  2. He took the time to not only commit the Pledge of Allegiance to memory but has studied it much more closely than most children his age would have done, recognizing that the ideals of this pledge are NOT being honored in our country today;
  3. Will is of the opinion (and a growing majority agree) that a disparity exists between the Pledge’s promise of “liberty and justice for all” and the government’s inconsistent application of the message with regard to marriage rights. He takes exception to how opposite-sex couples are allowed to marry while same-sex couples are unable to enjoy those same identical rights, privileges and benefits;
  4. He sees this as being unfair and in order to express quiet dissent he is refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance until such time as the inequities have been addressed;
  5. Will is clearly an authentic young boy, unwilling to sacrifice his integrity by reciting a Pledge that by his findings is not honored and applied consistently within the borders of this great nation; so
  6. Kudos to the boy for being consistent; he has taken this action every morning and refuses to give in to peer pressure or even the wishes of those adults within his school who would like him to quit exercising his First Amendment right;
  7. As for the substitute teacher(?), well, it’s true he became frustrated and when pressed on the issue was then heard to respond, “Mam, with all due respect, you can go jump off a bridge.” (spoken solemnly and with malice) I know that I shouldn’t but I’m compelled to laugh while visualizing the look on this teacher’s face as he said that. I mean, he chose his words very carefully and we all have our trigger points. My own grandmother, a very kind and hugely devout (religious) woman lost her temper once while having dinner with members of our family in a restaurant. As the family were all leaving the restaurant, Granny Mary stopped at the door, turned around and was heard to say to the waitress, “Mam, you may kindly step to hell.” ROFLMAO! (Such a statement would have been very out of character inasmuch as Granny Mary was concerned.)

There are just as likely any number of other reasons for which we might applaud Will Phillips but this list will do for starters.

In closing, with values such as those Will Phillips has demonstrated to date, I’m hopeful he not only DOES follow through and get his law degree but trust that he might develop an interest in politics as well. This country needs more “Will Phillips” in the world; persons who are able and willing to stand up for what they believe.


Related Links:

  • SNAFU-ed “Ten-year-old Won’t Recite Pledge Until Gays Can Marry”
  • Arkansas Times “A boy and his flag (Why Will won’t pledge)”
  • Queerty “10-Year-Old Will Phillips, Bigger Gay Rights Hero Than Obama”
  • the raw story “Ten-year-old refuses to recite pledge until…”
  • PeterDavid.net “Will Phillips: Patriot” (A damn fine blog)
  • Huffington Post “Will Phillips, 10-Year-Old, Won’t Pledge Allegiance To A Country That Discriminates Against Gays”

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