Photograph from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
You have once again overtaken the general public’s newsfeed and social media with hubbub unrelated to your elected position. But (either ignorantly or brilliantly) you have once again distracted the general public from what is occurring elsewhere within our country.
It is in question as to whether or not North Korea believes you have incited war.
Puerto Rico is suffering the devastating consequences of Hurricane Maria and faces a long and arduous road to recovery. Florida and Texas are also working toward their own recovery and rebuilding after the storms that ravaged their communities.
Your final (maybe?) attempt at an Affordable Care Act replacement has failed.
Facebook is turning over to Congress more than 3,000 Russia-leaked ads that may have aided in your election.
But people are still focusing on your NFL mania. It boggles my mind that I too am still following this. I don’t even watch football, yet somehow just how clueless you are about the symbolism of kneeling during ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ frustrates me. Yet I was determined in this letter not to once again berate you on your stance (standing, of course) about the correct actions when the National Anthem is played.
So, instead, I decided I would focus on how you brought attention to the importance of what these patriotic moments offer. You made me rethink what patriotism means to me and this country. It once again solidified my love of the First Amendment, but also made me focus so much on those with whom I disagree. I am by nature a lover, not a fighter, but hearing and seeing evidence of your bullheaded temperament about what it means to be a patriot infuriated me and I don’t like when I am brewing anger. But then yesterday I was brought back to what I actually believe is the basis of our country.
My kindergartener came home from school so proud that she had nearly all of the Pledge of Allegiance memorized. Her second grade sister, not to be out done, had to one up her. She reminded us that she has known the Pledge for two years now, and that her class had actually started learning what the Pledge means.
“So, what does the Pledge of Allegiance mean?”
“Well, we learned the meaning of the big words. Like that ‘pledge’ means to promise. And ‘liberty’ means freedom. And ‘indivisible’ means you can’t break it apart.”
“What do you think that means: to not break apart?”
“It means that states won’t become their own countries. That everybody works together. That we can’t get all divided up.”
She is right; she is absolutely right. That is what indivisible means. Yet here is where you continuously take us: to a nation divided.
You have managed to polarize everything, even Monday Night Football. So, here is an idea. Bring the country back to what thousands of people, mainly children, pledge to every day for this nation: liberty and justice for all.
Instead of continuing to push for a healthcare repeal that leaves millions more uninsured, push for inclusive healthcare, to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Instead of cutting federal dollars from food stamp and other anti-poverty necessities, push to guarantee everyone three healthy meals a day, to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Instead of believing that marriage depends solely on gender, push to legalize all relationships based on love and support, to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Instead of defunding schools providing public education, push for allowing them to benefit and serve neighborhoods and children, to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Instead of masking your racially charged remarks as patriotic, push to actually understand the divisions haunting our country and move to heal these wounds, to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Perhaps you need to go back into the second grade classroom and take part in this lesson. Look at the power of language. Look at what the words children recite each and every day truly mean. They pledge to an indivisible country that promises liberty and justice for all. And while I fear you are unwilling to ever truly work to provide this for them, I have faith that they will someday see it.