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    • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      Columnist, Editor-in-Chief
    • July 4, 2018 in Columnists

    I will pledge no allegiance to Trump’s America

    The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.
    George McGovern

    I confess I’ve never been middle America’s idea of a patriot. If it’s red, white and blue — whatever it is, clothing, a gewgaw or doodad or even a flag — I avoid it. It’s the mindlessness that repels me. It reflects the “America, love it or leave it” philosophy so prevalent in my youth which enraged me so because I knew how flawed we were and are. I watched the news. I read what was happening and the vile things the US government perpetrated in the name of corporate sovereignty. I saw as we destabilized governments because they stood up to us, like when Chile started appropriating US corporate property so we overthrew their government. Like the entire Vietnam war. Like when we saw what was happening in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and Kosovo and did nothing because they had no oil — the egregiousness of which was highlighted by our rushing to the aid of Kuwait, which does.

    At the same time, if someone who had immigrated to this country would start in on it — and I endured some epically unpleasant sessions — I would feel this flash of rage and think that if they hated us so much, perhaps they should just go home.

    Over time, I realized that not only was I a patriot — I was and am a passionate one. I love this country. I love its sea to shining sea, its amber waves of grain, the purple mountains’ majesty — every piece of US soil, I love it all. I love the kindhearted among us, the loving souls who rush to the aid of others, who rescue drowning dogs in floods, who take in drug-addicted newborns, who volunteer to plant trees in national parks, who stand against injustice every way they can. I love these people and to them and to this land, I will pledge allegiance.

    But I will not say that pledge again until the current crop of monsters are all gone. I will say the pledge when Trump, Pence, Ryan, McConnell and Sessions are nothing more than evil memories — shuddersome stories told to frighten children around campfires.

    If these are the people represented by our flag, then I will not stand in respect when it is displayed. If these excrescences are what our government has become — and thus, our nation — then I will not pledge my allegiance to it. In fact, any pledges I have ever made to my country I hereby rescind until the rule of decency has been restored.

    We had that once. It was vastly imperfect, but we thrived under it. Under Obama and Clinton, we had prosperity. We had laws that were at least beginning to put people before corporations, that protected the planet. What do we have now?

    Corporate flunkies.
    Heartless bastards who want to gut the lives of the vulnerable.
    People actively gutting environmental protections for profit.
    Haters who have empowered the worst of us — neo-Nazis, the KKK and the alt-right.
    Misogynists who have gutted laws protecting women at home and in the workplace.
    Homomisiasts (‘phobe’ means fear — ‘mis’ means hate and it’s more accurate) who want to strip civil rights from our gay citizens.
    Xenophobes and evangelical bigots who fear and vilify anyone not Christian, born here or both.

    And all under a “man” who has the emotional maturity and impulse control of a toddler, who has plausible accusations of rape and molestation levied against him, who lies and cheats and grifts and FAILS while boasting that he is the most successful person ever.

    The only hope I have — and I’m clinging to this tightly — is that the horror that is these people’s ascendance to power has woken people up who were previously too complacent to care. The millions of people marching will translate, I hope most fervently, into people who will vote the bastards out so overwhelmingly that they will slink off and slither back under the rotting logs from whence they came.

    On that day and only then will I recite the Pledge of Allegiance — and mean it.


      • Carolyn Wyler

      • July 4, 2018 at 8:47 am
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        • Maya Spier Stiles North

        • July 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm
        • Reply

        I think that an underlying feeling we have and have yet to define is grief. I feel that something has died that I loved so much and never believed was so fragile and mortal…

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