“The Pledge Is a Lie”: Ari Florent Is Sitting Down

Megan Pitt '23, Editor in Chief

The clock is approaching 7:30 am. The lights of Cherry Hill High School West are coming on. The student body stands up. Ari Florent sits down.

In the United States, it is routine that all children within the public school system start their morning by worshiping the nation; They stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, reciting it with their right hand laid over their heart. Lately, however, many students have been rejecting this idea. They’ve been sitting down.

Florent said they started sitting during the 2021-2022 school year but would have earlier if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t invaded. The reason is simple, they explained: “I find unjustified nationalism weird and conceited.” 

In 2020, the nation saw an immense increase in racial and sexual identity unrest. Both the LGBTQ+ community and people of color were targeted for their means of identification. Florent, Haitian and queer, emphasized the corrupt nature of the American legal system as a result. “America on countless accounts have shown that the racist homophobias will go far to show their hate. POC have been killed, kidnapped, harassed, and abused, while people who caused it faced little to no repercussions,” they explained. 

“‘Indivisible,’ hah. ‘With liberty and justice for all’, that’s just a lie. So yea, I’m good.”

Some sit for the pledge for religious reasons as well. The pledge specifically highlights monotheistic religion, intertwined with the phrase, “one nation under God”.  Those of other religious identifications have found themselves frustrated by this isolating sentiment as it seemingly dismisses any thought of polytheistic or atheist belief systems. “‘One nation under God,’” Florent commented. “Aw yes, I love the casual shoving of a single religion down my throat.”

While they emphasize the concept of personal opinion and choice when it comes to sitting, or standing, for the pledge, Florent hopes certain members of their community will start to understand their own reasoning soon. “I don’t care if someone stands for the pledge or not. It’s not my life. I don’t stand, others don’t stand, some do. We all have our reasons and I couldn’t care what anyone else’s is. For me, standing for the pledge is idiotic and some faculty need to understand my reasons for either not standing or stopping for it.”