To the Editor:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Good words, right? Lately, I have found myself questioning the reality. I have found myself reciting the words with a sense of empathy for so many people for whom these words ring hollow. I am saddened as I read lies and hateful remarks being spread across the internet. Everything has gotten so politicized that we can no longer rely on our leaders to bring us together. It will take real effort by each of us to get to the point where we can truly be the United States of America. It makes me sad to hear someone say “go home.” This is home. One of the many things that made me so proud to be an American were the words on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
I remember, as a young boy growing up being so proud of our country. My dad and uncles were home from a terrible war. They fought and faced death to rid the world of regimes bent on destroying freedom around the world. I remember wanting to have a flag in the yard. We couldn’t afford a pole and flag, so I took some left over material that my mom had and painted the stars and stripes on it. A neighbor gave me a long stick to use as a pole. I put a hook on the top and bottom so I could tie the flag to the pole. Every morning I put it up and in the evening I took it down until it finally was lost in a storm. In my early years I proudly spoke the Pledge in school and truly believed what it said. The coming election is not about how my portfolio is doing, my views on abortion or my concern over losing my guns. The economy will eventually return to normal, and other issues can be discussed with a little common sense and a willingness to listen to each other’s concerns. This election is about respect for one another, common decency, caring about others and making our country one that the whole world will respect, admire and want to emulate. My hope is that someday we can all shout out those words and know it to be true. Liberty and justice for all.