"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." We have recited this pledge almost every day since we were children, but it is apparent to me that most of us have forgotten what this pledge means, and what this country stands for. We are not one nation; we are not united, we are being separated by a hyphen. We are letting a hyphen decide whose life matters more. Are we really going to let a hyphen separate this country?
Whose lives matter? This seems to be the big question in this country, at the moment . My personal answer to this question is: All lives matter. I know some people are against this term, but I see nothing wrong with believing that all life matters. Black lives matter, Hispanic life matters, Asian lives matters, White lives matters, all of our lives matter. No life matters more than the other.
We are too concerned with what comes before the hyphen to understand that what comes after is the the most important. It is the thing that that brings us all together as one: we are Americans. My father is part Hispanic and my mother is white, so that makes me and my family Hispanic-American, but I've never really gone by that term. Not because I don't like it , or I'm embarrassed by it. I am proud of my heritage, but what was in front of the hyphen was never as important to me than what came after: American. Are we really going to let a hyphen separate and ruin this country? We are supposed to be the big American melting pot, but we are not melting together.
Yes, I know a hyphen isn't just to blame. A fire has sparked amongst many in this great nation. Yes, Police brutality is real. Yes, it is a huge problem that has caused tragedies, but let's be real for a moment. Not every cop who took an oath to protect and risk their lives for the betterment of their community, who wakes up every morning, who kisses their family goodbye every day not knowing if they'll come home, who goes every day to protect their community for long hours and crappy pay is out to kill us. Most of these officers just want to keep the people of the community safe.
Many civilians have died from police brutality, and my heart and prayers go out to those families; no one deserves to die. Most of those cops were just trying to do there jobs, many fired too many shots and many shouldn't have fired at all, but their fate isn't up for us to decide. We leave their fate to the justice system, and we trust them to make the right decision and if we don't approve than we must our complaint peacefully, not abrasively.
I see these protests turn violent, turn dangerous for the lives of others and especially the protesters. Blocking interstates all over the country is not the way; screaming threats at the officers who are there to keep you safe, who are there make sure you can safely exercise your right to the first amendment is not the way. Shooting 11 innocent police officers, killing five is not OK or the way.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X and Mother Theresa did not preach this kind of protest. Saying this is the only way to get your point across is no excuse. Saying that the deaths and injuries of these officers is OK because "it's a taste of our own medicine," is not OK. It makes you no better than the police who killed the innocent people.
"Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe." Arundhati Roy.
Saying this is the only way to get your oppression across is not OK. Last time I checked, every American has the same constitutional rights. You who are oppressed? The 65 million girls still being denied their right to an education, the people of North Korea not allowed to say or think for themselves -- everyone, every race has been oppressed at some point.
The Scottish were enslaved by the British; our ancestors who came to this great country were probably indentured servants, were slaves; the Jews went through the Holocaust; during WW II we put Japanese-Americans in internment camps; women who didn't (and some still do not) have the same rights as I do. Every race, every person has faced oppression at some point, but we have to move on and focus on the betterment of the future. We have to put an end to this divide, to this hate that is weighing so heavy on our hearts, to this unnecessary violence.
Thomas A. Edison once stated," Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all living beings, we are still savages."
There is a problem in this country, and we must come together -- not create divisions -- to fix this problem. One way to become united we stand again starts with removing the hyphen that separates us. We need to realize that our lives are equal, that we are all Americans, that we are all one.
A great president, Ronald reagan, once said, "If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we are a nation gone under." We must not forget.
Lastly, I'd like to say my heart and prayers go out to the lives lost to police brutality, and to the policemen in Dallas who risked there live to protect others. To make a change in this country we have to start within.