I was appalled to read an opinion piece in this morning’s Inquirer about one of our clients, Sam Smith, a fourteen-year-old who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The editorial writer, Joe Cox, was incredibly patronizing about this young man, whose decision not to say the pledge is based in part on his opposition to his country’s policy in Iraq. Cox quotes Smith saying, “I don’t think of myself as an American,” he says. “I think of myself as a human being.”
But rather than applaud him for taking a stand for something he believes in, Cox chose to criticize Smith because his views on Iraq are nothing original and “straight out of the Democratic playbook.” (He also sums up Smith’s philosophy this way: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Great rebuttal, Mr. Cox.)
Here’s how he concluded the article:
So while there’s some comfort in seeing a thoughtful 14-year-old take a skeptical view toward the things that conventional wisdom sometimes holds too close to its bosom, there’s also something sad about this particular case.
Sam Smith is an intelligent young man who unfortunately seems to know only what he doesn’t believe in, not what he does. And while rejecting God and country might seem fashionable to him now, there’s likely to be a price to pay somewhere down his life’s long road. That will happen the day he realizes he needs both in ways he can’t even imagine right now. Rest of article
I must disagree – I think Sam Smith knows exactly what he believes in.
Incidentally, Cox might reserve some words for the adults who have responded to Smith’s refusal to say the pledge with comments such as “he should move to Iraq if he doesn’t love this country” and comparisons to protestors who stood at airports calling returning Vietnam vets baby-killers. He has also been told by fellow students that their parents now “hate him.” Personally, I’ll take Sam’s thoughtfulness and courage over the sentiments of these “mature
adults” any day.