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.
Every morning when I was growing up in rural America in the State of Virginia, our elementary classes began with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. It’s just how we started our day. It was probably a recitation exercise to my little mind because I never gave it a lot of thought. As I have aged those words and what the pledge stands for means a great deal to me and it should for every American.
We have laws and documents that have governed our land for years, successfully I might add. A lot of thought and debate went into the writing of these laws and documents while hearing and addressing various opinions. That’s democracy at work for all the people. The ones chosen to pen these laws and documents were elected by the people and worked for the best interest of the people in order that everyone’s voice might be heard. Seems fair, right? Not all people can speak at the same time or have their individual opinions taken into account, so they choose the best elected official to be their collective voice. Overall, those voices are to be supported by their elected officials.
In this country, we have been able to write, hear, listen to and verbally voice our opinions due to the First Amendment on free speech, but recently I have come to notice that particular freedom is being limited. For the past four years I have decided not to mention how I feel politically about certain political issues. It was simply not worth having various individuals “take me to the mat” trying to correct, challenge or demean my ideas and beliefs. Whatever was said was not going to change my outlook and the argument would be to no avail.
But I now realize that combative mode of thinking is permeating our entire society. If you speak an opinion that isn’t what others want heard, get ready for your voice to be erased. In fact, many of you might not get to read what I am writing due to a possible algorithm devised to squelch this writing because I do not advocate these actions or behaviors. My censorship will read my writing isn’t in line with what “they” want printed. Exactly when did “they” become in charge of free speech?
One day as I was contemplating all that is currently swirling in the world today, God brought to mind Billy Graham. Do you realize when that man began his ministry and crusades, they were attended in record numbers while having no social media access? I don’t know if many television stations carried him at first, but slowly he became known on the radio and the word of his preaching spread like wildfire. His ministry continues today although he has gone to his eternal home.
I guess my culminating thought is this; it doesn’t matter if news outlets, book publishers, social media or even popular spokespersons try to shut those opinions that don’t coincide with their own. This country was founded on freedom; freedom to debate opposing views, freedom to start a business, freedom to worship, freedom to elect those who best represent our opinions and desires and freedom to speak our hearts and minds without the possibility of being punished. Every decent human being should know where to draw the line when implementing freedom with speech. We belong to a great country. It’s never been about one person or one political party. We are still under the authority, grace and mercy of Almighty God. May He forgive us for all the chaos running rampant, teach us to love more deeply our fellowman/woman, and heal our land physically and spiritually. God bless!
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.