I, “pledged 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”….. right? But what did the flag pledge to me?
Did it pledge a first class ticket on a fancy cruise liner….sailing the ocean blue, eating three squares a day off of fine china? Dancing and entertainment, my outfit would compliment, activities like swimming and shuffle board or people watching as I sat at the bar…. bored?
Like sardines they were placed, arms and feet bound with bracelets; only not the kind that you purchase at a jeweler, just the kind that holds you captive and leaves you helpless and powerless. The stench and foul odor permeated the air, of those who could not bear, the endless rocking back and forth on choppy waters, distancing them from all they knew and loved. Only to be brought to a world of unspeakable cruelty and pain because their color was not the same!
Did the flag pledge, that there would be a fountain for you and a fountain for me? Did it pledge my own personal entrance to the back of a restaurant, a pool to be drained that I stuck my black toe in….a seat at the back of the bus? Did it pledge that I would never be called by my name; only to be referred to as boy or girl, even though I was your elder? Did it pledge that while I sang and prayed to God in my church home with my family, that you in your hood would set fire that would burn my body eternally? Switching voting booths, causing confusion, asking questions that made no sense, denying my voice be heard under false pretense?
Did that flag pledge, life and liberty, that people of all colors and backgrounds are treated equally? What does it pledge now that I take a knee because my brothers and sisters are slain by police brutality.
I’m often baffled and angered by those who are offended by the words, “Black Lives Matter”. It strikes me funny that a people who have been oppressed and victimized since they were taken from their mother land, have to now fight and defend their right to want to live without being extinguished by the hatred and contempt that so many feel. How is it that you don’t understand why those words are chanted? They, are words of inclusion but they are easily dismissed and not even thought about; except as an inconvenient reminder, that we too deserve the right to freedom and equality, in every single aspect of life.
Did the flag pledge, Black and Tan, Brown and Red, that no matter where you come from, there’s no need to dread, angry mobs that have guile and poison swirling in their heads?
Did it pledge that my leaders’ first amendment rights would be protected? That Martin’s dream could be connected, to hope and faith of a different kind of vision, or did it pledge the bullet which took him to another dimension? Did it pledge that Medgar could go home to his family, or that in his own yard, his life would end tragically? Brother Malcolm began to turn the other cheek but into the Audubon you did sneak. Not to take a peak but to silence the hope of another because you’re too weak…to hear something so strong, from my now deceased brother!
Did it pledge drugs in inner cities that would have me hooked, too out my mind to take a look at a book that would tell me who I really was…cuz, I’m lost but you knew that and to this day, you don’t give a crap…. about my life and the direction it’s taking for it was never in the making…for you to treat me like a human with an equal right! For our life we still fight! You have the nerve to be offended, when our lives YOU up ended!
I pledged allegiance to the flag! But tell me honestly. What. Did. The. Flag. Pledge. To. Me?!