It is so easy to criticize, ostracize, and vilify  anyone not displaying conformity and making a political stand when everyone else is going through the motions with varying levels of conviction and hypocrisy. What are these righteous naysayers doing? Are they being supportive and involved in their area schools when a student sits out because they refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?  Are they involved when children are being bullied for being different? Why do they continue to take a stoic stance when one burns the American Flag?  Are they doing enough to understand the motivation as to why refusing to stand during the National Anthem should not be considered a test of loyalty to a country and an exercise in insincerity? Why is affection for a country and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for it be confined to only a few minutes long rendition of a song or a recitation of allegiance? Is there anyone willing to positively address issues like that? And if there aren’t, what are the reasons why?

The truth is most people aren’t doing anything and not enough of anything to voice an opinion. Yet these same judgmental people have all the answers for what others should be doing and how they should do it. If more effort was put into standing up for others rather than evaluating others actions, this world would be a different place.

The social pressure to stand and to conform is so strong. Individual freedom is based on choice. Religion and expression freedoms are non-existent when you fail to guarantee freedom from coercion and remain silent to inequities. There is a quiet respect for someone who has the courage to take an unpopular stand, own it, and is willing to live with the consequences of their actions. That doesn’t mean you should agree with the method they used to make their stance.  You can’t use a negative stance to respond to negativity and call it a positive.  Use your name and platform to stand and raise positive awareness for an issue, especially if you know you have major influence.  When that platform is created, everyone should be able to analyze and discuss why the stance was made, why it was necessary, and what prompted the stance.  Make a bigger impact and donate time and money to raise awareness.  Don’t allow others the privilege of defining you by their standards and criteria before allowing you the right to raise your voice on an issue and succeed in bringing attention to it.

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