News from Patrick Flynn

To kneel or not to kneel?

I read an interesting opinion piece in the paper this morning, which posited that a white NFL player taking a knee during the national anthem would be an important step in advancing the conversation begun by Colin Kaepernick.

I’m no NFL athlete, just a minor local official, but I can’t help but wonder about this idea. During my junior high and high school years I had an African-American classmate who lived in the AHFC housing across 9th Avenue from the Fairview Recreation center. It’s not like he was the only person of color I knew or spent time with – there were many, many others – but he was often the only African-American in our honors and AP classes. While I never asked about his family’s specific situation, I’m relatively confident their housing was subsidized. Over the years he became a study partner and a friend, and I was mightily impressed when he earned, if I recall correctly, a full-ride scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University, where he achieved an engineering degree. If memory serves, he went on to achieve a law degree and, last I heard, lives in the Seattle area.

He sat, respectfully, during our daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

I stood, hand over my heart, sincerely believing that I was blessed to be born in a community and country that, on the whole, was tolerant, inclusive and afforded everyone the opportunity to succeed. I still stand and hold my hand over my heart with the same belief.

Obviously, not everyone feels the same way.

During my senior year in high school I had the interesting distinction of being the only white kid on the varsity basketball team. As an Assembly member I represent the two most diverse census tracts in the United States. My friend, my team and my neighbors have all welcomed me into their lives and I feel a debt of gratitude. So, in that context, I pose this question:

Should I, at the September 27 Assembly meeting, recite the Pledge of Allegiance with my hand over my heart while kneeling as a show of respect for those who have conferred respect upon me? Your thoughtful comments are appreciated.



This contribution was made on Sunday, 25. September 2016 at 11:16 and was published under the category Neighborhoods. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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