I am currently a student in a class called "Deviance, Crime, and Social Law" here at my college. It discussed all kinds of social and legal norms (and their violations) ranging from body modification to NAMBLA. Recently, our discussion was on an incident that took place at the Yankees stadium a few months ago. A group of people refused to stand for the national anthem and were consequently removed from the stadium despite the fact that they had purchased tickets.
While this act could spark a debate in itself, I would like to focus on the argument that ensued. For the sake of summing up this long story, the entire class felt as if they should have stood. Although some of them respected the fact that they should be free to do as they choose, they believe that their actions were disrespectful and rude. Some students flat out thought that they should be punished.
Now, for anyone that knows me, you know that I don't back down from my personal views. And I am incredibly active in discussions both academic and social. So of course I got involved! Because I sit (politely, quietly, and non-violently) during the Pledge of Allegiance. I have done this for eight years (since I entered high school). And that's my right.
But now I'm constantly being pressured to stand during my graduation commencement in May. Things like "It will ruin graduation!" or "How could you do that to your parents?!" or even "You should leave the country if you hate it so much!" are constantly being said to me. But you know what? It would ruin MY graduation if I stood up for something that I did not believe in. I'm graduating with 400 other people. I'm not making a protest. I'm not trying to ruin anyone's day. And I feel that if ONE student sitting during ONE part of the graduation is going to ruin your graduation, that's your problem, not mine.
But recently my dean, who is on very friendly terms with me, took me aside to ask me politely to stand during the commencement. I politely told him that I would think about it, but that I reserve the right to sit if I wish. I've been thinking about it for days.
What are your opinions? It's my right to sit. It would violate my beliefs and thoughts to stand. I would be disappointed in myself. But then again, it's only one day. And other people seem very bothered by the idea that I might sit. What do YOU think I should do?