We are taught to stand. We are taught to put our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance to the United States of America. We do this in kindergarten classes and at football games and graduations and we do it because we are told to do it.
We are taught that patriotism is the only way-- that America is a wonderful country full of opportunity and hope. We are taught that our civic duty to vote is a blessing and that the troops keep us free so we can do it.
We are taught to wear yellow ribbons. We are told that these men and women are serving to "keep us free and safe." We prioritize soldiers on flights, ushering them quickly through the VIP lines because of "their great sacrifice."
And for what? What have they sacrificed for? What democracy is there for anyone who isn't white and male?
The American judicial system favors anyone with money or connections, not the innocent.
The American education system does not encourage free thought or critical thinking.
The American healthcare system prioritizes drug company profits over human health.
The American agricultural system favors the food industry profits over the environment.
So when I do not stand during your anthem, don't be surprised. When I do not celebrate freedom on the 4th of July, save your hate mail.
We are not the land of the free.
That man is not my president.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.