This young man, Will Phillips, a ten year-old student in Washington County Arkansas is very, very impressive. He’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s logical and he is passionate about doing the right thing. This kid is awesome. When Will took his stand—or rather kept his seat—against a rote recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom until there really is liberty and justice for all Americans—including lesbians, gays and transgendered people, he had no idea that his small gesture of defiance would end up with him on CNN. But there he was and wow, this kid is just unflappable. He even looks smart, and that’s impossible to fake (Compare his countenance to Sarah Palin’s!) You can see the wheels going round in his head before he opens his mouth. And when he speaks, he speaks the truth. God bless you Will, go out there and make your mark on the world.
When you watch the video clip note how Will’s father, Jay Philllips, is obviously bursting with pride over his son’s principled act of civil disobedience. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, a private/public moment of great empathy Jay shows toward Will. Jay and his wife, Laura, are active supporters of the local LGBT community, and have clearly instilled a sense of right and wrong in their son and they, too, deserve a round of applause—make that a standing ovation—for having raised a child this fantastic.“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”If Will represents what the next generation is gonna be like, the next twenty to thirty years are going to get very interesting, indeed… at least if the smart people continue to have kids.
After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will’s mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.
“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’ ”
Will was sent to the office, where he was given an assignment to look up information about the flag and what it represents. Meanwhile, the principal called his mother.
“She said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge,” Laura Phillips said. “My first response was: Why? He’s not just going to say this because he doesn’t want to do his math work.”