LEBANON, Missouri- Ward 4 City Council candidate Wendy Abdulai issued a response Monday to questions over her patriotism after a photo surfaced on Facebook over the weekend showing her sitting through a Pledge of Allegiance recitation. The controversy also prompted Mayor Ray to put out this statement.
Here is what Abdulai said:
“My allegiance and patriotism to my home country has been questioned and I would like to respond that my first desire, if elected, is to serve the citizens of Lebanon. It has been said that “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and I promise to always support you and your 1st Amendment rights. I will never disrespect you for your choices and will always appreciate our differences.
My choice to stand or sit is not out of disrespect for our country or the amazing men and women who fought and died for it; just the opposite. It is due to disappointment over something we all should consider below our American values.
As long as there is one person among us who feels oppressed because of their way of life, their behavior or their political views, I will sit with them. Until there is justice, peace and genuine respect for all, I will sit.
The last straw for me, prompting my choice to sit was when my stepdad, a Veteran, went months in pain, unnecessarily, because he couldn’t get medical treatment due to red tape. We need policies so that Veterans can be seen at any facility, at no costs; that’s the least we can do for the sacrifice they make. Instead, they are treated like second class citizens having to drive long distances for treatment that is lacking and below par.
There is no ”liberty and justice for all” when our Veterans return home from war, and only provided hospital and outpatient care services as the VA defines as “needed”. We have Veterans dying or suffering from serious injuries as a result of delayed diagnosis or lack of treatment. We have homeless veterans due to extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to healthcare causing displaced and at-risk veterans to live with PTSD and substance abuse, not just across our country but right here at home in our own community.
So please, while I respect wholeheartedly your right to stand, worship, and speak freely, let us not judge how other people choose to honor the very men and women who fought and died for ALL of us.”
The polls open Tuesday morning, April 4th in Laclede County.