On today's CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips went after
the kids who supposedly bully a 10-year-old boy who refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance because homosexual marriage isn't widely accepted. Some of his classmates allegedly call him names. Phillips's weapon of choice was name calling:
And a message to you boys who are bullying Will, shame on you. It's obvious you are jealous that Will is smarter and more well spoken than you are. Hopefully one day you will grow up and realize that you were being the wads, dork wads.
Phillips didn't say how she knows that Will is smarter and more well spoken than his purported tormentors. On Monday, she reported
that Will is "a terrific kid." So what makes him so smart and terrific?
That was answered
earlier Monday in an interview with anchor John Roberts on CNN's American Morning:
ROBERTS: A 10-year-old boy from Arkansas is taking a stand by sitting down. Will Philips is refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag in his fifth grade classroom until there really is, as the pledge says, liberty and justice for all. He says until gays and lesbians have equal rights.
Joining us now in an exclusive interview are Will Phillips and his father, Jay. They're in West Fork, Arkansas this morning. Will and Jay, good to see you this morning. Thanks very much for being with us. And Will, let me ask you first of all, when did you decide that you weren't going to stand up and recite the pledge?
WILL PHILLIPS, WONT SAY PLEDGE UNTIL GAYS HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS: I decided that I was going to do that the weekend before when I did it. I was analyzing the meanings of it because I want to be a lawyer.
ROBERTS: All right. So what did you decide in analyzing the meanings of it that caused you not to stand up and recite the pledge?
WILL PHILLIPS: Well, I looked at the end and it said "with liberty and justice for all." And there really isn't liberty and justice for all. There's -- gays and lesbians can't marry. There's still a lot of racism and sexism in the world, yes.
ROBERTS: All right. So you think that the country isn't living up to the ideals of the pledge and you took it upon yourself to sit down and not recite the pledge of allegiance until the country comes in line to embody the ideals that are embodied in the pledge?
WILL PHILLIPS: Yes.
ROBERTS: All right. So, your teacher, who is a substitute teacher at the time, was giving you grief about not standing up. This went on for a few days. What did you eventually say to that teacher?
WILL PHILLIPS: I eventually very solemnly with a little bit of malice in my voice said, "Ma'am, with all due respect, you can go jump off a bridge."
ROBERTS: Got you. All right. Let's bring in Will here again. Will, why is this issue so important to you that you would commit as your dad said this atypical act of juvenile delinquency?
WILL PHILLIPS: Because I have many -- I've grown up with a lot of people and good friends with a lot of people that are gay and I really -- I think they should have the rights all people should. And I'm not going to swear that they do.
ROBERTS: So what's the reaction been from your fellow students at school to you not standing up for the pledge and the views that you hold about this issue?
WILL PHILLIPS: Not very good. They've taken from what I said an assumption that I'm gay and the halls and the cafeteria, I've been repeatedly called a gay wad.
ROBERTS: A gay wad. What's a gay wad?
WILL PHILLIPS: I really don't know. It's a discriminatory name for homosexuals.
Roberts spoke again with the child's father briefly and then:
ROBERTS: He does seem to have very strong opinions we should say and obviously they are very reasoned out. We should say that he's an extraordinarily bright child. He skipped the fourth grade, went right from the third grade to the fifth grade.
But Will, as we prepare to leave you here, what will it take for you to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance? And I ask this question based on what we saw in the off year election just a couple of weeks ago. Same-sex marriage initiative was put to the test, put to the voters in the state of Maine. And every state across the nation where it has been put through the voters, it has gone down to defeat.
So, the Democratic process is taking place here, it seems to be something that voters at large do not support. So what will it take for you to return to saying the pledge?
WILL PHILLIPS: For there could truly be liberty and justice for all.
ROBERTS: And what does that entail?
WILL PHILLIPS: That entails everyone being able to marry.
ROBERTS: All right. Will Phillips, Jay Phillips, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll keep watching the story. It's certainly an interesting one.
ROBERTS: Wow. He's got his arguments down.
Yes, he certainly has his arguments down. But isn't a 10-year-old who asserts he's "grown up with a lot of people and good friends with a lot of people that are gay" worth a journalistic follow-up?
Not at CNN obviously. There it's just a matter of him being smarter, and terrific, and having his arguments down. And if other children disapprove, then they're nothing but wads, dork wads. Back in the day, Kyra Phillips must have been one tough cookie down by the schoolyard.