A recently-resurfaced video sheds light on Johnathan Ryan Hernandez’s contempt for the American flag which harkens back to middle school.
Santa Ana City Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez has developed a reputation for his continued refusal to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. What many Santa Ana residents may not yet know is that Hernandez is continuing a two-decades old performative protest against the flag that first began when he was only twelve years old.
In a recently-resurfaced YouTube video from 2020, Hernandez claims it began as a means of personal protest against the war in Iraq– a gesture for which he was allegedly suspended.
“I remember I was in sixth grade and the war in Iraq was just starting,” Hernandez recalls. “As a young boy, something in me was just like ‘I can’t pledge allegiance to this flag right now.’”
Later, during the Santa Ana City Council meeting on October 19, 2021, Hernandez stated his refusal to participate was in solidarity with his late cousin, Brandon Lopez, who attempted to flee from Anaheim Police Department officers in a stolen vehicle and was fatally shot after a nearly five hour-long standoff.
“I see how people look at me when I don’t pledge to this flag,” Hernandez said. “Until there is justice, there will be no peace.”
His latest political preoccupation seems to be Israel’s response to the October 6th attacks from Hamas. Last month, he and Councilman Ben Vasquez introduced the Santa Ana Resolution in Solidarity with the Palestinian People in Support of a Ceasefire. In his end-of-meeting comments at the December 19, 2023 City Council meeting, he commented on the loss of Palestinian lives exclusively.
The ceasefire initiative which failed to garner support and has been widely lampooned as “pointless and divisive,” is being seen by some constituents as latest example of Councilman Hernandez’s tendency to use his office for ineffectual virtue signaling. From his now-predictable disappearances during the Pledge to grandstanding about a ceasefire the City has no means to enforce, Hernandez demonstrates a love for political theater which has yet to result in meaningful change or serve his constituents particularly well.
While none will argue that the Councilman is within his rights to engage in such protests, the gesture undoubtedly raises concerns about his respect for our national symbols, our law enforcement, our international allies, and the responsibilities that come with public office.