Saturday, September 3, 2016

The National Anthem

I watch a lot of ESPN, and I watch the PBS Newshour.  I've heard a lot of the commentary on Colin Kaepernick's protest involving not standing for the National Anthem.  As a big fan of the 1st amendment, and of non-violent protest, I don't have a problem with his choice.  The media coverage has given me the opportunity to learn a lot -- I did not know, for example, that Francis Scott Key was a slaveholder, or that the Star Spangled Banner has a third verse suggesting that the US winning the battle will keep slaves in their rightful place.  Since Britain banned the slave trade in 1807, he may have feared that a British victory in the War of 1812 would have meant an end to slavery in the United States as well, though Britain did not actually ban slavery itself until 1833.  I also recently learned about the international day of remembrance of the victims of slavery and the UN statue that honors them. 

Since all the commentary seems to be about the protest, and not about the issues that caused Mr. Kaepernick's concern in the first place, let's take the conversation on a related tangent and ask, should we have a different Anthem?

If so, what should it be?

We have a lot of great patriotic songs available, so here are some choices, in order of those I like best.  My brother suggested two of them.  Please comment on which you like best, and why, or propose another song.

This Land is Your Land 
Woody Guthrie

Lift Every Voice and Sing
James Weldon Johnson

America the Beautiful
 Katherine Lee Bates

My Country  'Tis of Thee  (if you can get over the tune thing)
Samuel Francis Smith
Tune:  God Save the King

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Julia Ward Howe
Tune:  John Brown's Body

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Fortune Cookie

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.
Frank Zappa