The Star-Spangled Banner became our National Anthem because Woodrow Wilson, another bigot, issued an edict making it so. Congress eventually rubber-stamped Wilson's decree.Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth waveO’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Monday, August 29, 2016
The National Anthem and Our False Patriotism
Break out the torches and pitchforks. It's time to lynch an American for acting like ... an American. I refer to NFL back-up QB Colin Kaepernick (he must be an Irish Muslim), who had the temerity to refuse to stand like everyone else and pretend to be a patriot during the singing of the meaningless National Anthem during an equally meaningless preseason game that his team lost. He should show respect to the Flag, they say. Move to Canada, they roar. Kaepernick was simply exercising his First Amendment rights, something a lot more important than a song penned by a bigoted slave owner while the British were burning the capital to the ground. It probably should be scrapped.
I am always leery of these forced displays of false patriotism. A true patriot does exactly what Kaepernick did. A true patriot goes to government meetings or gets involved in his community. He informs himself before voting and is willing to take unpopular stands if he thinks he is right. A false patriot condemns those who follow their conscience.
When I was growing up, I remember quite clearly how people vilified Muhammed Ali for courageously refusing to sign up for the draft. He was stripped of his title, prosecuted and condemned. Except by one loudmouthed Jewish broadcaster who himself happened to be a WWII vet - Howard Cosell. Cosell then realized and said that what really had people fired up about about Ali is that "he was black and he was boastful."
And so it goes with Kaepernick, another black man (his father is black) who does not know his place.
Oh but he disrespected the Flag, you say. How dare he! This reminds me of another time, when America was in its infancy, and Pennsylvania Revolutionaries required everyone to take a loyalty oath. Whiskey patriots would ride throughout the Lehigh Valley, looking to line their pockets with the assets of Mennonites, Moravians and Quakers. In 1778, for example, eleven wealthy Mennonite farmers were herded onto Northampton County Court and ordered to swear their allegiance. Because their religious scruples made that impossible, they refused. Their assets were declared forfeit and they were ordered to leave Pennsylvania. Of course, most of the money ended up in the pockets of a few officers.
And let's talk for a moment about the real verses in Francis Scott Key's Star-Spangled Banner. At that time, the British military was recruiting and using runaway slaves. Key, who in fairness did think slaves should be treated humanely, writes gleefully about slaves being killed by American bombs.
There is nothing remotely American about that song, unless you want to emphasize the ugly American. Nor should we be required to pledge allegiance every time we fart.
The whiskey patriots say otherwise, but any real patriot would understand and respect what this quarterback did.