News & Politics

Activist Suggests Replacing Our National Anthem With the Worst Possible Alternative

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

First, they came for the statues.

Confederate memorials, statues of abolitionists, a memorial to emancipation? It doesn’t matter to Black Lives Matter protesters. They want to tear them all down.

And it’s not going to stop there. Historian and scholar Daniel E. Walker is now suggesting that it’s time to get rid of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as our national anthem, in favor of something less problematic and “more inclusive.”

“The 53-year-old in me says, we can’t change things that have existed forever. But then there are these young people who say that America needs to live up to its real creed,” Walker told Yahoo! Entertainment. “And so, I do side with the people who say that we should rethink this as the national anthem because this is about the deep-seated legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America, where we do things over and over and over again that are a slap in the face of people of color and women. We do it first because we knew what we were doing and we wanted to be sexist and racist. And now we do it under the guise of ‘legacy.’”

Facepalm.

Activist and journalist Kevin Powell agrees. “‘The Star-Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key, who was literally born into a wealthy, slave-holding family in Maryland,” he explained. “He was a very well-to-do lawyer in Washington, D.C., and eventually became very close to President Andrew Jackson, who was the Donald Trump of his time, which means that there was a lot of hate and violence and division.”

Somehow, you knew there’d be a Trump connection to this insanity.

So what do they suggest? Walker says whatever it is, it must go through a vetting process to ensure the new anthem “doesn’t have a terrible past.” But Powell already has a song in mind: John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which Powell says is “the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.”

Umm, no it’s not.

First of all, let’s get to the root of why Powell likely recommended the song: Lennon himself described it as “virtually the Communist Manifesto.”

Despite some innocuous language about living in peace and there being no hunger, the song is full of themes that are un-American to the core: “Imagine there’s no heaven […] No hell below us… Imagine there’s no countries… And no religion too… Imagine no possessions.”

No morals, no borders, no God, no private property or ownership… So, let’s just call that a “no,” and move on please.

Lyndsey Parker, the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Music, suggests “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as a potential new national anthem. The song itself is sometimes called the “black national anthem.” Isn’t the national anthem supposed to be for all Americans? Does anyone really think that black Americans will want to share “their” national anthem with white America? Wouldn’t this be cultural appropriation? Do we really think that African-Americans will accept “their” national anthem as something that should be shared with white America? I highly doubt Lindsay Parker, who is white, thought this suggestion through.

Neither have any of those who seem to think that erasing American history is a great idea. No song will please everyone, no change will be universally accepted. So why try to whitewash history by changing the anthem just because some snowflakes are triggered by it? Regardless of whatever blemishes might be on the song’s history, the anthem is a part of America’s identity. Changing it makes no sense. In fact, some of the most iconic performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” have been performed by African-American artists.

Jimi Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock:

…and Whitney Houston’s performance at Super Bowl XXV in 1991:

I can actually still remember watching Houston’s performance of the national anthem at the Super Bowl. No one was offended. She sang it perfectly and some would argue it was perhaps the best performance of the anthem ever. Wouldn’t it be great to go back to a moment when people just stood up to honor our country and sang the anthem because our country is the greatest on Earth?

It wasn’t that long ago.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis

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