Are you sick of the National Anthem? Is it an embarrassing pair of bell bottoms in the age of the string-bean tie?
If such are your thoughts, you’re certainly not alone.
As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, a recent poll found that more than 40 percent of Americans self-labeled “very liberal” want to change some basic national identifiers, including the very name of the country.
When asked about the Anthem, the percentage soared to 80.
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Yahoo Music Editor in Chief Lyndsey Parker’s on board — he recently observed that, given our “increasingly antiracist era,” the U.S. should “adopt a new anthem with a less troubling history and a more inclusive message.”
But what should replace the classic? Author and activist Kevin Powell has an idea.
As per Biography.com, Kevin’s “one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today.” … The author of 12+ books has “appeared in CNN.com, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ESPN.com and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer…”
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key, who was literally born into a wealthy, slave-holding family in Maryland. 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. At that time, there were attacks on Native Americans and Black folks — both free Black folks and folks who were slaves — and Francis Scott Key was very much a part of that. He was also the brother-in-law of someone who became a Supreme Court justice, Roger Taney, who also had a very hardcore policy around slavery. And so, all of that is problematic. And the fact that Key, when he was a lawyer, also prosecuted abolitionists, both white and Black folks who wanted slavery to end, says that this is someone who really did not believe in freedom for all people. And yet, we celebrate him with this national anthem, every time we sing it.
Kevin thinks black singers will soon refuse to perform the patriotic piece, and he’s got a superior alternative primed for rollout: John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you contrast:
Oh, say, can you see? By the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
“Imagine” is certainly a bold move — a hymn for a country that imagines there are none; a chant for One Nation Under God which believes in no heaven or faith.
According to Kevin, Lennon’s liberal lullaby is “the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.”
Bonus — we’ve already secured the official national performance:
So prepare for a new vibe in billion-dollar Major League Baseball — before the ump shouts “Play ball!” we’ll imagine there are no possessions. Will the hotdogs be free? What about your tickets? How about the clean-up hitter’s car? Maybe take it for a spin after the game. You’d might as well — we’re all just “living for today.”
On the other hand, I’m not so sure Francis’s lyrics don’t describe a modern America pretty well — “O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming, and the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air”:
They gave proof through the night that our Target was still there.
But whether we change songs or not, if some very loud voices have their say, big changes are coming.
The jukebox is being junked: As of late, America is singing a very different tune.
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