The self-righteous hindsight of the left exposes itself again as progressive writer Lawrence Ware suggests, “Put simply, we need a new national anthem…”
In an article published by The Root on September 12, Ware urged for the rewriting of the national anthem due to the “vicious legacy of who wrote this song and what it represents.” He referenced a Counterpunch article which argues that Francis Scott Key, the author of the national anthem, was a pro-slavery, black abusing, religious nut. To ask black people to stand for the national anthem, Counterpunch argued, is comparable to asking a Jewish person to stand for a song written by a Nazi.
The Root, Counterpunch, and other lefties have made the argument that the third stanza of “The Star Spangled Banner” clearly exemplifies Key’s disdain for black slaves. The last half of the stanza reads, “Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution. / No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, / And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” However, contrary to what progressives will argue, Key is not referring to the death of slaves in general, but the British Corps of Colonial Marines, former slaves fighting for the British. He does not celebrate their deaths simply for being slaves, but because they were fighting on the side of the British during the War of 1812, also nicknamed the “second war of independence.” Thus, their loss meant an American victory.
In addition to (incorrectly) citing this stanza as proof that the national anthem is actually a racist battle cry, lefties insist it oppresses blacks due to its racist author. While Key did own slaves and fight abolition, he also provided his own legal services to some slaves who attempted to gain their freedom. While those on the left are blinded by the fact that he was a slave owner, it’s remarkable that in 1814, when slavery was the norm, a white lawyer would defend African-Americans in court at all.
If the merit of the national anthem is judged solely based on context, should the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights be thrown out too? No. And that is because the unique principles they stand for still ring true today regardless of when they were written. Why are there more Africans coming to the United States today – freely -- than during the time of slavery? Because those documents instill the ideas of liberty, unity, and equality that allow the U.S. to provide a myriad of opportunity for all people today.
But Ware wants to change the national anthem from a unifying song for all Americans to a polarizing song that would “critique patriarchy and anti-blackness.” Among the list of 10 artists Ware submits to rewrite the anthem are Black Panther supporting Beyoncé and 2 Chainz, whose song “would be so unapologetic in its embrace of capitalism and excess that only an American could have written it.”
Ware also manages to fit in a jab at Donald Trump and conservatives. He lists Rihanna as another potential writer of our new national anthem, explaining, “This one is for the conservatives who think immigration is part of what is keeping America from being great. Despite what Trump says, the contributions of those who were not born in America have been invaluable to the development of this country.” Thanks for the lesson, Ware.
Ware also mentions Jazmine Sullivan, who claims would “sing the whiteness off that song.” Ah yes, Ware really captures the spirit of what a national anthem should be.