Commemorating the US of Mythology*

Yesterday I attached a brief note to the post on the Parent Trigger (turning public schools into charter schools via parent vote) about proposed legislation in Indiana to limit and penalize “embellishment” when singing the US National Anthem, that lovely old hymn to violence against “unfair” taxation (freedom?) called “The Star-Spangled Banner” (catchy, anything with “spangles” in it has real style).  Here’s what the GOP rep said:

Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville is broadening her proposal for a state law on how the national anthem should be performed.
The proposal would require any performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in any public place be in its entirety and without embellishment.

She had earlier proposed a bill for the state education department to set standards for singing and playing of the national anthem at public schools.

Becker told a state Senate committee Wednesday that she believes such a law might not be very enforceable but would send an important signal about the respect the national anthem deserves.

A nation bent on respect, eh.  I wonder…

From The Guardian, “Karzai leads condemnation over video as US identifies marines

Afghan president Hamid Karzai and US defence secretary Leon Panetta have led a chorus of condemnation of American soldiers filmed urinating on the bodies of dead Afghans as “inhumane” and “utterly deplorable”.

The Pentagon said it has identified two of the four marines responsible for the latest in a series of abuses by US forces which is likely to further inflame hostility to Nato troops in Afghanistan and reinforce the perception that there is an institutional problem in the American military.

Panetta said he had viewed the graphic video of four US marines urinating on three bloodied corpses.

As they are filmed by a fifth soldier, the marines sigh with relief, laugh and make comments including “have a great day, buddy” and “golden, like a shower”.
“I have seen the footage, and I find the behaviour depicted in it utterly deplorable,” said Panetta. “Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”

Panetta should resign.  But then so should the President.  And Panetta and Obama should go to jail with Bush II, Cheney, Addison, Clinton (M/F), Bush I, Reagan, and so on.

But how much more do you need to see?  This nation’s citizens have NO interest in our Middle Eastern Occupation.

Speak out against it.  And stop giving the boys and girls fighting illegal wars any excuses.  In fact, they are all culpable in any court in the world that adheres to any semblance of “just war rules.”

Did you want to see the lyrics to the SSB?  It’s longer than you sing at ballgames, three more verses!  America likes to get to the point and skim over the details:

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 thru 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?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ 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!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Uh, oh–”then conquer we must, when our cause is just,”–that’s awkward.

I like that third stanza best though, especially “Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.”  I had no idea that good old Frances Scott Key was so berzerker for blood.  But patriotic song-writers and stenographers for the National Review seem to share the same tendencies.

*photo by cliff1066

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Douglas Storm is a host and producer for Interchange on Bloomington, Indiana's community radio station WFHB. "Why then do you try to 'enlarge' your mind? Subtilize it..."

2 Responses to “Respecting a Hymn While Degrading Being, OR Right-Wing Morality Bred in the Bone” Subscribe

  1. focus January 15, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    I was thinking about how I always liked “America, the Beautiful” much better. It was easier to sing, for one. And the lyrics were more evocative and more about natural beauty than anything else. So I looked up the lyrics to add here to contrast their stark picture of the bounty and beauty of America, in contrast to Star Spangled Banner. And I found the complete lyrics after googling it (on a boy/girl scouts page of all things). Here they are. They don’t seem to hold up as well for me after the first stanza. Maybe that’s why we only sang the first stanza in school. See for yourself:

    America the Beautiful
    Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
    Melody by Samuel Ward

    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    O beautiful for pilgrim feet
    Whose stern impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare of freedom beat
    Across the wilderness!
    America! America!
    God mend thine every flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law!

    O beautiful for heroes proved
    In liberating strife.
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness
    And every gain divine!

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    O beautiful for halcyon skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the enameled plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till souls wax fair as earth and air
    And music-hearted sea!

    O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
    Whose stem impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till paths be wrought through
    wilds of thought
    By pilgrim foot and knee!

    O beautiful for glory-tale
    Of liberating strife
    When once and twice,
    for man’s avail
    Men lavished precious life!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till selfish gain no longer stain
    The banner of the free!

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till nobler men keep once again
    Thy whiter jubilee!

    I have no idea what a whiter jubilee is. Maybe Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is a better option.

  2. Douglas Storm January 15, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    oh, man, focus, I hate that song!

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