Abolish "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the National Anthem

Abolish "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the National Anthem
A Libertarian has proposed abolishing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the
National Anthem of the United States of America on the ground that the
author Francis Scott Key was a slave owner.
This follows decisions to remove the picture of Andrew Jackson from the $20
bill on the ground that he forced the American Indians to leave the Eastern
United States and move to Oklahoma and decisions to prohibit the
Confederate Flag from being displayed on the grounds that they lost the war.
The Star-Spangled Banner was composed during a battle in the War of 1812
when the British unsuccessfully attacked Baltimore. The song contains an
objectionable reference to the American Indians in “the land of the free
and the home of the Braves”.
Sam Sloan

Sam, interesting. But without background from our local back and forth on the LPSF Discussion List, folks are going to wonder what you are talking about.

So, I take the liberty of providing such background, as this is a subject that truly interests me personally. Some head honcho of the San Francisco Unified School District proposed that a local high school named after George Washington High School be renamed, since Washington owned slaves. While this head honcho was at it, he also proposed that a school named after Robert Louis Stevenson be renamed also, since Stevenson was not relevant, being that his only claim to fame was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; he felt that Maya Angelou might be more appropriate.

So, "a Libertarian" (who shall remain unnamed) indeed suggested that the national anthem be abolished on similar lines.

What would George Orwell say about all this? They did not exist, they never existed.


The idea may sound far-fetched at first blush, and Sam got the part about the Indians wrong (the lyric in question refers to "the home of the brave", not "the home of the Braves"), but he is not the only one proposing it. This well-written column from Shaun King in the New York Daily News provides some interesting background on the national anthem of which many may still be unaware:


  On consideration of the song's pedigree, I'm inclined to agree. But perhaps we don't need to toss it out altogether, just rewrite the lyrics. A libertarian whose identity I've forgotten supplied a few years back an alternate keynote line that seems better suited to the current era:

"Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of 'papers, please', and of Liberty's grave?"

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

The part about "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Braves" was a
joke. Of course I know that the actual words are "The Land of the Free and
the Home of the Brave."
Nowadays the Washington Redskins, the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians
and I do not know how many others are being told they must change their
names because they are offensive to Indians.
Sam Sloan

:You know, it has four verses (congress eliminated the third in the 40's though). Mary Chestnut spoke of the crowd in Charleston at the end of the war singing all of them. The fourth verse is particularly interesting:

"Then conquer we must, when our cause 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."

"America the Beautiful" particularly comes alive when you do all the verses. It's worthy of consideration, and I think the female pedigree of the text is particularly attractive combined with the hymn tune "Materna." During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe was particularly effective because it played Jazz. Listeners realized the willingness to play the music of a country's marginalized people gave the news authenticity and credibility. It's a contribution of Black Americans often overlooked. Back to Ms. Bates, I commend the verse,

"America, America, God mend thy every flaw,
Confirm thy soul with self control,
Thy Liberty with law."

Personally, and as I mentioned in my radio interview with Al Franken years ago, I think the best national anthem would be "This is my Country." Born of the Second World War, It's cheesy and has a kind of gung-ho, cowboy feel, that makes relaxing light of toil. Y'all are way too serious.

Isn't the third verse what the Kaepernick controversy is all about? It refers to the "hireling and slave" of the opposing army because the British were deploying mercenaries and freed, or escaped slaves, against the US forces. Is there a link to a law deleting that from the anthem?
In Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, there is a large monument to Key with the complete lyrics of the "The Star-Spangled Banner" carved into the sides. Can someone drop by and check for proof that the words are still there?
Harland Harrison

No need to make a special trip to Golden Gate Park to find out if the reference to hireling and slave is still in the monument. According to Broke-Ass Stuart's blog, it is: http://brokeassstuart.com/blog/2016/09/15/national-anthems-controversial-slave-lyric-is-proudly-on-display-in-golden-gate-park/

In our effort to support Kaepernick, we San Francisco residents should get rid of the anthem because it talks about hireling and slave, rename George Washington High School and Francis Scott Key School, knock down the City monuments of slave owners since we are on a roll. Obviously, the next step is to encourage a Constitutional Convention to erase the part in the Constitution about slaves being three fifths of a person (imagine what damage Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 does to people's self esteem!). Perspectives of the past need not apply.