20 September 2016

American Anthems

As a follow up to yesterday's post on Colin Kaepernick and his protests during the playing of the national anthem . . .

I confessed to being a fan of neither the NFL, the playing of the national anthem before its games, nor even of the choice of the Star Spangled Banner as our national anthem. The song is difficult to sing, the subject and circumstances are too narrow (War of 1812), and one verse that we never sing laments the fact that the British instigated slave revolts in enhance their war effort.


The best alternative probably is America the Beautiful. Yes, it mentions God's grace, but any conservative atheist or agnostic can live with that. It even ties God's grace to a traditional conservative idea: liberty under law:


America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!





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Of course, progressives might object to things like God and liberty under law. They might say that while they, too, believe in God, liberty, and law, they would never "force" them on anyone. After all, they say,  pluralism and autonomy must be our nation's highest values. So in the name of pluralism and autonomy, perhaps every individual should be able to choose his/her/trans (etc. etc.) own national individual anthem.


Below, an anthem for American progressives:








We cannot leave out those "fellow travelers" of the conservative movement: neo-conservatives and libertarians.


Below  an anthem for our neo-conservative and libertarian friends, paying homage to another set of values, or at least another way of thinking about them:









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