Greetings! Anyone out there???
I was pretty stunned to hear of San Francisco 49'ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick's sit-down protest during the playing of the National Anthem in order to call attention to the ways African-Americans and other minorities are treated here, today, in the U.S. Certainly courageous in that he has let himself in for criticism for sure. What I really found troubling is the insistence by some that by not respecting the anthem, Kaepernick was disrespecting the military. In the article, he makes it clear that he is NOT attacking the military. I find the idea that we have to fetishize the troops just a bit troubling.. Certainly they make many sacrifices for us, but the more I learn about some of the abuses and the ill-advised conflicts we enter (or create) I certainly have more mixed feelings.
I was even more stunned when I read the article by Jon Swartz about the controversy in The Intercept. He writes of Mr. Kaepernick's protest and the National Anthem itself. I will NEVER think of it in the same way again. NEVER. And will never, ever feel the same way about Francis Scott Key again, EVER.
First, one of the keys in Swartz's article is verse 3 of the National Anthem. WHAT? Well, I knew there was more than one verse, and having sung choir must have sung at least some of the other ones. This article prompted me to look in my copy of the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal. What do you know? The first verse and the last verses only were there, as also seems to be the case when I checked out a newer version of the hymnal online. Swartz has a link in the article to a page containing all the verses. The disastrous passage: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” he [ Key] was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves. In the article, Swartz explains the background of this in the context of the events of the War of 1812.
Then there was Key himself. I knew he was a slave holder, but ---- read how he was indignant that a newspaper printed an article condemning the way an abolitionist newspaper decried how an African-American woman was treated by police.
In his conclusion, Swartz asks if that context is all just ancient history or maybe we might need a new National Anthem. Your thoughts?
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