The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed Tuesday calling on the nation to cancel its national anthem in exchange for the song “Lean on Me.” The author, New York Times contributor Jody Rosen, likened the “Star-Spangled Banner” to a “crude relic, another monument that may warrant tearing down.”
This crusade, published by the fourth largest newspaper in the country, argued the current anthem is elitist, racist, sexist, and that the “average” American simply wasn’t intelligent enough to understand its lyrics.
Other songs such as “God Bless America” were considered by the commentary, but ultimately doomed to the pyre as their “uncomplicated patriotism doesn’t wash in 2020.” Long-time left wing anthem “This Land Is Your Land” is to be abandoned as well for failing to address land theft from Native Americans. “America the Beautiful” and “Lift Every Voice” also just weren’t modern enough for the leftist’s liking.
So, naturally, the Bill Withers’ hit, which is number 208 on the list of 500 greatest rock songs of all time, is the answer.
While these ideas come off like a parody of the left, the push to ditch the national anthem is hardly a joke. As Rosen is happy to remind us, Major League Soccer recently announced they would no longer be playing the national anthem at games when the sport returns. One of the largest monuments destroyed in the recent unrest across the country was a dedication to lawyer Francis Scott Key, the author of the “Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics.
The “Star-Spangled Banner” was written during the War of 1812. Trapped aboard a British ship while trying to free jailed American citizens, Key was forced to watch his country’s fort bombarded by the Imperial navy. The sight of the still-standing flag in the fort inspired his writing, which would became the national anthem. Later in his life, Key freed a number of his slaves, and represented current and former slaves pro bono as part of his law practice.