First they came for Confederate statues. That may have made you feel a bit weird, but most Americans have conflicted feelings about the South and the Civil War anyway. So, you likely didn’t make too much of a fuss.
Then the left came for Founding Fathers, like Washington and Jefferson, or men like Lincoln, all because they represent some form of “white supremacy.” That seemed a bridge too far, but you figured the mania would die down.
Now, the left is coming for Francis Scott Key’s hymn to America.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the California chapter of the NAACP is calling for the removal of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.
And, given the state and the cause, you may not be surprised that a particular unemployed former NFL quarterback is being mentioned by supporters of ditching the anthem.
The Bee reports that the California NAACP “began circulating among legislative offices two resolutions that passed at its state conference in October: one urging Congress to rescind ‘one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon’ as the national anthem, and another in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who launched a protest movement against police brutality among professional athletes by kneeling when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was played before games.”
“We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick,” said Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP. “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed.”
Well, first, it’s worth noting they may have had better luck getting Kaepernick back in the league if they circulated resolutions calling on the former 49ers quarterback to stop sabotaging his own chances at landing a job in the NFL (or perhaps a resolution that rechristens “interceptions” as “redistributionist passes.”)
Second, Kaepernick’s reasons for protesting the anthem are actually different from the NAACP’s. For his part, Kaepernick was protesting social injustice or something and police brutality blah blah blah Fidel Castro yadda yadda yadda Black Lives Matter or whatever.
The California NAACP, to its marginal credit, actually has a substantive problem with one of the later verses in the anthem, even though most Americans don’t know it exists since it never gets sung at sporting events (or anywhere, really):
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave.
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
“Some interpretations of the lyrics conclude that they celebrate the deaths of black American slaves who joined British troops during the War of 1812 to gain their freedom,” the Bee reports.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” writer Francis Scott Key was a slave owner, as were many prominent individuals at the time. Some recent historians have also tried to pin an 1835 Washington D.C. race riot and lynch mob on Key for (as part of his role as the district’s attorney general), arresting an individual who was distributing abolitionist material.
Huffman openly admits she drafted the resolutions in response to President Donald Trump’s call to fire players who refused to stand for the national anthem, which doesn’t make the NAACP’s effort to get rid of the song entirely sound very reasonable — or sane.
“Trump got in the middle of it. He blew it out of proportion,” said a woman who admits she’s trying to replace a song that’s been the official national anthem since 1931 over a tossed-off line by the president during a campaign rally.
Instead, she says it’s time to find an anthem that isn’t “another song that disenfranchises part of the American population.” Let me be the first to recommend “The Ketchup Song” by Las Ketchup, because if we’re going to go ridiculous on this one we might as well go all the way. It’s in Spanglish, too, so you’ve got the inclusivity thing going on.
Thankfully, the NAACP effort has no chance of having any real effect whatsoever. However, it’s yet another reminder that the slippery slope of revisionism is a very real thing.
There’s been plenty of hyperbole used when it comes to toppling Confederate monuments or throwing fake blood on the statues of former presidents, but this takes it to a new level. Calling the national anthem “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon” — as if it were a tune lifted from a minstrel show — is nuclear-level hyperbole.
And you know what? It’s not like we can say we weren’t warned.