War, peace, freedom, and who the hell can sing the Star Bangled Banner, anyway?
Generally, I simply delete the hostile emails forwarded to me by bigots, homophobes, and fundamentalists, but occasionally they provoke my pen. Like this one, about the national anthem:
It is Time for America to SPEAK UP! After hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough! Nowhere did they sing it in Italian, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German or any other language because of immigration. It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written. NOT sorry if this offends anyone because this is MY COUNTRY - IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP. I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else … AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and GOD BLESS AMERICA! If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone -- YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!
OK, I’m American, and I’m speaking up! I come from a family of immigrants. Most immigrated a couple hundred years ago, but some have been here longer than that. I’m not sure how long, but they likely took the Siberian route.
And I’m speaking up! I live in Southern California, and I am becoming multilingual just by reading billboards. I’m not paying $85 a credit for it, either, like I did when I studied French and Russian. I’m getting a free education in a foreign language. Damn, this is a great country.
I’m speaking up! Our national anthem is filled with war imagery, and I’d prefer to intone something a little more uplifting. We had to sing The Star Spangled Banner in grade school. But I stopped by the time I was 14, because I gave some thought to what the lyrics meant, and I didn't want to worship war with my words.
That sender of the email is upset that these lyrics about bombs and war might be sung in a language other than English. But the way I figure it, the less people that understand the words, the better. I say, let’s make them sing it in Farsi or something, then even fewer people will get the bloody meaning.
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
Oh, say can you see,
By the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed
At the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched