It’s all President Herbert Hoover’s fault, that wonderful man who brought us the Great Depression. He’s also the one who signed a 1931 Senate bill officially adopting The Star-Spangled Banner as America’s national anthem.
Mind you, efforts had started as early as 1916 to shove this little diddy down Americans’ throats, but those early Congresses had more sense, rejecting the initiatives on the grounds that, “The song is too high-pitched to sing.” (I bet you these earlier guys had great parties with fantastic music, as opposed to the 1931 Congress, where they probably still played Old MacDonald Had a Farm at their social events.)
Based on Francis Scott Key’s 1814 poem about a battle in the War of 1812 against the British (the defense of Fort McHenry in Baltimore), the words were later put to the tune of a popular British song entitled The Anacreontic Song. Yes, our national anthem, which is based on a major victory over the British, is sung to a British tune.
Did anyone really think this through? Plus, bombs aren’t supposed to be bursting in air. They’re supposed to be bursting on their targets, which at that time didn’t include airplanes.
A reliable study hasn’t been conducted yet, but anecdotal evidence shows that the extreme cases of violent anti-social behavior we’ve seen beginning in the mid 20th Century and continuing through today is the result of forcing young school kids to sing this monstrosity every day during their formative years. You just can’t sing this thing, so every morning, we’ve been forcing failure on America’s beloved youth, resulting in mental distress leading to severe mental illness.
We can fix this problem, and I think it’s a big one, but only if America and our leadership take a stand now. Slogans like Write That Song! might help, and red MOAG (Make Our Anthem Great) hats.
Maybe a new, hipper song will also get those NFL players to stand up, and I don’t even care which new tune is selected, because anything has to be better than the one we have now. Perhaps we can select a new song through a special edition of America’s Got Anthem, or a referendum in 2020 so the people can decide for themselves. (I wouldn’t even include an option for keeping it the way it is. Anyone who votes that way doesn’t deserve to vote in the first place.)
The evidence and public sentiment are overwhelmingly there that The Star-Spangled Banner has to go. Need more proof? Consider that the song actually consists of four stanzas, but it’s so bad, we only sing the first one. (And if you think that one is bad, you have to see the other three.)
So come on, folks. Let’s get things moving for a new national anthem. Maybe something you can dance to, with lyrics that match our 21st Century language, sensibilities, principles, and soul.
And since I’m not a great singer, for God’s sake, please make it something easy to sing.
Editors note: I can sing our National Anthem, but only in A flat major. Unfortunately most play it in B flat, which makes me squeak like a little girl…