In yet another sign of these tumultuous times, “social justice warriors” are now demanding that “The Star-Spangled Banner” be replaced as the national anthem. One proposed replacement is John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Indeed, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is difficult to sing. Sopranos struggle with “twilight’s last gleaming” and “gallantly streaming.” Basses screech through “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”
A Song Born in Battle
However, the song’s amazing story has endeared it to generations of patriotic Americans. It was written while the War of 1812 raged. On the night of September 13-14, 1814, Francis Scott Key – a Baltimore attorney – observed the twenty-five-hour British bombardment of his city and nearby Fort McHenry. He feared the worst as the British had recently burned the White House and Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The rest of the story is well told in Smithsonian Magazine. “’It seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone,’ Key wrote later. But when darkness arrived, Key saw only red erupting in the night sky. Given the scale of the attack, he was certain the British would win. The hours passed slowly, but… on September 14, he saw the American flag—not the British Union Jack—flying over the fort, announcing an American victory.”
The flag that flew over the fort is now one of the Smithsonian Institution’s most prized artifacts.
Mr. Key wrote a poem about his experiences that evening. It was set to the tune of a British song composed about a century earlier, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Over the course of the nineteenth century, the song unofficially gained anthem status. Congress designated it as the national anthem in 1931.
The Case against Francis Scott Key
Many proposed replacing the anthem because of its martial tone and musical difficulty. The most suggested substitutes are “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” The left’s preference has long been Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”
The quest for replacement gained a special impetus in the summer of 2020. The target was not the song but the songwriter. On June 19, the cultural vandals gave free rein to their destructive urges in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, toppling of Francis Scott Key’s statue and those of Saint Junipero Serra and Ulysses S. Grant.
Protesters hate the “The Star-Spangled Banner” because it was written by Francis Scott Key, who was born into a wealthy slaveholding family. Arguing that nothing good can come from the pen of a slaveholder, the left demands that “The Star-Spangled Banner” must be toppled like the author’s statue.
Yahoo! Music cites “activist and journalist” Kevin Powell him as an expert on Francis Scott Key. One reason he gives for rejection the anthem and its author is because Key was “very close to President Andrew Jackson, who was the Donald Trump of his time, which means that there was a lot of hate and violence and division… and Francis Scott Key was very much a part of that.”
An Imaginary World
Mr. Powell uses a similar level of logic in arguing for “Imagine” as a replacement. The song summed up the aspirations of the disastrous “sexual revolution.” Mr. Powell exudes that it is “the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.”
If “all-backgrounds-together” means atheists, communists, and globalists, then “Imagine” is perfect. Its vision of a world without possessions, countries, heaven or hell coincides perfectly with the leftist make-believe world.
Those who love God, the family and virtue know that John Lennon’s utopia is an unimaginable nightmare. Like the French Jacobins that they so much resemble, the radical leftists want to tear down everything. They present modern society with only two alternatives – submission or annihilation. Any attempt to compromise is futile. Nothing traditional will be permitted in their “perfected” society.