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Posted by Rick · March 12th, 2005 · 1 Comment

The National Anthem Project has started a program of workshops, school programs and public service announcements to get more people singing the national anthem. Seems most Americans don’t know the words; not a few don’t even know which patriotic song is our national anthem. Big surprise there. I wonder how many people even know we have a national anthem.

Still, I have some mixed feelings on this one.

John Mahlmann, executive director for the National Association for Music Education says,

We want to remind all Americans to cherish our national treasures and to celebrate our unity and our values in song. — Cowardly Unattributed Story, “‘Oh say can you,’ la la la” (March 11, 2005) CNN.

On the one hand, I have no serious qualms about this. Really. I mean, I’m one of those bizarre Americans who actually knows the song. When it plays, I sing along with it. And I don’t have to resort to “la la la.”

On the other hand, I can’t help but notice that the focus is on a song meant to inspire national fervor instead of a program to help Americans understand the foundational documents of our democratic republic that make justify national pride.

One of the first signs of fascism is “exuberant nationalism.” In fascist regimes, flags are seen everywhere; the use of “patriotic” symbols and slogans is omnipresent. Anyone critical of the State — even those who love the State and criticize because they want to improve it — is a traitor. We’ve seen that here where anyone criticizing Bush, the Republican Party and the way either of them handles civil liberties, national security and other issues of constitutional implication is “anti-American.”

In fact, I submit that nothing could be further from the truth. Those of us pressing for adherence to the Constitution are the real Americans; those pushing programs contrary to the Constitution are anti-American.

The problem for those of us who side with the Constitution, though, is that there are “all these ways” in which the anti-Americans are proving that we’re wrong. They’re teaching people to sing the national anthem. They’re “standing up for America.” They’re telling people to be proud to be Americans! The defending our way of life.

But wouldn’t it be something if, instead of focusing on getting America to sing the national anthem, there was a group out there pushing Americans to read the Constitution? Wouldn’t it be something if we taught little Americans in our schools about what “our way of life” was meant to be, when our country was founded? Wouldn’t it be something if we gave people the reasons to have national pride — and those reasons weren’t circularly based on nationalistic jingoism?

For those who do feel the need for jingoistic national pride embodied in a slogan, I’d propose this one:

Real Patriots Read the Constitution

Categories: The Decline of America


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Chepooka // Mar 12, 2005 at 10:31 am

    I love it. Of course most Americans don’t read *anything* … nevertheless the constitution. So I suppose if we slapped this slogan on the back of our cars, it would be viewed as “yet another example of liberal elitism”. lol

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