By | Been Written
Contributing Writer | Telegraph Local
Another month and another American tradition has come under scrutiny that may be one of the most important questions to be asked in recent memory: Should we really stop playing the national anthem?
The Chicago Tribune certainly seems to think so, saying “The widespread revulsion over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis May 25 has led to demonstrations in nearly 150 cities that have changed the conversation about race. Taking a knee in the context of those protests has become a gesture that indicates sympathy with the Black Lives Matter movement and a determination to improve policing in ways that respect the rights and dignity of all.”
But of course, most Americans have realized by now, that there’s more to the protests than originally thought, that a huge amount of the violence comes from other sources with far more sinister plans.
2020 sure has been a year to remember so far. In just seven months Americans have been witness to everything from pandemics to riots, from Black Lives Matter protests and subsequent, widespread riots to Kanye West announcing his bid for the presidency of the United States.
Yet there’s more. We’ve seen attempts to defund our nation’s police departments, watched as mobs have attacked and taken down historical monuments and statues, even throwing some into any nearby river that’s handy, all in the name of so-called racism.
Everything is being critically evaluated this year. We’ve read about food manufacturers eliminating or renaming some of their brands as not to offend anyone. Even national sports team names and state flags aren’t safe anymore.
But why should we stop playing The Star Bangled Banner? Any American history book will tell you that the tradition of playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events goes all the way back to the 1918 World Series, when it was played to help motivate the crowds in Chicago during World War I.
It proved so popular that the NFL decided to make it a permanent fixture for all of their teams at all games starting from the end of World War II.
So, why would people want the song to stop being played at events?
A Forbes article has this to say: Though most Americans recognize [Francis Scott} Key as the anthem’s composer, he was also a lawyer and slaveholder who once described African Americans as an “inferior race of people.” During his time as the district attorney for the city of Washington—from 1833 to 1840—he notoriously prosecuted the abolitionist Reuben Crandall in the aftermath of the 1835 race riot in Washington.
Fast forward over 100 years later to 2020, and we see sports team players taking a knee when the national anthem is played, in protest of what they call a “racist song”. We see the President of the United States calling said players “Son of a Bitch”.
There are even petitions going around to change America’s national song to America The Beautiful. In the end, it will be the American people, not the politicians nor the press who will decide what the Star-Spangled Banner means to them, whether the song survives through 2020 or not, and whether the last line of the song that mentions “land of the free” reflects all Americans or not.