My cousin, Butch, posted this link for the Star Spangle Banner rendition by Madison Rising on Facebook the other day, and mentioned how it was "badass".  The music begins tenderly, a caress to the American public, the intimacy of a people who are joined together by national culture.  And then it takes off, and most of images are militaristic, with the occasional baseball thrown in.

I've never liked this song and continue to be displeased with it being the "National Anthem" due to its constant association with war.  Though we usually only sing the first verse, I looked up the song in its entirety and you can judge for yourself.   Note the phrase at the end "then conquer we must, when our cause it is just".

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 thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

This song by Francis Scott Key is moving and the music is sweeping, but-

Who chooses when the cause is just?  And why do we think that "thus be it ever" that the "freemen shall stand between their loved home and war's desolation"?  War is not inevitable.  And it is our glorification of war that keeps that belief ever present in our psyche.

We've had thirteen years this go-round of constant militarization and it is everywhere: in our books, our movies, our songs, our tv shows, and of course, the news hour.  We see flag draped coffins often and lament with our neighbors and continue to glorify the idea that might equals right.  And now it shows up on our streets by our police against the people - those images out of Furguson, MO with the helmeted police-soldiers at the tops of tanks holding rifles against we-the-people.

It was not ever-thus.  There was a time without war, before history was recorded.  How do we know?  Archaeological digs.  More on that in a future post.  But know this, deep in your visceral being:  It is not our nature to be violent.



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    Renee has been around the block a few times and has some opinions on how we interact with each other. She's bringing over the blog posts from My Peace of the Earth, and will be adding more.


    December 2015
    May 2015