Does America need a new national anthem?
via AP

Does America need a new national anthem?

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People have criticized "The Star-Spangled Banner" since it became our national anthem in 1931, and now the NAACP is calling for the anthem to be removed completely. Some argue it glorifies war and white supremacy―and let's not forget about that racist third verse. Religious folks complain it's too secularwhy not sing "God Bless America" or "America The Beautiful"? Plus, the song's huge range makes it nearly impossible to sing. Does America need a new theme song? 🇺🇸 

The Votes Are In!

The California chapter of the NAACP is calling on Congress to remove "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem due to its "racist" and "anti-black" overtones.

“It’s racist; it doesn’t represent our community, it’s anti-black,” Alice Huffman, the organization’s president, told KOVR-TV in Sacramento. “This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away.”

No one ever sings the third verse and now we know why. Can we get a non-racist theme song for America, please?

Critics say our anthem is just a crappy song. Dick Cavett called it "the most dismal, virtually unsingable dirge of a national anthem of any known nation." Many argue the lyrics glorify violence—especially in an age of global terror, do we really want to be singing the praises of "bombs bursting in air" and "the rockets' red glare"? 

When even professional singers struggle to pull it off, maybe we should reconsider "The Star-Spangled Banner." Isn't it important to have our anthem be a song people can actually sing?

Almost no one can sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"—even professional singers struggle to do it justice, with American Songwriter describing it as "a vocalist’s nightmare." But does the song's difficulty add to its greatness? When performers actually manage to hit that high note, it's a stirring, chills-down-your-spine moment, even for people who roll their eyes about the land of the free.

And some cultural critics argue that Francis Scott Key's search for the flag through the smoke of the bombs actually ends up being a perfect metaphor for America's quest to make good on its promise of freedom and justice, even through the haze of violence and genocide. As one non-U.S. citizen noted, "You guys have an awesome national anthem about the importance of being American even when everything is on fire/exploding."


Many conservatives are offended by the attacks on our national anthem.

Religiously minded Americans say "God Bless America" would make a much better national anthem. "America the Beautiful" has also been proposed as a more accessible, godly choice.

Populists, on the other hand, often propose we adopt the Woody Guthrie folk song "This Land is Your Land," which was actually written as a sarcastic retort to "God Bless America." And really, doesn't the greatest nation in the history of Earth deserve better than an English drinking song as its theme song?

For others, Whitney Houston's famous rendition of the anthem makes it a song worth keeping.

For others, context is everything. Jimi Hendrix, for example, managed to turn the song into an anti-war, anti-establishment protest.

Sure, it's melodramatic and over-the-top, but then again, isn't America?

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