On This Solemn Day

When I was eight years old, I wrote to the President of the United States–Jimmy Carter, at the time–asking him to change the national anthem from “The Star Spangled Banner” to “America the Beautiful” (I think it was) on the grounds that the former was unbecomingly and demoralizingly war-loving. The White House wrote back a polite but non-committal response, pointing out that the anthem was what it was through an act of Congress, and suggesting that I take the matter up with my local representative, Dean Gallo, a flag-waving war monger eager to start a war with just about anyone. I never did.

Until now. Suggestion(s) below. “Anything Goes” is Cole Porter’s madcap 1934 musical whose antics take place on a ship, the SS American, bound for London. That all seems appropriate, since, with the likely acquittal of Donald Trump on impeachment charges, the ship of state is now bound, at least metaphorically, for an Americanized version of the Stuart monarchy and the British Empire. And Cole Porter makes a nice soundtrack for the jurisprudence of Alan Dershowitz. I know Congress is awfully busy today, but with any luck, some of its members might be listening. So, three versions of “Anything Goes” below, all suitable for this solemn occasion.

8 thoughts on “On This Solemn Day

  1. In my patriotic and Randian youth I actually wrote a piece (which I may or may not still have somewhere) opposing any change from “The Star-Spangled Banner” to “America the Beautiful,” on the grounds that the latter focuses primarily on features of natural beauty like “amber waves of grain” and “purple mountain majesties” that could apply just as well to the Soviet Union, whereas the former talks about freedom and poses its survival as a question.

    Nowadays, of course, the only anthem I seek for the u.s. is a funeral march. Any of the following would do:

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    • Leave it to a Randian to miss the “crown thy good with brotherhood” part.

      I still prefer “America the Beautiful.” Even at that early age, I think I intuited that nothing short of divine assistance would do.

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      • My mother always insisted that the u.s.’s only genuine anthem was “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” And I’ll admit, it has a high freedom content and a low war content.

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  2. You still have to give a shout out to Uncle Ray, whose soulful rendition of “America the Beautiful” is still.. beautiful, even if the US of A needs a major face-lift:

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