San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Keapernick has been dominating the headlines for his refusal to stand during the national anthem, and after a few days of controversy, we finally have celebrity opinion that none of us asked for.
Kaepernick thinks our country is racist, but one celebrity is taking the craziness to another level. Singer John Legend thinks it’s not just America that’s racist, the national anthem is too!
Via the Daily Caller
“For those defending the current anthem, do you really truly love that song?” Legend tweeted. “I don’t and I’m very good at singing it. Like, one of the best.”
“My vote is for America the Beautiful. Star spangled banner is a weak song anyway. And then you read this..”
Legend then linked to an article that claimed the lyrics of the national anthem “literally celebrate the murder of African-Americans.”
The verse he’s referring to is this one:
“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.
I (Matt Palumbo) personally think Legend is one of the most boring singer of the modern age – not a historian. The lyrics in question don’t mean what he thinks they mean. The lyrics were describing slaves hired by the British. As Carly Hoilman explains, “his [anthem writer Francis Scott Key] song is not about killing black slaves. It’s about fighting the enemy, be he a decorated British officer or the escaped slave hired to do his dirty work.”
Now, it is true that we no longer sing that stanza when reciting the national anthem, but that’s not because of anything to do with slavery, it has to do with the fact that we’re now allied with Britain. As Hoilman continues;
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “The third stanza is customarily omitted out of courtesy to the British.” To the British — not slaves!
Why is that? Because any human being with a moral conscience knows that the enslavement and degradation of others is wrong. Slavery is an ethical stain on the American narrative, but Key, though he owned slaves, wasn’t writing in defense of slavery — he didn’t have to. Slavery was for the most part a given during early 19th-century America.
So what point was Key trying to make, and why did so many people find it noteworthy enough to make it the national anthem? War is ugly, but if anything is worth fighting for, it’s the type of liberty and opportunity for which a country like America proudly stands. Darn right this song is militaristic. Because like it or not, ideas must be defended, especially ones as audacious and lofty as that of American liberty.
It was a nice attempt from Legend, at least. I never thought I’d tell him to stick to music, but I’d rather have him singing than commenting on politics.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]