…I hate our national anthem.

Really I do. Do you hate me already? Does my saying that just make your blood boil? Do you have stars and stripes dancing before your eyes? OK. I understand it is a touchy subject as the song is synonymous with patriotism and the country and the heavenly-inspired Constitution to many people. Let me just tell you why I would love to have a different national anthem:

  1. The Star-Spangled Banner is hard to sing well. It covers a wide range and is particularly easy to sing very poorly. Especially a capella. And in a group (where people have different ranges). And let’s face it: a national anthem should be sung by groups and frequently a capella. We are just torturing ourselves.
  2. Most people don’t know the words. You might feel great about yourself because (you think) you know the first verse, but no one knows any others. Why not have a national anthem we like well enough to learn every verse?
  3. It is really long. This is probably annoying to other countries when they have to stand through it at the Olympics, but it also makes fifth grade band concerts pretty painful.
  4. A bit too War of 1812-centric–the text is quite closely tied to a specific event and time. It was not our finest hour. It just doesn’t make much sense to use that one instance to memorialize out entire history, culture, and country.
  5. It is about the flag. I like our flag just fine, I just want a national anthem that is about our nation. Let’s definitely sing The Star-Spangled Banner on Flag Day, but sing something else on other occasions.

There are actually plenty of other patriotic sings to choose from [incidentally, does any other country love itself quite as much as we do to have SO many songs about ourselves?] My personal favorite is “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” but obviously, we can’t have that as the national anthem lest the Brits think that they won all of our sporting victories. “America the Beautiful” is probably my next choice, although a lot of people know “God Bless America ” too.

What do you think? Can you get behind my revolution for a new national anthem, or are you happy with the one we have?

Jasper Johns Flag