The California chapter of the NAACP is pushing to ban “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, saying the song is racist.
“This song is wrong,” chapter president Alice Huffman told the station. “It should never have been there, and just like we didn’t have it until 1931, it won’t kill us if it goes away.”
Huffman has a point. Many people know that Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, when American troops defended Fort McHenry against a British onslaught by land and sea. But most people don’t know about the song’s forgotten third verse, in which Key glories in the suffering and death of black slaves who dared to fight for the British in opposition to their own captivity:
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.
On top of the song’s problematic origin and lyrics, it’s just not very catchy. For these reasons, we, the staff of Splinter, have decided that it is time for American citizens to choose a new national anthem. And while our new anthem probably won’t catalyze the struggle for racial justice, it could still be a banger.
Our humble submissions are below.
Dodai Stewart: “What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love” by Dionne Warwick
Katie McDonough: “Wakko’s America” by Animaniacs
Clio Chang: “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B
Alex Pareene: “Theme from Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name)” by Gary Portnoy
Jorge Rivas: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” by Selena (Jorge adds: “A Mexican-American from Texas singing the sounds her heartbeat makes to a cumbia song with hints of rock and reggae. Regardless of what language you speak, you can sing the chorus. This should be the national anthem.”)
Katherine Krueger: “Don’t Worry About the Government” by Talking Heads (Note: Katherine tried to submit “Fight Song,” but was summarily vetoed by the head of the New National Anthem Commission [me].)
Nona Willis Aronowitz: “Juicy” by the Notorious B.I.G. (Nona adds: “Unbridled joy, a rags-to-riches success story, shoutouts to Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis: very American.”)
Tiffani DuPree: “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi
Molly Osberg: “Pony” by Ginuwine
*** N.B. this heartwarming moment of unity at the end of the Pony music video ***
Aleks Chan: “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
Isha Aran: “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” by Sly and the Family Stone
Rafi Schwartz: “We Care A Lot” by Faith No More
Hamilton Nolan: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin
Libby Watson: “Frolic (Theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm)”by Luciano Michelini
Dave Uberti: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent (Dave adds: “It screams ‘America’ to me because it sounds cool, but also makes me wonder if I’m a terrible fucking person—in this case, for liking a song by Ted Nugent.”)
Emma Roller: “Work It” by Missy Elliott (I couldn’t decide between this and Hey Ya)
Jack Mirkinson: “I mean my real thought is that I hate national anthems and don’t think they should exist at all!!!”
What do you think should be America’s new national anthem? Sound off in the comments, Splinter fam!