by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
How many people know that the melody for this country’s national anthem, a song that is impossible for the average person, and many a damn good singer, to sing, was taken from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a British song about womanizing and boozing?
Seems appropriate, considering how it’s sung at sports events where people partake of enough booze to intoxicate a whole city for a year.
People may hold the song in great esteem these days, but the “Star Spangled Banner” is really the Rodney Dangerfield of national anthems. It hasn’t always gotten respect at sporting events since first being introduced at a Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox game at the 1918 World Series, years before it was even the country’s official anthem.
Throughout the years, reactions have been mixed to the “rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air.” By the mid-50s, people in the stadiums were outright ignoring the song, which caused some in the sports world to complain that these fans were being disrespectful and distasteful. Even now, not everyone in the bleachers unglues their eyes from their cellphones when the national anthem is sung.
So, it’s strange that people get so upset when someone such as SF 49er Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand during the song. Kaepernick has a good reason not to stand. One that’s protected under the “freedoms” we supposedly enjoy in this “land of the free and home of the brave.”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media’s Steve Wyche. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The right wing sees his action as somehow disrespecting the men and women in this nation’s military. Which makes no sense at all. It’s not the military's anthem. It’s the anthem of the country. Of we the people. Though I want nothing to do with any anthem that glorifies war. So it’s not my anthem. My anthem would be more akin to “Imagine” by John Lennon.
Kaepernick joins a long list of public figures, as reported by The Washington Post, who have supposedly disrespected god and apple pie and motherhood by doing something inappropriate to or during the song. They included Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a player who sat it out (it cost him his career), Beyoncé, a singer who lip-synched it (who can blame her?), and Roseanne Barr, a comedienne who shrieked the words and grabbed her crotch (maybe she thought she was in the locker room).
People who call what Kaepernick did “un-American” don’t have a clue as to what this country supposedly stands for — the right to stand while everyone else sits. The right to have a different view. The right to make a political statement anywhere, at any time, no matter how unpopular it is. If you don’t believe that, then, honestly, what country do you think you live in?
The country should be addressing the issues Kaepernick raises and not worrying about who stands or sits during a sports event.