May 2, 2006

America worship?

Perhaps I am alone on this, but I find the entire hubbub over the National Anthem in Spanish a trivial and unimportant event. Not only that, but it reminds me of the flag worship waving that occurs during elections, flag burning debates, and periods of zenophobia.

People act as if our flag, pledge and anthem are the foundations of our culture. They aren't. Not even close. They are simple (and sometimes powerful) symbols of our country. But the foundation is our Constitution that supports free speech, assembly, religious practice, and the rule of law (last part not applicable in Bush America). Our constitution is the envy of many, and clearly a brilliant document. The flag? Manufactured in China and other places by exploited labor. The anthem? A former drinking song and musically marginal piece (imho). Not trivial, but not the point either. Our system is what separates us, not our damn anthem. Hell, if we have to compete there, the French anthem beats ours hands-down.

This symbol worship always scares me as it has fascist overtones. After all, it certainly doesn't require a democratic system to produce flag-waving, nation-chanting crowds of people.

Let's keep our eye on the ball. Our governmental system is worth protecting. Get mad about Bush ignoring 750 laws that he signed. Get mad that the NSA is wiretapping people without warrants. Someone singing the National Anthem in Spanish shouldn't even make the news.

Update. Check the comments. Mary and I both added links to show that a) this is far from the first time that the National Anthem has been sung in Spanish. The government (ours) commissioned just such a thing in 1919, and Bush himself had the anthem sung at his first inaugural and sang it himself one time--yes, in Spanish. Seriously, I am starting to wonder if these guys can tell the truth at all.


Wasp Jerky said...

Sorry to be completely off topic here, but I thought you'd want to know that Scott Miller will be in Oklahoma City playing a solo acoustic show at the Blue Door on May 20th.

Streak said...

thanks a lot. I am absolutely interested and believe I had checked the blue door schedule very recently.

mary said...

The furor is especially absurd considering that the government commissioned a Spanish translation, La bandera de las estrellas, back in 1919! Think Progress has that story, as well as some stuff on the fact that Bush didn't seem to object to this on the campaign trail. It's absolutely a smokescreen, and a diversion.

Streak said...

It is even worse than that, Mary. Bush had it sung in Spanish at his first inaugural. Oh, and then there was this time when Bush actually sang it in Spanish. Oh, and let's not forget all the Spanish language ads that the Republicans (and Dems) have used, including the ones in Nevada where they blame Democrats (falsely) for wanting to make illegal aliens into felons. Jeesh, do these guys ever tell the truth?

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- You're on a roll lately! If you haven't read it, check out Greg Palast's article. Palast's point about the wrong targets can be stretched to lots of different areas, including the anthem. People are finally feeling pissed off it seems, and they appear to need targets for their anger. Unfortunately, as you point out, the cross-hairs are falling on targets that have little meaning if people are interested in real, substantive change. Like Palast says, though, Bush has to be tickled pink at all of the clutter getting shot at instead of him.

As an aside, is it not sickly appropriate that the US national anthem is a militarily themed one? I'd love to know if there's any good psyche study on that one. Rockets, bombs, and the flag. If a national anthem is intended to reflect the character of a nation, maybe it's time to contemplate whether or not this one, in any language, is the appropriate theme for our third century.