I have heard a lot of people complaining about how some rock star, and the fact that she prerecorded the national anthem. For some reason people think this was a big deal. I am not offended at all by the fact that she lip sank the national anthem. It is a major responsibility to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Presidential Inauguration. If when you are invited to become a part of history, you so choose to do so by lip sinking to a pre-recorded song, then so be it. I see no issue with that.
However, her rendition of the Start Spangled Banner does still offend me. This frustration of mine has been building up for a long time and Ms. Beyoncé is Unfortunatly the one who finally put me over the top. When someone is selected to sing the National Anthem, they have been selected to lead the crowd in honoring the lives, and the principles that have made it possible for the audience to take part in the event they had gathered for. It is not an honor to sign the Start Spangled Banner, it is a responsibility. Over recent years there has been a trend amongst those chosen to bear that responsibility, that really highlights the largest problems facing our nation.
Before I go into rant mode, okay before I got into hyper angry typer mode, a little back ground. The Star Spangled Banner, as we all know is a poem written by Frances Scott Key. It tells of the British siege of fort McHenery in the war of 1812. The poem was later put to music, a popular song of a gentlemen’s club of the day. The problem is that the majority of the song is far beyond the register that most people can sing. So we call the first part of the poem our National Anthem. The song was played at celebrations, such as the Fourth of July. Woodrow Wilson declared that it was to be played at military and other appropriate occasions. It is an up beat song, it is a march, it is a song that declares to the world the glory of the Untied States of America. Its proud bold notes fill our hearts with pride, its triumphant echoes, remind us of the sacrifices of the past. It is not a funeral dirge. The Star Spangled Banner is meant to inspire the pride of a nation, not lament the passing of some golden age.
Too many people who are chosen to lead us in the singing of the National Anthem, bastardize the meaning of that responsibility. They do not view it as a responsibility to the nation, but rather they see it as some great honor. A grand honor given to them because of how great they are, and how inferior those around them are. They view it as a chance to glorify themselves. To show off what they can do, to get attention for themselves, to show the world how great they are. They view it as an opportunity to satisfy their ego. They are there for the wrong reason. They slow the song down to a crawl, embellish notes, to show off how well they can add vibrato, and how long they can hold a note. I feel as though most of them should be given a mirror so they can stare at themselves while they walk out, so they can take in their unparalleled beauty. Then place a full length mirror upon the podium so that they can watch how amazing they look while they sing.
Our nation is sick, we are suffering from a disease that have toppled countless empires. We exist in an age where people ask what should be done for me, not what can I do for you. We live in an era where people feel as though the world is owed to them. There is no reason to try hard, or go above and beyond because they are entitled to the best, and will be given the best. We live in an era of self centered snobs. Self centered rock stars are praised, for how well they can draw attention to themselves, instead of how much they do for those around them. Age old traditions are cast aside because they are inconvenient, or fail to entertain us. It is this modern “go go age” that has brought us to this sad point in our history. Where we worry only about ourselves, and care nothing for the trouble of others. It is this attitude of look how great I am, that allows for the cruelty that we see in our day to day life.
Now am I saying that because these self centered, egotistical rock stars abusing the responsibility of singing the Star Spangled Banner, has somehow destroy our nation? Of course not, this is not the cause of the problem, it is a symptom, a sign of the rot that has befallen our grand nation. We have forgotten who we are, and forgotten why we are great. We have forgotten that while we are a nation of individuals, we are one people. We all have a responsibility to one another. A responsibility to each other, to be a friend, offer a hand to those in need.
The Star Spangled Banner, is a special song, it is as special in the world of music as the United States is in the world of nations. Just as the concept of man being able to rule himself, that the people should have the power in a nation, not some aristocrat chosen by some grand ceremony, the concept of a national anthem was unheard of in the world. Never before had a nation had an official song as its national anthem. Many had a song they could relate to, but none had one that officially was the anthem to their country. The Star Spangled Banner is a powerful piece, it has the abilities many dream of having. Our nation is a nation of kings. We are a nation of hard headed, and proud people. Democrats, Republicans, even those Crazy Libertarians (I’d fall in here), conservatives, progressives are all locked in a bitter conflict day in and day out. Red Sock’s and Yankees, Wolverines and Buckeyes try to rip each other limb from limb in an instant. Nothing can calm these bitter rivalries, but for one brief moment in time Republicans and Democrats, Yankees and Red Socks, stop their blood letting and stand united, one people, one nation, united not by uniformity, but by reverence to the ideals of our nation. United by a mutual pride in their homeland. What brought about this brief interlude of peace? The playing of the national anthem. It is a time for us to remember that while we may hail from different lands, have different ideas, our hearts are one. The self centered indulgences pompous singers does not do justice to this sacred time of peace and unity.
I cannot stand when I see these self infatuated singers stand up and sing this tear jerking lament of America Past, and then everyone cheers. I cannot stand when people have this idea that best is behind us and we might as well accept it. I cannot stand the celebration of mediocrity that seems to permeate the entirety of this nation. I long for the days when Americans dreamed of the boundless horizons of the future, rather than settle for the dismal limitations of the present. I know I speak of history fondly, but that is not because I want to return to those days, but because I want to learn from the past, to build a better future. I do that because I am not satisfied with where we are today, and do not want to waste time rehashing the mistakes and failures of the past. I want the Star Spangled Banner to once again be a song sung by proud citizens of an unequalled nation. I want us to take the lessons of the Star Spangled Banner and apply them to the world we live in. Build on the peace started in the one moment of unity, and move forward together.
so get off which ever rock star who lip sank the National Anthem at the inauguration, that was no insult, the insult was how they made the anthem about glorifying themselves, rather than uniting a nation for one brief moment of harmony.