Time to say good-bye to the Star-Spangled Banner?By Richard Winchester
Has the time come to replace Francis Scott Key's "Star-Spangled Banner" as America's national anthem? Certainly the phrase "land of the free" no longer applies to this country. I'm beginning to wonder if "home of the brave" is also anachronistic.
Several recent episodes - Paula Deen's travails, George Zimmerman's trial, revelations that the IRS targeted conservative organizations, news (including reports on 8/16/13) that the National Security Agency has spied on citizens' e-mails and telephone calls, and now the Missouri rodeo clown's misfortune - highlight just how crimped freedom in the U.S. has become. Don't forget the steady stream of so-called "hate crimes" legislation that has been passed in the last decade or two, and the "speech codes" enacted by dozens of colleges and universities.
(These aren't the only indications that freedom in America means less and less. I won't even raise the issues of Eric Holder's Department of Justice's (DOJ) treatment of journalists or the Obamians' mania for regulation.)
Start with Paula Deen's case. Earlier this year we learned that, decades ago, and after being robbed at gun-point, the cooking diva uttered - in private - the N-word. Despite abjectly apologizing, Deen lost her gig on the Food Network and several other lucrative business arrangements. A publisher canceled her new book contract. Her life and career in tatters, Deen's been cast aside by America's "powers-that-be."
Zimmerman's situation is too well-known to require much comment. We need to recall that, shortly after Trayvon Martin died, a little-known office within the Department of Justice colluded with the Florida and national civil rights industries, the so-called "Justice Brothers" - Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - and compliant Florida officials in an effort to railroad Zimmerman into jail. After a jury acquitted Zimmerman, Holder joined with the "Justice Brothers" and the civil rights industry threatening to bring a civil suit against him. (Zimmerman and his family are in hiding, fearing for their lives.)
It isn't necessary to remind readers of the pall cast on freedom when government agencies like DOJ, the IRS, and NSA behave as Hitler or Stalin wanted. Now, our Dear Leader tells us these are among "the phony scandals" being trumped up by the GOP.
The facts of the Missouri rodeo clown controversy are these. On Saturday, August10th, at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, during the bull-riding event, a rodeo clown, allegedly named Tuffy Gessling, wore an Obama mask and a broomstick affixed to his posterior. (Rodeo clowns are individuals almost always attired in clown costumes, who try to protect thrown riders from bulls trying to gore and/or trample them. If it sounds dangerous, it is!) After the Obama-masked clown entered the arena, another clown with a mike yelled "This bull's going to get'cha, Obama!" Additional banter followed.
The crowd majority's assessment wasn't officially recorded. One individual, however, told the mainstream media that the spectacle was like a KKK rally.
Official reaction was swift. The masked clown was banned from Missouri rodeos for life. The Missouri State Fair Commission ordered the state's Rodeo Cowboy Association to crack down on anyone responsible for the stunt. All clowns, rodeo officials, and sub-contractors have to undergo "sensitivity training," which is like the "re-education" experiences the victorious North Vietnamese inflicted on defeated South Vietnamese anti-communists after Saigon's fall in 1975.
Mark Ficken, a public school superintendent and the president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, who was the radio announcer at the event, resigned to protest the incident. This has not, however, kept Ficken's employer - the Boonville (MO) School District - from launching an investigation into the affair. That may lead to Ficken's termination. (Will another life and career be ruined?)
Missouri's Lieutenant Governor, Peter Kinder, a Republican, denounced the incident as "disrespectful to POTUS." (Poking fun at presidents has been as American as apple pie, but not when this one is concerned, apparently.)
"Hate crime" legislation and campus "speech codes," criminalize thoughts, not acts.
What do these developments have in common, beyond the fact that each has resulted in constricting freedom?
Almost all entail government entities behaving more like medieval lords than public servants. America's ruling class, whether in Washington, DC or in state capitals, behave more and more like they - and not Jane or John Q. Public - are the ultimate arbiters of what's permissible in America.
Other than the IRS and NSA "phony scandals," race is the core of these incidents. If Martin had been white, it's unlikely that Zimmerman's name would be almost universally recognized. Almost no one, for example, has heard of Roderick Scott, a black man who killed a white teen, Christopher Cervini, in April, 2009. Scott was acquitted by a jury in December, 2009, on the basis of self-defense.
Unless things change, race will be the American republic's destruction. Either the race-baiting civil rights industry and their guilt-ridden white allies will impose a totalitarian thought-control regime on this country that will make Stalin's Soviet Union seem permissive by comparison, or there will be a backlash that makes George Wallace's movement like look an ACLU conclave.
The former may be the more likely outcome. Deen's, Zimmerman's, and the Missouri rodeo clown's cases indicate the U.S. has already gone pretty far down that road.
There is another commonality to the racially-charged incidents. In every case, pusillanimous government officials or business persons caved to the civil rights industry and their guilt-driven white useful idiots. Each time that happens, Edmund Burke's adage that "all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men [and women] do nothing" is reinforced.
When pusillanimity crops up again and again, one may also wonder if Francis Scott Key's claim that America is "home of the brave" still applies.
If you focus on our military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan there is no doubt that the U.S. has brave men and women who go in harm's way. Men like J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone S. Woods, who were murdered in Benghazi on September 11-12, 2012, must have been brave souls. Men and women in our police and fire departments, or who try to protect our nation's borders, as well as unacknowledged clandestine operatives in hazardous locations all around the globe, and rodeo clowns, fit the notion of bravery to a "T."
How, then, can I doubt that America is still "home of the brave"?
Look at our elites. When have we seen "profiles in courage" inside the White House? In the halls of Congress? Inside the Supreme Court (except for Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito)? Among the Joint Chiefs of Staff? In state capitals? In city halls?
Too many wetted fingers raised to the wind dampen one's inclination to believe that bravery is a hallmark of American politicians.
Moreover, what about the rest of us? Does the average American have the courage to stand up to the treatment meted out to the Missouri rodeo clown, or to the man who posted an anti-Muslim video on the Internet, who's been in jail without bond since last fall?
I'll still stand and cover my heart when "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays. But, I'll have my doubts.
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