Columnist: Time for baseball to get rid of 'God Bless America'
The New York Daily News columnist who claimed he got PTSD by firing an AR-15, has now penned an op-ed saying that Major Leage Baseball should get rid of the singing of "God Bless America' in the home half of the 7th inning.
"Welcome to the July 4 holiday weekend — when once again, baseball fans will be assaulted by the saccharine-sweet non-anthem 'God Bless America' at stadia all over this great land."
"But no matter which home team you root, root, root for, 'God Bless America' should be sent permanently to the bench," he added.
"God Bless America," was written by one of America's greatest pop music composers, Irving Berlin. It was popularized by radio star Kate Smith in the 1930's and became a staple at school concerts, campfire sign alongs, and other places where Americans gathered to celebrate their country.
After 9/11, baseball recommended that the song be sung during the 7th inning stretch. Most teams sing it during Sunday home games and on holidays.
But Kuntzman thinks the song is "schmaltzy":
"The Yankees still play it at every game, but most teams, like my beloved Mets, play 'God Bless America' only on Sundays or holidays. But even that's too much," he wrote. "Part of my outrage stems from ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts."
"Reality check, friends: 'God Bless America' is not the National Anthem. The only songs Americans should stand for are 'The Star Spangled Banner' and "Here Comes the Bride,'" he added.
The song is not only "maudlin," wrote Kuntzman, who drew criticism recently for claiming his first experience firing an AR-15-style rifle gave him post-traumatic stress disorder, but it also embodies everything that's wrong with America: "[S]elf-righteousness, forced piety, earnest self-reverence, foam."
And he is not alone in hating the song, according to a poll conducted by author Sheryl Kaskowitz, whose book, Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song, found that more than 61 percent of survey respondents said they didn't want the song played at games.
I partially agree with that sentiment. Singing one song at a baseball game is enough. Pop singers already botch the anthem, singing it like its either a funeral dirge or rock song. It's even worse with "God Bless America." Get back to the game already.
But I love the song itself. Everything that Kuntzman hates about it is reason enough to like it.
But the song is only an excuse for Kuntzman to attack his real target; patriotism. In recent years, the left has begun to equate the simple "patriotism" felt by ordinary Americans with "nationalism" - an entirely different emotion and one closely associated with fascism. We see it with reaction to the Brexit vote. "I am a European" really means "I am a citizen of the world and my country is no better than any others." The love of country felt by those of us between the coasts is derided as simple minded and even dangerous.
Kuntzman's attack on a great patriotic song embodies the left's continuing war against normalcy and tradition.