To many on the left, almost anything can be considered “offensive.” Just recently, for example, the new Democratic Mayor of St. Paul in Minnesota, Melvin Carter III, spoke out against the “Star Spangled Banner” Song. According to him, the song is essentially an “ode to slavery.”
Specifically, during his inaugural speech earlier this week, Carter stated that although he was “honored to have a locally-born musician present at his own Central High School to sing the national anthem,” he would only approve of the song if “all” of the verses were sung. “We cannot ignore the painful reminder, written into our anthem’s third verse, of just how deeply injustice is rooted in the American tradition,” he explained.
“Our national freedom song is an ode to slavery,” continued Carter, adding, “this is the American paradox, passed from generation to generation, dating back to the noble group of rich white straight male landowners who embedded into our founding principles a yearning for a set of God-given rights they sought to secure for only themselves.”
Carter’s comments are in reference to the song’s third verse, which very few people actually sing or know. It states, in part:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Carter is convinced that the word “slave” proves that the song is about celebrating slavery. However, on Twitter, political journalist Kathleen McKinley pointed out that his interpretation of the lyrics couldn’t be more inaccurate, tweeting, “good grief. The ‘hireling slave’ mentioned in [the] 3rd verse of our Anthem is not about slaves at all but British fighters.”
Along with the tweet, McKinley included a picture with more information about the verse. “[It] is a direct reference to the British practice of Impressment (kidnapping American seamen and forcing them into service on British man-of-war ships). This was a [sic] important cause of the War of 1812,” read the part of the image referring to the line about “slaves.”
Good grief.The "hireling slave" mentioned in 3rd verse of our Anthem is not about slaves at all but British fighters pic.twitter.com/1QkX82Mfdw
— Kathleen McKinley (@KatMcKinley) August 30, 2016
Sadly, the National Anthem isn’t the only work of art recently targeted by misguided outrage. A few months ago, for instance, a restaurant in Pennsylvania was pressured into removing an iconic photograph from their wall. According to reports, those who objected to the image wanted it gone because they weren’t comfortable looking at it.
Specifically, the Gran Caffe L’Aquila, which is an award-winning Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced several weeks ago that they will be taking down a black and white photograph taken by Ruth Orkin in 1951 titled, “An American Girl in Italy.” The image shows an American woman, Ninalee Craig, being “ogled” by multiple men while walking along a sidewalk in Italy.
While speaking with reporters about what prompted the restaurant to take down the photograph, Co-owner Riccardo Longo stated that over the past month, multiple people approached him and claimed that it made them feel uncomfortable. Others were reportedly so upset by what the image depicted that they “took the time to write letters” detailing their outrage.
What’s ironic, however, is the fact that the Orkin’s photograph, which was apart of a larger series originally titled “Don’t Be Afraid To Travel Alone,” was actually meant to empower women. In context, it shows an empowered woman enjoying a trip to Italy.
This is something that Craig has made clear numerous times when speaking with reporters about the iconic photograph. “At no time was I unhappy or harassed in Europe…I was holding my head high, as a tall stranger walking through the city. I felt strong…I was thrilled. I was having the time of my life…I was Beatrice walking through the streets of Florence. I felt that at any moment I might be discovered by Dante himself,” recalled Craig when asked by reporters if she felt scared walking through the streets of Italy alone.
“[The photograph is] not a symbol of harassment. It’s a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time,” she continued, noting, “Italian men are very appreciative, and it’s nice to be appreciated. I wasn’t the least bit offended.”
Clearly, many on the left need to brush up on their history. If they did, then they’d realize that things like the “Star Spangled Banner” and “an American Girl in Italy” aren’t as bad as they’re making them out to be.