Many conservatives believe that the authoritarian left is currently engaged in a campaign to censor or destroy things they find “offensive.” For example, earlier this week, vandals celebrated Martin Luther King Day by defacing a monument in Maryland dedicated to the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Apparently, the criminals targeted the statue because the song is supposedly “racist.”
Specifically, unknown thugs in Baltimore recently covered The Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument, which features a bronze statue of two children holding a scroll commemorating the writing of the National Anthem, in red paint. Using the same paint, they also wrote the words “Racist Anthem” in front of the statue.
The writing scrawled in front of the statue appears to be referring to the song’s third verse. 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.
For those unfamiliar with the context in which the song was written, seeing the word “slave” in the song could lead them to believe that this verse is celebrating slavery. However, on Twitter, political journalist Kathleen McKinley pointed out that this interpretation of the lyrics couldn’t be more inaccurate, tweeting, “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
Shortly after the vandalized statues were discovered, the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks released a statement informing the public that they’re investigating the matter. “Baltimore City Recreation and Parks is aware of the vandalism that took place in Patterson Park,” they began in their statement.
“As caretakers of the Park, our Parks Maintenance Division is working diligently with the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) to assess the damage,” they added, nothing, “we understand the sensitivity of this matter and will work with City Hall and the Friends of Patterson Park to find a solution to this matter.”
In addition to the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, Mayor Catherine Pugh also released a statement about the act of vandalism. In it, she utterly condemned those responsible, stating, “while literally hundreds of Baltimore’s young people were demonstrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s example of service today, marching and making a positive difference in our community, it’s unfortunate that others decided it was more appropriate to vandalize the 103-year old children’s statue in Patterson Park.”
In her statement, Pugh also promised to hold them accountable for their actions. “We will, of course, determine the best way to restore the statue and hold those who defaced it accountable,” she vowed, noting, “in the meantime, this isolated incident should in no way detract from the wonderful spirit of generosity that was so evident throughout our City on this very special day honoring Dr. King’s enduring legacy.”
Sadly, the National Anthem isn’t the only work of art recently targeted by some people’s 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, according to experts. In context, it shows an empowered woman enjoying a trip to Italy.
Hopefully, police officers in Baltimore eventually catch whoever desecrated The Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument.