The Kaepernick Conundrum

Read the original lyrics of our national anthem here: The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics

The third stanza is the root of Kaepernick’s conundrum

star spangled banner third chorus - the kaepernick conundrum

There is no better explanation of the references to hirelings and slaves in the third stanza than this opinion piece published by CNN. I quote the central text and you can read it in its entirety via the link below.

CNN: ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ critics miss the point | By Mark Clague, Updated 11:15 PM ET, Wed August 31, 2016

“The Star-Spangled Banner” in no way glorifies or celebrates slavery. The middle two verses of Key’s lyric vilify the British enemy in the War of 1812, what Key refers to in Verse 3 as “hirelings and slaves.” This enemy included both whites and blacks, largely British professional soldiers (hirelings) but also the Corps of Colonial Marines (slaves). The Colonial Marines were escaped black American slaves who joined British forces because of the promise of freedom in return for fighting their former masters.

Fortunately, Britain honored this promise after the war, relocating the former slaves and their families to Halifax and Trinidad. For Key, however, the British mercenaries were scoundrels and the Colonial Marines were traitors who threatened to spark a national insurrection.

The graphic language of Key’s denunciation of this British enemy led to the removal of Verse 3 in sheet music editions of the song in World War I, when the United States and Britain became staunch allies.

Yet in 1814 Key’s lyric honored American soldiers both black and white. “The Star-Spangled Banner” celebrates the heroes who defended Fort McHenry in the face of almost certain defeat against the most powerful gunships of the era. America’s soldiers included mainly whites, but also free and escaped blacks. Escaped slave William Williams served in the US infantry at Fort McHenry and was killed by a fragment of a British bomb. Another escaped slave, Charles Ball, writes in his memoirs of being among the American soldiers of the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla who courageously repelled a night attack and saved the city. “The Star-Spangled Banner” thus honors American military heroes, black and white, without regard to race. In this respect, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not racist.

I remind you the above opinion came not from a conservative news source but CNN.

No doubt Colin Kaepernick is a victim of biased, liberal educators commonly found on college campuses throughout America.

This is an opportunity for me to inject my reason for supporting the Texas State GOP platform plank for School Choice, Texas GOP 2016 Platform [item no. 147].

The vast majority of families will continue to send their children to public schools and universities. There are families like my own that want our children and grandchildren to know our full and complete national history; the good, the bad, and the ugly. We want our offspring to think critically, to research original documents, and to be able to debate both sides of issues.

Colin Kaepernick’s jaundiced understanding of American history is the product of historical revisionism. Former President Barack Obama was likewise educated by leftists, communists, and atheists.

Elections have consequences, good and bad. If we allow statists – persons who subscribe to the belief that the state knows what’s best for you at the expense of your liberty – to legislate contrary to the will of the people, we will indeed have much more miseducated progeny.

Choose wisely, my friends.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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