The new mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota delivered a blistering takedown of the national anthem during his inaugural address — calling the “Star-Spangled Banner” an affirmation of slavery.
“We cannot ignore the painful reminder, written into our anthem’s third verse, of just how deeply injustice is rooted in the American tradition,” Mayor Melvin Carter said during his address. “Our national freedom song is an ode to slavery.”
The mayor argued the third verse is steeped in racism because it mentions the “the hireling and slave.”
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
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.
“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,” the mayor declared.
However, there is no consensus among historians that Francis Scott Key was actually referring to black slaves when he wrote the poem.
The mayor also took a cheap shot at President Trump.
“Over the last year, many politicians have declined to answer when America was great; here’s my answer: we prove our greatness, again and again, with every generation that redeems the value of those powerful words that launched our democracy – ‘We the People’ – by fighting to ensure that ‘we’ truly means all of us,” the mayor said.
It’s unfortunate that Mayor Carter chose to take the low road during his inaugural address. He could have set a tone of unity. Instead, he chose division. How sad for the good people of St. Paul.
Mayor Carter’s ignorance of the history of the national anthem is unfortunate, but his identify as a race-baiting rabble rouser is downright despicable.