And Now, Our National Anthem - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
And Now, Our National Anthem

Is there a problem if it’s corporate-sponsored? 

I estimate that in the course of my work life, I have witnessed the United States National Anthem performed live over 2,500 times. I’ve seen and heard it all, ranging from poignant performances sung beautifully to unintentional cringe-worthy moments, and even an amazingly nice version played on an official Louisville Slugger by a national violinist. But it is all in a day’s work when you’re employed in professional sports, and attending live sporting events is part of your job description. At one point in my career, in my younger years, it was my duty to book the National Anthem singers for the team I was then working for. Let me tell you, it can be the longest three minutes of your career when the singer you book butchers The Star-Spangled Banner, and all you can do is stand by helplessly and watch.

All this comes to mind when reading the blistering attack this week by Phil Mushnick of the New York Post who called the New York Yankees to task for selling the sponsorship rights to the National Anthem to Mutual of America, in part calling it “a matter of selling out national common decency.” If I wanted to be flip, I could say we sold out our national common decency a long time ago, but I won’t. I will say, in all seriousness much to the ire of many, really, is this what we are concerned about? Selling corporate sponsorships to the National Anthem? I couldn’t care less.

Before being too hard on me, let me explain a little about myself. I’m one of those goofy Americans that I’m sure espresso-sipping Europeans at trendy outdoor cafes mock because of my unabashed pride in America. For I marvel at America’s history, the founding fathers’ wisdom, the bravery and skill of our citizen soldiers past and present. We are the land of the free and a people who possess a certain plucky sense of humor, who since the Industrial Revolution have been the big dog when it comes to innovations and ideas. Even in our troubled times it is America and America alone that an idea from someone’s basement or college dorm can seemingly spring overnight into an international business juggernaut like Google, Facebook, or Apple.

So I say let’s not sweat the small stuff and get carried away taking symbolism, like our National Anthem and flag protocol, too seriously. I’m good with treating our national symbols respectfully, but this is after all the new world, and being beholden to non-substantive protocol is old world thinking. So if Hanes wants to sell boxer briefs with the American Flag design on them, or if a rendition of dogs barking the Star Spangled Banner goes to the top of the charts, I won’t lose sleep over it.

Nor did I lose sleep when Rosanne Barr spat following her awful rendition of the National Anthem at a San Diego Padres game in 1990. That was her disgrace, not the country’s. I tend to worry more over tangible issues that do pose real threats to our nation. I worry that political correctness has supplanted free speech. I worry that a constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion is getting the boot to accommodate the feelings of the extremists in the LGBT community. I worry we have a Chief Executive along with a gaggle of regulators working in the Federal government who, without going through Congress, believe it is their right and duty to insert regulations and laws in place to control how we live and work. I worry we have a Secretary of State like John Kerry who sneers at the notion of national borders, as if the United States and its citizenry aren’t worth protecting and preserving. I worry that countless terrorists want to kill my fellow citizens for no other reasons than they are Americans. I worry that we are spending ourselves into oblivion.

My worry list for America could go on, and I’m sure yours could as well. But let us worry about real threats that endanger the American way of life. After all, what good is The Star-Spangled Banner to us if we live in a Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren command and control world, where most of what made us special as Americans is gone?

So if the New York Yankee sales team wants to sell sponsorship rights to the National Anthem or give away American Flag lapel pins with a Taco Bell logo on it, good for them. When sponsors have no interest in the American brand because it has lost its special place in this world, then we should worry.

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