The Highjacking of Our National Anthem

She highjacked the affair. Invited to sing the national anthem at Denver’s State of the City Meeting, black Jazz singer Renee Marie walked forward and sang instead, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, a song often referred to as the Black National Anthem.

The Black National Anthem? How can there be a Black National Anthem …or can there be a a White National Anthem…or a Yellow…or a Brown; an American or non-American National Anthem?  

I’m posting the response of Dennis Prager to this dishonest and revealing action of Renee Marie and hope you will read it all. His four main points are:

“What Marie did embodied a plethora of leftist ideals and characteristics: Ethical relativism, multiculturalism, the supremacy of feelings, the belief that artists are above normal ethical standards and group victimization.”

By Dennis Prager

Last week in Denver, almost all the values of the post-1960s left were exhibited in one act.

It happened on the Denver mayor’s most important day — the one in which he was to deliver his annual State of the City Address. The day was to begin with the singing of the National Anthem by the black jazz singer Rene Marie. But Ms. Marie had, by her own admission, long had other plans. Instead of the National Anthem, she sang “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a song written in 1899 and often referred to today as the Black National Anthem.

What Marie did embodied a plethora of leftist ideals and characteristics: Ethical relativism, multiculturalism, the supremacy of feelings, the belief that artists are above normal ethical standards and group victimization.

We begin with ethical relativism. The left’s opposition to Judeo-Christian values is first and foremost an opposition to objective, or universal, ethics. Ethics and morality are relative. There is no objective or universal standard of right and wrong. We are each the source of our own values.

These lessons were learned well by Marie. The notion that lying to the mayor of Denver (a Democrat, as it happens) when she agreed to his invitation to sing the National Anthem was unethical or immoral is foreign to Ms. Marie.

But how could she morally defend something so obviously immoral?

That is what ethical relativism made possible thanks to a number of values of the left.

One such leftist value is multiculturalism. Since the 1960s, a major goal of the left has been to weaken American national identity and replace it with other cultural, national, racial and ethnic identities (in effect, changing the motto of the United States from “From Many, One” to “From One, Many”). It has pursued this goal through bilingual education, election ballots in multiple languages, numerical guidelines in American history textbooks concerning the percentage of space allotted to given minorities, opposition to declaring English America’s national language, and rendering the term “flag waving” a pejorative that implies quasi-fascist sentiments.

One could well imagine a member of any number of other minorities substituting a different song for the National Anthem. The left has successfully taught millions of Americans to honor other national identities while either fearing or disparaging American nationalism. That lesson, too, was clearly learned by Marie.

The idea of a Black National Anthem is a multiculturalist paradigm. A black freedom song, a black hymnal, songs that gave African slaves on American soil some comfort and hope in the midst of their suffering, and, for that matter, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” — these all fit perfectly into an American national identity. Indeed, all Americans should know such songs. But a Black National Anthem, when substituted for the National Anthem, means that there are two nations on American soil, a black one and an American one.

The left’s second contribution to Marie’s value system has been its elevation of feelings above other values. For example, one determines right and wrong on the basis of how one feels (as opposed to, let us say, asking what one’s religion, or God, or any moral law that transcends one’s own feelings would say on a given matter).

Now, the elevation of one’s feelings above other considerations is generally viewed as a form of narcissism. And while narcissism is as old as humanity, until the 1960s it was generally regarded as a character flaw. Since the 1960s, however, it was more often heralded as a virtue. From recreational drug use to recreational sex, acting on one’s feelings, actions of self-centered narcissism, has been glorified.

The core of this attitude lies in the left’s veneration of feelings. How one feels became all-important. It even determines morality, the rightness or wrongness of an action. Thus, a generation of young people has been raised with the question, “How do you feel about it?” not “Is it right or wrong?”

Thus, Marie justified what she did in terms of feelings: “I want to express how I feel about living in the United States as a black woman, as a black person,” she said. Her feelings were what mattered, and they were more important than elementary decency.

A third contribution of the left’s values to what Marie did is the elevation of the artist to the status of demigod. If the feelings of mere mortals can determine what is right and wrong, the feelings of an artist are even more important.

There is no hubris like that of many contemporary artists. At some point in the second half of the 20th century the belief arose that artists formed a moral elite.

Given the moral idiocies that have been more the norm than the exception among 20th century artists — the countless artists who have glorified Communism, Fascism and Nazism — facts alone render the idea of artist-as-moral-beacon foolish. But even in theory the idea has no merit. There is nothing in art that renders an artist more morally elevated than a sanitation worker.

Sure enough, being an artist was Marie’s justification for her dishonesty. Asked on her website, “Wasn’t this dishonest?” she responded:

“I can see how it may be perceived that way. But I looked at it a different way: I am an artist. I cannot apologize for that. It goes with the risky territory of being an artist.” Marie also told the press, “I don’t think it is necessary for artists to ask permission to express themselves artistically.”

Artists are above morality. While you and I should not deceive people, artists may.

The fourth contribution of the left to the Marie episode is its constant reinforcement of a sense of victimhood among all Americans who are not male, white, heterosexual and Christian. The moral consequence of this is that the victim, like the artist, like the feelings-determine-morality individual, can do more or less whatever he pleases.

It should be noted that many individuals on the left condemned what Marie did. And it is not for me to judge whether they did so out of conviction or political necessity; one must generally judge actions, not motives. But to the sincere liberal and leftist, I ask: Do you not see how left/liberal values made this episode possible?

Individuals on the left may condemn what happened in Denver City Hall on July 1, 2008. But, in fact, it was a triumph of leftist values.

Final note: If you do not now fear for America’s future, please go on the Internet and watch the Denver city officials respectfully watch a woman substitute her own song for that of the National Anthem. Watch how not a single official stopped her, or even demanded that the National Anthem be sung afterward. And listen to the applause. Then you will fear for our country’s future.

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M devotional blog is here.

17 thoughts on “The Highjacking of Our National Anthem

  1. Pingback: character education lesson plans

  2. As long as people continue to act in ways that keep America separated – black & the rest – it will forever be divided. The only way to achieve equality is for ALL to respect our country. We have one pledge of allegiance, one national anthem, one president, and although there are many states, we are one nation. We can learn from the Bible. It clearly states in Ephesians 4:5, “One Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism.” That plainly states God believes in equality, too. There isn’t a baptism for one color and a different one for others. All the people that want to take God out of our country are the ones who will keep our country forever divided and full of disrespect. ReneMarie should give a public apology for promoting division in our country.

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  3. Pingback: This Is Called Civil Disobedience « Windows Toward the World

  4. Eve

    Seems we are substituting artistry for bad manners these days.

    Good post.

    Hi, Eve. Nothing in this performance gives so much as a nod to courtesy.

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  5. It was wrong. She was invited to sing a specific song. It appears she took advantage of a situation to promote her own agenda or ideals. Dosen’t say much for “trusting” this person?

    Her reputation preceded her. Perhaps those who hired her, did not know.

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  6. I agree that what Renee Marie did was wrong and disrespectful. If she agreed to sing our country’s national anthem, than that is what she should have sung. Plain and simple.

    Carol, it does seem so simple. For some, though, it seems otherwise.

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  7. Shawnna, I have a clear memory of an occasion when as a child, my dad, your children’s great-grandfather, had the courage to ask a minister to step down from the pulpit. I must have been 10 or 11 years old, and to this moment I recall the tension in that little church in Springfield, Mo.

    I don’t remember the issue exactly, but I believe I recall my dad’s words almost verbatim: “Brother “So and So,” (I have no idea who the minister was) we don’t believe that here.”

    The issue must have broached a vital doctrine for my father was a gentle, non-confrontational person. I thought of him this morning, how hard that must have been, and how proud I am of him.

    He should have handled it another way, some may now say, and that is possible. I simply do not know. What I do know is that in a brave way, my dad defended truth in the church where he was responsible for the words said over the pulpit.

    May God help us and help our leaders. May He give us the fortitude and the courage to stop someone who engages in such offensive action.

    Teach my grandchildren, Shawnna, to be brave, to have principles firmly cemented in their hearts, and in their souls…and in their minds. Tell them of “Kool-Aid” that is sweet and goes down easy, but that leads to certain death.

    Love you–

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  8. I’m with Caroline in that I couldn’t believe no one was stopping her. It would not have been so difficult to quietly step up to her side and calmly take the microphone and tell the audience that you are sorry but there must have been some misunderstanding! I was ready to crawl through the computer when I saw this AND…….people actually clapped!!! Hello!! It would have spoke volumes if every single person in that place would have remained deathly silent!

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  9. Pingback: The Pop View » The power of symbols

  10. Pingback: Wake Up White Folks, This Is Called “Civil Disobediece” « Windows Toward the World

  11. I cannot agree more than the words of slavicdiva “Her ridiculous antics had nothing to do with “the left,” and everything to do with the narcissism, self-absorption and selfishness of one Renee Marie.” I have the same question as Caroline, how was this lady allowed to perform such a show. Was this lady deceptive to the city of Denver? Personal opinion, not just the mayor, not just the people present but the entire city of Denver has been insulted. I feel that someone owes and apology to that city and it inhabitance!!
    I have followed this story for several days and had an entry almost completed. So I will just express both my frustration over this “ARTEST (??)” being allowed to do her thing. And my sadness for the fine city of Denver, Co. I feel that those fine people are somewhere or somehow owed an apology.

    Mervi

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  12. Hello, Diva. Welcome here.

    I do understand that Renee Marie was responsible for her own actions, and I’m not suggesting other persons set up her action.
    Likewise, I’m of the definite mind that not all people who lean to the left condoned her offensive action. I’m postive of that.

    However, I do believe her actions reflect a staunch leftist position. Mr. Prager did a fine job of elucidating on four such points, and I won’t go over all of them.

    I will speak to the issue of multiculturalism that is espoused in a strong mode within the left. There are those–even including some who write often on this blog–who in a blatant method affirm these thoughts.

    Blacks are permitted–even encouraged–to act in routines that would be considered racist if white people engaged in such activities. There is not one code for Americans; rather one code for blacks, another for whites (and other colors, I presume.

    I do understand how a person feels who takes a left position, but who is offended concerning such action.

    Thanks for speaking here. Hope it will be often.

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  13. slavicdiva

    Please do not attribute Renee Marie’s arrogant actions to “the left.” Her ridiculous antics had nothing to do with “the left,” and everything to do with the narcissism, self-absorption and selfishness of one Renee Marie.

    Without having done such an outrageous thing, who would ever have heard of her? This way, she gets her 15 minutes of fame – or infamy, as the case may be.

    Put simply, she should have sung what she agreed to sing, period. To do otherwise was a violation of the agreement under which she was engaged. Any serious artist worth his or her reputation knows that. But Marie is apparently not a serious artist; rather, she is a spoiled child looking to do as she pleases, instead of doing what she agreed to do.

    But let’s put the responsibility where it lies – strictly and solely on the shoulders of Renee Marie. By her own admission, this was her own idea – nobody put her up to it. Let her suffer the consequences herself, and take responsibility for her own actions.

    But do not look to scapegoat “the left” because of Marie’s actions. They are hers and hers alone.

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  14. Good morning, Caroline

    I agree that the most frightening part of this scene was that she was allowed to proceed in this disgrace.

    As embarrassing and full of tension would have been such an action, those in charge should have stopped her.

    Courage and valour must be aroused. I must believe such attributes continue to reside within our people.

    Thanks for passion and for speaking of the issue.

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  15. This just made me sick to watch. The woman should have been removed from the scene. I can’t believe that no one stopped her! That they clapped for her was ridiculous. People are so afraid to act against this kind of behavior these days. How arrogant she is! Our country is in trouble if she can get away with this. It’s very scary indeed.

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