Most people aren’t aware that the Star Spangled Banner was written by an outspoken white supremacist and slave owner (Francis Scot Key), nor that the melody was from a British fraternity song.
The reality is that the symbols of our history is mired with hate and bloodshed – from Confederate flags to the names of certain landmarks.
Symbols, like language, can change meaning over time but it requires intention and awareness (unless the original fades into obscurity before being revived, like the original anthem’s song). It also requires some community agreement – which is why no one really buys into this idea of “heritage, not hate.”
If we’re to be a country that lives up to our own values of liberty, equality, and unity, we need a path forward for those who are not experiencing these at the hands of our government. And we certainly need to stop persecuting those who disagree in the name of pseudo-patriotism. Dissent is patriotic.
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