Politico Magazine celebrated the bicentennial of America’s national anthem this past Saturday with a lead story entitled “Is It Time to Ditch the Star-Spangled Banner?”
Written by Ted Widmer, a former Bill Clinton speechwriter and ghostwriter for Hillary Clinton’s recently released “Hard Choices,” the piece decries the anthem’s militarism and rampant racism that Widmer feels has no place in modern political discourse.
To the columnist, Francis Scott Key’s historic account of the 1814 defense of Fort McHenry gratuitously celebrates the horrors of war, “forc[ing] us to relive Key’s emotional trauma during that long night 200 years ago” with “a kind of musical bombardment.”
Couching it as a compliment, Widmer claims the song serves the jingoistic purpose of “drown[ing] out bad news with bluster, brass and percussion.”
Widmer doesn’t have a particularly original idea: He quotes favorably from a 2009 piece by Washington Post columnist Michael Kinsley that slammed the anthem’s “empty bravado” and “mindless bluster about rockets and bombs”…
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The first comment at Politico says:
Time to ditch Politico Magazine? Yes.
Time to ditch Ted Widmer? Yes.
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