LET’S TALK ABOUT PATRIOTISM AND AN INCOMPLETE, DISHONEST AND A RACIST AMERICAN HISTORY ...
Many times, I do not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I just don't. I never put my hand over my heart even if I stand for the Pledge. I just don't. Does that make me less of an American citizen if I do not? I am a military veteran. Am I not a patriot if I do not Pledge and put my hand over my heart?
I am amused with White America’s “fake” love of country and pseudo-patriotism. Let’s look at a few of the LIES that we live every day in these As Yet United States of America:
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS-We give Christopher Columbus “credit” for discovering America even though there were millions of people in America AND Columbus NEVER set foot in the continental United States. After all, the Indigenous Native Americans discovered North America about 14,000 years before Columbus was even born!
Columbus Day, as we know it in the United States, was suggested by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Back in the 1930s, they were looking for a Catholic hero as a role-model their kids could look up to. In 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt signed Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday to honor this "courageous explorer." Yet, the stunning truth is: If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus’ reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was bloody and his legacy was unspeakably cruel.
Experts generally agree that before 1492, the population on the island of Hispaniola probably numbered above 3 million. When Columbus set foot on that sandy beach in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovered that the islands were inhabited by friendly, peaceful people called the Lucayans, Taínos and Arawaks. They were a docile people with no weapons and Christopher Columbus and his men began to enslave them. Christopher Columbus derived most of his income from slavery. In fact, Columbus was the first trader of enslaved people in the Americas. As the enslaved natives died off, they were replaced with Black enslaved persons.
Columbus’ son became the first African enslaved trader in 1505. Within 20 years of Spanish arrival, it was reduced to only 60,000. Within 50 years, not a single original native inhabitant could be found.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE...
Of course, when Slave Owner Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the “poignant” words he wrote were intended only for Whites. “We” did not apply to enslaved persons. When he was president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was the largest owner of enslaved persons in Albermarle County (Charlottesville) Virginia. He was also the father of six children by one of his enslaved persons, Sarah “Sally” Hemings.
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER-
To understand the full “Star-Spangled Banner” story, you have to understand the author. Key was an aristocrat and city prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and a slave owner. Of particular note was Key’s opposition to the idea of the Colonial Marines. The Marines were a battalion of runaway enslaved persons who joined with the British Royal Army in exchange for their freedom, and land to live. The Marines were not only a terrifying example of what enslaved persons would do if given the chance but also a repudiation of the white superiority that men like Key were so invested in.
All of these ideas and concepts came together around Aug. 24, 1815, at the Battle of Bladensburg, where Key, who was serving as a lieutenant at the time, ran into a battalion of Colonial Marines. His troops were taken to the woodshed by the very Black folks he disdained, and he fled back to his home in Georgetown to lick his wounds.
A few weeks later, in September of 1815, far from being a captive, Key was on a British boat begging for the release of one of his friends, a doctor named William Beanes. Key was on the boat waiting to see if the British would release his friend when he observed the bloody battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Sept. 13, 1815. America lost the battle but managed to inflict heavy casualties on the British in the process. This "inspired"(?) Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” right then and there, but no one remembers that he wrote a full third stanza (of four stanzas altogether) decrying the former enslaved persons who were now working for the British army:
"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 wash’d out their foul footstep’s 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."
In other words, Key was saying that the blood of all the former enslaved persons and “hirelings” on the battlefield will wash away the pollution of the British invaders. With Key still bitter that some Black soldiers got the best of him a few weeks earlier, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is as much a war song as it is a patriotic song.
All of this...Christopher Columbus and Slavery and the Declaration of Independence and the Star Spangled Banner and Segregation and Bigotry and Jim Crow and the Black Codes and Racism and the Klan and Lynchings and a Racist loser former president...ALL of this is at play when you pass voter suppression legislation and then ask me to Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.