Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh say can you see?

There aren’t many things that America does better than Australia. We have natural wonders, great climate & natural resources. We have relatively stable democratic government, fair social security programs and an equitable health care system that makes the US health system look like a horror movie. Our economy is being battered by the GFC but we’re not going under.
However, there is one thing I have always envied about the US. The Star Spangled Banner. This anthem is truly inspired. The tune was downloaded from heaven and the lyrics forged in the heat of battle at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 with the British. The real Star Spangled Banner resides in the Smithsonian Institute to this day.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an American just so I could sing their song. By comparison, the Australian national anthem “Advance Australia Fair”, sucks.
Australians always thought the yanks were a bit strange. Everyday the US school kids stand to attention, hand on their breasts and sing the anthem and salute the flag. We did a similar thing on occasion in Australia but it was always with a little awkwardness and self consciousness. Not so the yanks. You could tell that when they sing their national song, they mean it. There’s something in that that is hard to quantify, but it’s something that sets Americans apart…or used to…
With the stories and news that are coming out of the US now, it’s difficult to reconcile the aspirations of the Star Spangled Banner with the nation over which it flies. The Hendrix version of the tune immortalized at Woodstock spoke to that time and that generation, a country at war in Vietnam and with it own people as a result. The melody contorts and distorts out of recognition and descends into a cacophony of simulated jet screams and bomb drops. It was distorted, yes, but Hendrix could still connect the troubled soul of a nation with its noble heritage.
Who is the Hendrix of our times? Even if we called Jimi back for an encore I don’t think it is now possible to reconnect the people with its lost soul as he did back then. As the rich feed upon the poor and middle class, as the freedoms and liberties afforded by the Constitution are being cast aside in the name of "security", as the people trample eachother in shopping mall sale stampedes whilst these other things are happening, how can America any longer be called “land of the free, home of the brave”? It has become a perverse contradiction.
This recent speech made by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont calls it like it is.

This short movie titled "Madness of a Lost Society" shows us what a crumbling society looks like. Ugly scenes at department stores at the recent "Black Friday" sales as people stampede and trample down eachother to grab cheap crap from China.

The true story of the Star Spangled Banner - Alex Jones