Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
That song was written in 1814 by a man looking at the battle of Ft. McHenry; who famously wrote of still being able to view the flag of the land of the free after a harsh battle. The land that was wrenched from the hands of the Native Americans by invasion, sickness and gun, their villages destroyed, their families killed before their eyes by foreign invaders eager for vast profits to be had. From the first slaves arriving in the 16th century, dragged away from their homelands in chains, pulled by that illustrious profit motive, 300 plus years would pass before we would end slavery. Land of the free, like the millions of African Americans who unwillingly toiled in the hot sun for no pay, only to be whipped if they stopped. Their masters sell their families away, because they were not people you see, they were property. The land of the free, where the Cherokee people were marched hundreds of miles away from their land, to a strange place, thousands dying on the death march to Oklahoma. Land of the free!!! The land where the exalted Thomas Jefferson wrote proudly of the “unalienable rights” of human beings, like the human beings he owned. Land of the free!!! 620,000+ dead from a war in which the institution of slavery was only ended after years of war and a shattered country. Land of the free!!! The country that denied the right of self determination to the Philippine people, and in doing so murdered an estimated million and a half Filipino civilians, not counting the 20,000 dead Filipino soldiers. Land of the free!!! That proclaimed ourselves the possessors of liberty, even as we denied suffrage to anyone who was not white, male, or a land owner. Land of the free!!! We used Chinese labor to build our transcontinental railroad, it’s trestles resting on the bodies of their dead. Land of the free!!! We taxed the Chinese-Americans gold miners heavily, but only because they were succeeding and white people were jealous. Fake tax collectors shot and killed Chinese-Americans, or tricked them into giving them money, since they were easy to fool because of the language barrier. Land of the free!!! For example when we made laws stating that Chinese were not allowed to testify in court against white Americans, even in heinous cases such as rape or murder. Land of the free!!! Chinese Americans denied the right to citizenship, and forced to live for generations as foreigners in their birth land because, and I quote: “ …a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point, as their history has shown; differing in language, opinions, color, and physical conformation; between whom and ourselves nature has placed an impassable difference” and as such had no right ” to swear away the life of a citizen” or participate” with us in administering the affairs of our Government.”-The California Supreme Court. The land of the free!!! 3 million dead Vietnamese testify to our steadfast dedication to their “freedom”, whether they wanted it or not. Land of the free!!! 50+ countries whose governments have been overthrown by the US, regardless of the nature of the government, to suit American greed. Land of the free!!! Where millions starved in a great depression that wasn’t the fault of capitalist greed at all, oh no no no. Land of the free!!! Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans, again, freeing them whether they like it or not. Land of the free!!! Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians nuked in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, right before the US tried and hung Japanese military men for having biological weapons. Land of the free!! That busted unions, shot workers, threw dissidents in jail, restricted the rights of socialists to organize, or even be socialists and speak their minds. Land of the free!!! That has imprisoned Bradley Manning for daring to expose the truths about American war crimes. Land of the free!!! The land of the new NDAA, the Patriot act, and the very grabby TSA. Land of the free!!!
Don’t you worry your little head about history!! You have McDonalds, and the Gap, and SUVs, and television. We’re the Land of the free, don’tcha know? Do what’s expected of you. Vote! You have the freedom to vote for the parties they tell you that you can vote for. Land of the free, where you can go to college, if you’re OK with amassing a huge amount of debt that will only be surpassed by your debt that you accrue when you buy a house, and god forbid a car. You see, we’re the land of the free!!! Don’t worry that gays and lesbians have been beaten to death for their sexual orientation, it probably doesn’t happen /that/ often. Don’t worry about the millions of inmates locked up for really petty crimes, their lives ruined forever because they smoked weed, you see, we’re in the land of the free! Don’t worry about high rates of teen pregnancy, or poor school districts without money. Don’t worry about the fact that that US has the highest income inequality in the developed world. Don’t worry about Trayvon Martin’s murder, you didn’t know him. Don’t worry about the rotting carcass that is American society, politics and economy.
Here’s all you have to do. Go to a ball park. See a game. Get a nice hot dog, with lots of mustard. Drink your cola.
Put all of that misery out of your head, all the rising poverty, all the inequality, all the war and the death and the destruction. It’s a million miles away from you now. Just put your hand over your heart, and as your blood stained flag raises in the air to that old familiar tune, and sing along. When it gets to the part that goes: “…O’er the laaaaaaaaaaaaand of the FREEEEEE…” just hold that thought in your mind and keep saying it over and over again until you can’t think of anything else.
Now repeat after me: ” I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free I am free. I am free .
See? There ya go. No need for rational thought. You’re free, and as the tears of patriotic fervor roll down your face, boy do you love big broth-er I mean your country.