Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Patriotic Lullabies

I was listening to "The Skye Boat Song" last night:
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.
Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.
Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.
Many's the lad fought on that day,
Well the Claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead in Culloden's field.
Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.
I thought to myself, could we in 21st Century America come up with a political and yet hopeful lullaby? This song is about a Scottish hero who, according to legend, will return to restore the Stuarts to the throne of England and Scotland. Despite the obvious Messianic Allusions, what's the point? Well, as I was attempting to come up with a political lullaby for America, I looked back over what unites us. There was George Washington, erm....Martin Luther King Jr.? Any songs that I've heard about them haven't been too inspiring. If there are any.

Probably the most unifying patriotic song (besides, perhaps, the Star-spangled Banner) is "Proud to Be an American." And it is inspiring and moving. I think it is the most inspiring not because it talks about Freedom but because it talks about the people that matter to us, our families and our heroes: "And I won't forget the men who died and gave that right to me."

I think it is important to have someone to look up to, and it seems like in our country, that's the military....but not for some. And the military is inspiring in war, but what about in peace? Our "leaders" should be able to be admired, our Public Face should be a shining example.

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