After seeing the violence used by police to quell the OWS protest in Oakland, as well as other places, I propose that the protestors link arms and sing the Star Spangled Banner. That's right! And let's have them waving lots of American flags with their signs. Imagine the video of police clubbing and arresting scores of anthem-singing, flag-waving students, middle-aged working (or unable to find find work) stiffs, and yes, homeless people. These people are patriots, seeking peacefully with civil disobedience to remind our representatives elected to serve us that we are seeking to hold them accountable to us, we the people. Remember, the Star Bangled Banner and Stars and Stripes are not the exclusive property of the GOP or Tea Party. They belong to every American, just like our rights guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Remember when flags spontaneously appeared all over America right after 9-11?
I acknowledge that it would be impossible to sing the anthem while choking on tear gas or writhing under a pepper spray wielding policeman. But there are many times when this tactic could be used. It would form an indelible image like the police using water hoses and dogs on the nonviolent civil rights protestors a half century ago. And once such an image is imprinted on the public's mind, I think it will create a huge groundswell of support.
I know you are going to wonder what obsession this nutty old dame has with the national anthem. I wrote my first ever blog about how (IMO) some vocalists ruined the Star Spangled Banner when they sang it at sports events. But I was basically ranting, and anyway, I still don't think singing the anthem should be used as a vocal showpiece. It should be about respecting what America really stands for.
Many people will say it's too late for America - it's all over, the 1% have won. But I don't believe that's true. Many times we've gotten off track, but if enough of us work together, stay informed, engaged, and hopeful, we can turn it around. Please see the video of congressional candidates delivering thousands of signatures to John Boehner's office requesting that Congress pass the President's jobs bill. They didn't get in the door - the aide stopped them, but they did deliver the petitions and the message got sent.
A little over a month ago, we had some terrible fires in the Austin, TX area. Many people lost everything. It reminded me of a story I heard. A terrible fire was raging through the savannah. Animals were running desperately away from the fire looking for safety. An elephant with enormous panniers of water walked toward the fire to try and douse it. In front of him he saw a hummingbird carrying a little water in its beak. "You, hummingbird!" the elephant scoffed. "What the heck do you think you're doing?" "I'm doing what I can," answered the hummingbird, who flew to the fire and dropped his water on the flames, and then turned around to go get more.
Cynicism and apathy can only win if we let it. Vote with your votes and vote with your dollars.