Over at Reason’s Hit&Run, Jesse Walker plays the longstanding game of asking what song we should replace the Star Spangled Banner with should we ever decide to retire that old warhorse. I seriously suggested we use the refrain from School House Rock’s “The Preamble”
The refrain is just the preamble of the U.S. Constitution put to music. I like it as an anthem because it puts the emphasis on the Constitution where it should be. Of course, it may lack gravitas.
As long as we’re at it, I think we should replace the socialist originated “Pledge of Allegiance” with a recitation of the key paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. It should run something like this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
So say we all!
We could call it the “American Affirmation”. (That last line comes from the New England town-meeting tradition and would be particularly fun at sporting events.)
I’ve always found the Pledge of Allegiance to be a little too creepily authoritarian. I think it a little too European for my taste. One of the key facets of American exceptionalism is that we are bound together by ideas and principles instead of territory or ethnicity. Swearing allegiance to a particular government represented by a particular flag doesn’t really represent our true bond.
Changing both the anthem and the pledge wouldn’t be a major break from tradition. The pledge was only made official in 1942 and The Star Spangled Banner in 1931.