We the People has to be one of my favorite initiatives of the Obama Administration, part of its stated commitment to increased transparency and accessibility; let no one say that the administration’s strategists aren’t savvy to social media and the value of working the youth angle. Grassroots organizing and heavy social media promotion, after all, played a key role in the President’s 2008 and 2012 wins.
So, here’s We the People, allowing anyone to start a petition that will be drawn to the attention of the White House if it gets enough votes. It’s become so popular that they keep having to adjust the threshold for an official reply upwards, perhaps most notably in the wake of the now-infamous Death Star petition, which demanded that the US “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.”
Paul Shawcross, representing the administration, responded with wit and grace in “This Isn’t the Petition You’re Looking For,” showcasing the administration’s streak of good humor -- and, of course, skill at working the down home, hip to pop culture angle that it’s become known for.
I, of course, continue trolling We the People for the latest and greatest petition, as do the rest of the media.
This isn’t actually the first time someone’s proposed a different national anthem for the US; Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and old standard “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” have also been contenders, at least in some circles. Though the fact that “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” borrowed the melody of “God Save the Queen” is definitely a serious roadblock. Imagine the awkwardness at the Olympics.
See also “Hail, Columbia.”
In fact, “The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t our official anthem until 1931, so, you know. We could totally ditch it in favor of something, ah, “still hot and fresh out the kitchen,” as S.R., the creator of the petition, put it.
Why not change things up a bit? In honor of S.R.’s noble attempt to drag the US into the 21st century, here are some of my humble suggestions for a new national anthem for the United States.
I expect y’all to weigh in with your suggestions in the comments.
Outkast, “B.O.B.” I think we can all see the obvious merits of this song as a celebration of all that is American culture.
Beyonce, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” Beyonce is basically a national institution, so I think it’s not unreasonable to honor her with our national anthem.
Rammstein, “Amerika.” You might think this is an unconventional choice -- should a German band really be singing the national anthem of the US? But “Amerika” is a crisp indictment of US cultural dominance worldwide, and we might as well own our imperialism, right?
Lady Gaga, “Just Dance.” This song contains deep wisdom for the ages, and a reminder that if you just dance, everything’s gonna be okay.
Flobots, “Handlebars.” Particularly chilling in light of recent discussions about the US attempting to extend its powers to kill at will, including on US soil.
So, what song have you been longing to hear at the opening of sports events, as our athletes step up to the Olympic podium, and in classrooms across this great nation of ours, Americans? As for the rest of you, well, what do you think sums up America from the outside?