New St. Paul Mayor Derides National Anthem As 'Ode To Slavery' During Inaugural Address

When starting a new job, it’s generally good form not to rock the boat all that much on your first day. For those that are entering into leadership positions, the same applies.

While you may enter that new role with a clear vision of the changes that you want to make, there remains a ton to be said for observing things on a first-hand basis before running around with an eraser to get things where you want them. Transitions at the top can be difficult enough as it is, and there’s simply no need to start things off with a message of negativity.

In fact, starting in that fashion will lead to months - and perhaps even years - of uneasiness that will take even more work to sort through. Despite that, some folks pay absolutely no mind to rocking the boat from day one.

We can include the new mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, Melvin Carter III, in that category. As the Independent Journal Review shares, Carter devoted some time in his inaugural address to offering up his thoughts on the National Anthem.

“We cannot ignore the painful reminder, written into our anthem’s third verse, of just how deeply injustice is rooted in the American tradition…Our national freedom song is an ode to slavery," Carter said.

The ‘third verse’ of the anthem is no longer included during renditions of the song, and those that even knew it existed to begin with are few and far between. Nonetheless, the existence of the verse has been used as justification for those that refuse to stand when the anthem plays.

The fact that the existence of this obscure verse is far from common knowledge is considered to be irrelevant. Apparently, that school of thought suggests that since it was once there, that’s all that matters.

The verse reads:

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore.
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion.

A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave.
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Historians are mixed as to the actual interpretation of the verse, but the scuttlebutt about it having racial connotations has been the only narrative that has gained any attention. We can clearly include Carter in the category of those that feel that the verse’s existence points to the tune being inherently racist in nature.

“This is the American paradox,“ he continued. ”Passed from generation to generation, dating back to the noble group of rich white straight male landowners who embedded into our founding principles a yearning for a set of God-given rights they sought to secure for only themselves."

We can only assume that Carter was speaking from the heart in his inaugural address, but by feeling the need to address the National Anthem’s obscure third verse, he has actually drawn attention away from the agenda that got him elected in the first place. As such, it’s going to take some doing for attention to be drawn back to what he may or may not bring to the table.

Source: Independent Journal Review
Photo: YouTube, Lisa Miller

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