Kevin Powell said in an interview last week with Yahoo News that the anthem is "problematic" because it was written by a slaveholder and originally contained a possibly racist verse.
Powell, a black activist and Washington Post Magazine contributor, proposed America’s new official song be John’s Lennon's secular globalist ballad “Imagine.”
- According to Powell, the song is "the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have."
The reaction: Some conservatives, including former Fox News anchor Megn Kelly, saw Powell’s comments as the latest overreach by emboldened activists.
And... there goes the national anthem... https://t.co/Jd6CH5GQGJ— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 25, 2020
Others suggested “Imagine” was a bizarre choice for a national anthem given that Lennon was British and the song pines for a world with “no countries,” “no possessions” “and no religion too.”
Trying not to take this troll too seriously, but can't help but laughing at making the national anthem a song containing the line "imagine there's no countries" https://t.co/JuelzUVNwD— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) June 25, 2020
But Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro said it was “the national anthem we deserve. Because we are a fallen people and fall further from God's grace each day. We must be punished with this final indignity.”
This is indeed the national anthem we deserve. Because we are a fallen people and fall further from God's grace each day. We must be punished with this final indignity. pic.twitter.com/za0bus100Y— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 25, 2020
Lennon, Beatles' frontman, once described “Imagine" as "virtually the Communist Manifesto.”
- Hollywood celebrities in March performed a version of the song in a widely mocked attempt to rally Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
- In a verse whose meaning has long been debated by historians, the song referred to "the hireling and slave” fleeing and dying during the American Revolutionary War.
- Protesters tore down a statue of Key in San Francisco on June 19 because of his slave ownership.
Other American symbols have also been the targets of anti-racism fervor.
As President Donald Trump predicted back in 2017, statue-toppling activists outraged by America’s legacy of racism have moved on from Confederate leaders to American founders, like George Washington,Thomas Jefferson and even Mount Rushmore.