My country, sweet land of liberty, it is about you that I sing. This could be considered a fairly accurate translation of the beginning of this popular and patriotic song that I sang every morning while attending elementary school. As we celebrate our claim to independence from British rule, this song, “America,” as it is also known, is a fitting tribute to our beautiful country and the freedom we not only enjoy, but cherish.
It is interesting to note that the melody for this song is the same melody of the national anthem of the United Kingdom, “God Save the Queen.” Historical accounts of how the melody was chosen point to a coincidental event rather than an intentional decision made by the author and young seminary student at the time, Samuel Francis Smith. Nonetheless, the chosen melody for the song can be seen as both ironic and oddly sarcastic.
Could Smith have been onto something and way ahead of his time? I mean, consider the irony of a country that celebrates freedom at the same time that its government is embattled in one controversial matter after another, e.g. the IRS, NSA, GSA, NIH — sheesh, I’m running out of letters. Pick three and fill in the blanks.
Ok, that was my attempt at sarcasm, which seems to be the new American speech pattern. If you can think it, why not say it. Sarcasm is everywhere. Philosopher Thomas Carlyle despised the use of sarcasm and described it as the language of the devil. The word originates from the Greek and means “to tear flesh.” No doubt that the underlying tones of sarcasm are meant to be hurtful and destructive. My sincere apologies to our government.
Of course it is easy to sit back and point fingers. That’s what my dad would say. Truthfully, we have had controversy and scandals that date back to the beginning of time. They will continue for sure, but there is an answer. My dad used to tell me that the root cause for all of our problems is greed. I think he was onto something.
Take another look at the very first sentence of this column. A portion of it reads, “it is about you.” My country ‘tis of thee … My dad had the philosophy that less “me” and more “we” would help cure a bunch of our country’s woes. When we start thinking and acting more for “we” and less for “me,” we can expect to see positive changes for sure. My guess is that none of those three-letter events mentioned above would have happened if the “we” principle was being applied.
United we must stand, even in our less-than-stellar moments. After all, it is for you, our country, America, that we are thankful for, that we are fighting for, that we care for and that we love so much. God bless America. Happy Independence Day!
Rich DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. You can e-mail him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.