Oh Say, Can You See?

Nope. I can’t see. Never could see it… the myth that underlies this nation. it’s pretty much impossible to see a lie.

It was The Star-Spangled Banner that exposed me to the fact of the myth of this country and undermined any shred of hope I might have had as a child that maybe someday I would live in a place where everyone could feel that they could be safe and at home.

I was only a kid when I first heard the song but I was a kid that already knew that there were a lot of very, very bad people in the world. Mean people. People who didn’t care about anything except what they wanted, what they wanted to do, and what they had… and they would do whatever it took to satisfy themselves.

I was at my wicked grandmother’s house the first time I heard the Star-Spangled Banner… I was in her kitchen. It was 4th of July week-end, early 1950’s, and the radio was on. My grandmother was peeling potatoes in the sink. I was supposed to be helping but I’d heard music, so everything else had disappeared… then I heard the words to the music: “and the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

That, to me, was a terrifying image and it revealed something I’d never even thought of before: the soul of America was about fighting… and killing… and bombs and rockets. I’d already known that there were a lot of evil people in the world — at least in my life — now I was come to understand that the country I lived in was itself proud — proud! — of killing people. So proud that they wrote it into a national anthem and sang about it in celebration! So, it wasn’t just my life that was a horror show — or held the potential for it — it was pretty much anybody’s… except, apparently, the folks who were lobbing bombs and rockets who were actually going so far as to write ‘uplifting’ tunes about it.

I didn’t want to live here.

But here I was… and I wasn’t even into double-digits yet.

Here I remain. My roots are in this very land. I’ve had the dubious opportunity to witness America at some of its worst behavior and I gotta say that so far it seems to have been working overtime to live up to my childhood assessment.

I haven’t given up caring… but it hurts every day.

PS: There is a song — America the Beautiful — that might have made a difference in the very landscape — and mindscape — of America… and her people’s regard for it. The “power of suggestion” is a very real thing and never to be underestimated.



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V Pendragon

V Pendragon

Astrology-Informed Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor