Racism in the name of unity: Clyburn wants to make ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ national hymn
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) plans on introducing a measure to make “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the “Black national anthem,” the official U.S. hymn in an effort to promote unity. Clever. It would in essence replace the U.S. National Anthem. It’s smacks of racism under the guise of faith and unity.
Clyburn says making it a national hymn could bring the country together without taking away from “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But in reality, it is an attempt to replace one with the other. In a letter to colleagues, Clyburn said that the song is an important part of the American experience and that he hopes for “extensive” bipartisan support for his proposal in both chambers.
The song was first written as a poem in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson, former leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was later set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson.
“To make it a national hymn, I think, would be an act of bringing the country together. It would say to people, ‘You aren’t singing a separate national anthem, you are singing the country’s national hymn,’” Clyburn, the third-highest Democrat in the House and its highest-ranking Black member, told USA Today. “The gesture itself would be an act of healing. Everybody can identify with that song.”
The song has been popular in the Black community for some time, but Clyburn wants to take it to a national level whether Americans want it or not. And he is facilitating this move using the riot on Capitol Hill as a justification for it.
Michael K. Fauntroy, a political scientist at Howard University, said he’s concerned that people may overestimate the importance of symbolic victories such as elevating “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” substituting them for actual change.
“It’s symbolically notable for Black people, but in the larger scheme of things this isn’t going to put food on people’s table, it’s not going to increase people’s pay,” Fauntroy said.
Making the song a national hymn for all Americans is one way to acknowledge the plight of African Americans and the systemic racism they face, advocates said.
“There’s no better time than now,” said Robinson, noting how Black Lives Matter protests over racial injustice and inequities resonated last summer in America and around the world. The song was sung at some of those protests.
Clyburn’s so-called attempt to promote unity comes less than a week after protesters stormed the Capitol. Since then, House Democrats have filed an article of impeachment against President Trump for allegedly inciting the rioters.
Clyburn also said he’s wanted to move forward on this hymn for decades and asked his team to start the paperwork last month. The current political climate prompted him to revisit the proposal, he said.
While appearing on CNN on Sunday, Clyburn said he believes Trump should be impeached for his phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he appeared to pressure the state official to “find” enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. It’s yet one more excuse for impeachment. It’s like beating a dead horse at this point.
On a Sunday in a CNN appearance, Clyburn echoed other Democrats’ calls for the impeachment of Trump. He suggested that Democrats might wait until after Biden’s first 100 days as President to send in the article of impeachment for President Trump, meaning they would be aiming to impeach him after his presidency has ended. You can’t impeach a citizen by the way.
“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we will send the articles sometime after that,” Clyburn told CNN.
This ploy is also being pushed by Nancy Pelosi. It is meant to make sure that Trump cannot run for the presidency in 2024. Fail.