Op Ed, R Kelly national anthem

Anne Yoskoski

Due to the use of social media, whenever people see something they like or dislike, it is put on their Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, or Tumblr accounts. It is understandable that, wanting to capture the ever-fleeting attention span of the American public, the government has to have an online presence and allow citizens to voice their opinion in an online format.

Part of the government’s solution to this is to make petitions online, and after a petition garners a certain amount of signatures, then Congress must discuss the issue. While this makes sense in theory, the American public has taken the issue to a ridiculous level, using their social media savvy to get enough signatures on petitions that are so asinine and ridiculous they should never even need to be discussed.

The latest issue to get enough Internet sponsorship to be discussed was changing the national anthem. Someone had the idea to change “The Star Spangled Banner” to rapper R. Kelly’s song “Ignition” (specifically the 2003 remix). People found this funny and amusing, so they signed it. After signing this petition, many people took to their social media pages to share this petition with others. While all of this was going on, one has to wonder, did they realize that they had just actually added their name to a document proposing something so ridiculous and unneeded that its existence in the docket of Congress is actually insulting?

Even though the government keeps raising the amount of online signatures needed, the public just volleys back at them with even more signatures. One case that got a lot of attention was getting the CDC to acknowledge zombie apocalypse plans. Another, more recent issue that took up some of Congress’ time was addressing whether or not the United States should build a death star. Yes, a death star, as in Star Wars.

It was concluded that the funding would be unavailable and the technology did not exist. The fact that this was actually discussed in congress was a new level of ridiculous for the American public, as petitions like these turn most Americans into hypocrites.

Congress has its lowest approval rating in years, and adding irrelevant things to the list of issues that they have to discuss isn’t helping. Frankly, it is an abuse of power. In this country, the public has the right to bring issues to the attention of the government. The key word in that sentence is “issues.” Whether  America will build a death star isn’t helping the unemployment rate. Suggesting that we as a country replace our national anthem, written to honor our struggles in war facing the British, with a rap song performed by a man indicted on 21 counts of sex with a minor fan is absolutely absurd.

A national anthem is supposed to bring people together and unite the people of a nation under one common cry of nationalism. The lyrics, “So baby gimme that toot toot, Lemme give you that beep beep, Runnin her hands through my ‘fro, Bouncin on 24’s … It’s the remix to ‘Ignition,’ Hot and fresh out the kitchen, Mama rollin’ that body got every man in here wishin, Sippin on Coke and rum, I’m like so what I’m drunk, It’s the freakin’ weekend baby , I’m about to have me some fun” don’t personally inspire patriotism in me. Would soldiers cling to these words during war? Would they like to know that they aren’t fighting for the land of the free and the home of the brave, but instead they are defending the rights of a drunk, rich rapper who wants to give someone a “toot toot” or a “beep beep”?

While this song is fun to dance to and it is admittedly catchy, it is not something I would want sung at my children’s baseball games. It’s not something I would like to hear before Americans heads into the Olympics. It’s frankly, something I don’t want associated with America at all.

People need to be more responsible with their power as citizens. Use your signature and opinion for good, use it for something that you as an American citizen truly believe in. While almost everyone complains about Congress not accomplishing anything, how can anyone who signed that petition complain? If you want to eat up valuable time in a government forum debating the merits of a song that rhymes “lobby” with “lobby,” then by all means, embarrass yourself. However, you lose the right to complain about Congress not accomplishing anything or not caring about your issues as a common citizen.

Even the proposal made by the creators of the petition is Ludacris reading, “We, the undersigned, would like the Obama administration to recognize the need for a new national anthem, one that even a decade after its creation, is still hot and fresh out the kitchen. America has changed since Francis Scott Key penned our current anthem in 1814. Since then, we have realized that after the show, it’s the afterparty, and that after the party, it’s the hotel lobby, and — perhaps most importantly — that ’round about four, you’ve got to clear the lobby, at which point it’s strongly recommended that you take it to the room and freak somebody. President Obama: we ask you to recognize the evolution of this beautiful country and give us an anthem that better suits the glorious nation we have become.”

Use your voice to make a real issue known, not perpetuate nonsense.