Hey, let's get rid of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

The melody is lifted from an old English drinking song. The lyrics are all about bombs and war and bloodshed — and not in a good way. By the penultimate verse, the song has turned really nasty: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” In the first verse — the one we generally sing — there is only one reference to any value commonly associated with America: “land of the free.” By contrast, “home of the brave” is empty bravado. There is nothing in the American myth (let alone reality) to suggest that we are braver than anyone else.

No, “The Star-Spangled Banner” has got to go. The only question is, What should replace it? Here we have an embarrassment of riches. Let’s review some of the candidates.