October 21, 2011
SAME OLD SONG, YET WITH (AT LEAST FOR SOME) THE SAME UNDERLYING MEANINGS
Daniel K. Richter, Before the Revolution: America's Ancient Pasts (Cambridge, Massachusetts, & London, England: Belknap/Harvard U. Press, 2011) ("Just as German-speakers and English-Speakers have made peace, Lutherans and Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Episcopalians, Quakers and Baptists have long since come to terms. Yet Gottlieb Mittelberger's horror at the mingling of 'Separatists, Freethinkers, Jews, Mohammedans, Pagans, Negroes, and Indians' still strikes a familiar chord. Citizens of the United States have long since ceased singing 'Rule Britannia' and 'God Save the King' (although many retain a peculiar fascination with the current royals and the the replacement lyrics of 'My Country 'Tis of Thee'). Yet those who would combine a crusading spirit with patriotism in the name of conquest still evoke, as did George II in 1739, 'GOD's Assistance in so just a Cause, . . . to assert their undoubted Rights of Commerce and Navigation, and by all possible means to attack, annoy and distress a Nation that has treated his People with . . . Insolence and Barbarity.' A crusading strain of Christianity linked to the expansion of state--and persistent effort to label both as necessary qualities of those who love freedom--lies deep in the historical bedrock of the twenty-first-century United States." "Even deeper lies patterns of racial exploitation. . . ." Id. at 418. Ah, 'the past is never real past.').