Patriotic Copyedit

A few years back, during Desert Storm I believe, there was a popular song in heavy radio rotation called "I'm Proud To Be An American."

This song, while rousing and heartfelt I'm sure, contained an error - an error which brings me no pleasure to point out, but which I am nonetheless duty-bound to acknowledge and address.

Refrain, verse one: "And I'm proud to be an American . . . where at least I know I'm free. . ."

"At least?" Why the qualification? The implicit message there is that our republic is flawed in many ways, but redeemed by that one characteristic. While this may well be true, I don't think it's what Mr. Greenwood had in mind.

Saying ". . .at least I know I'm free" is like saying "Well, it was a pretty bad train wreck, but I'm confident they'll find my legs around here somewhere." Sort of faint reassurance, in my opinion.

So I propose a change. Instead of "at least," why not say something like, "always"?

". . .And I'm proud to be an Ameri-CAN . . . where I *always* know I'm free. . ." -same syllables; just as majestic.

Just a suggestion.

It's not easy, you know, copy-editing cherished American fight songs, but I feel it's my duty as a citizen. Someone must speak up. Someone must right our wrongs. Someone must be there always, crossing the "T"s and dotting the "I"s on the jingoistic jingles that galvanize a nation.

And I, for one, stand ready and willing to judiciously wield the red pen of justice.

1 comment:

penelope said...