The Star Spangled Banner is not a waltz. It’s not a pop tune peppered with screaming and “runs”, it’s not a ballad and it’s not some smaltzy jazz tune. You will not find it in any hymnal. To be honest, it’s a reworking of an English drinking song about alcohol and sex called “To Anacreon in Heaven”. It is meant to be sung at a fairly lively tempo and military bands still play it this way. Stop behaving like it’s gospel. It’s not. A performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” is not a religious experience in any way. Performers didn’t really start smaltzing out on it until Whitney Houston turned it into a hit record during the first Gulf War. The song, and what we do during its performance, is a symbol of pride. And for a country that prides itself on Freedom of Expression, we must remember that people express pride in different ways and for different reasons. The cool thing about the good ol’ USA is that no one has the right to dictate how we express ourselves. We bang our chests about our freedom, so it’s important that we respect the freedom of expression of every citizen. No president has the power to contradict that, not even an Orange-Tinted Julius Caesar wannabe that wants to control the masses down to a very narrow scope of what we should all be. Honestly, I grit my teeth through every hackneyed “jazzed-up” performance of the song but I still tear up. I find the meaning. I tear up because of what we have, what we had and what we’ve become. Not all these tears are of pride. We can do better. Anyone that thinks these are the greatest days of the USA must suffer from the Opioid Epidemic. Get help. But more importantly, make the country, and more importantly the WORLD, a better place. Skin color, race, sexual orientation, religious choices, abilities, disabilities: they’re all insignificant. It’s not difficult: work hard, give more to the community than you receive, love and do good things. No citizen of the United States is a dictator. And no true patriot would ever aspire to be.