Here’s another faux freakout from the right. An elementary school principal in New York said no to kindergartners singing Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA at a graduation ceremony and the wingnuts are foaming at the mouth over it.
A controversial Coney Island principal has pulled the plug on patriotism.
Her refusal to let students sing “God Bless the USA” at their graduation has sparked fireworks at a school filled with proud immigrants.
Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, won’t allow kindergartners to belt out the beloved Lee Greenwood ballad, also known as “Proud to be an American,” at their moving-up ceremony.
It’s bad enough that they have a graduation ceremony for kindergartners, which always seems silly to me, but even worse that they would have the kids sing that song. It’s the single worst song ever written by practically every measure (yes, worse than Celine Dion’s Titanic theme).
It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags — which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.”
But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said.
She told the teachers to drop the song from the program.
“We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.
The curt edict stunned both staff and parents.
“A lot of people fought to move to America to live freely, so that song should be sung with a whole lot of pride,” said mom Luz Lozada, whose son, Daniel, is in kindergarten.
The song has been sung at previous school events. Last year’s fifth-graders, including another Lozada child, performed it at graduation.
“Everybody applauded and whistled,” the mom said. “They gave it a standing ovation.”
Yes, I’m sure they did. Because they’ve been raised on the same kind of shallow, childish nationalism that we drum into the heads of children to make them respond emotionally rather than rationally whenever the government tells them we need to invade or bomb the next country full of dark-skinned people who’ve done nothing to harm or threaten us. And Lee Greenwood’s song is a perfect way to send the message that you should not question your government or think too much about the country or the world.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: