The use of the word "traitor" is appropriate in this case. Not merely because Rene Marie chose to sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing", but because while she had publicly agreed to sing "The Star Spangled Banner", she had secretly plotted to sing this bogus black national anthem. I call her a traitor because of her intent moreso than her actions.
Rene Marie was engaged to sing the Star Spangled Banner at Denver's State of the City event on July 1st, 2008. However, by her own admission, she had planned from the beginning to substitute "Lift Every Voice and Sing". Later, she explained her actions to the media.
Marie said she started working on the song about three years ago after she toured Russia and an interviewer referred to her as an American. She said she was "startled" by that reference and felt like she wasn't an American. "I struggled with why I felt that way when I came back to United States because I love living in this country," she said, adding that she decided to rewrite some of the patriotic songs she learned as a child, both as a creative outlet and to reflect her black heritage.
And her performance has now been documented on YouTube:
Criticism quickly erupted. People spewed their outrage on discussion forums like the ones on 9News.com, TheDenverChannel.com, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Denver Post (nearly 400 comments to date). The Denver Post is also running a poll, and 84 percent of respondents so far disapprove of the song switcheroo. Most notably, a number of commenters identifying as black are expressing their disapproval as well.
Noteworthy blog reactions include AngryWhiteDude and Michelle Malkin. Discussion on the Vanguard News Network Forum and Stormfront.
And as the outrage continues to build, Colorado politicians are breathlessly running to catch up with public opinion. Here's a statement issued by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper on July 2, 2008:
The City asked Rene Marie to sing the national anthem at yesterday's State of the City event. She agreed to do so, and she deceived us.
"Her actions showed a lack of understanding for how strongly our community feels about patriotic symbols and traditions, and overshadowed a day of great importance to our City.
"We all respect artistic license and support freedom of expression. But in a tradition-laden civic ceremony that included a law enforcement color guard presenting our flags and the Pledge of Allegiance - making a personal substitution for the national anthem was not an option. We asked for the Star Spangled Banner and that's what we expected.
"No matter what her reasons for taking this action and deliberately withholding her plans from event organizers, she absolutely chose the wrong time and place to do it. She knew what the City's expectations were, and she was dishonest about her intentions. She imposed her personal choices and their consequences on others - depriving our 12,000 City employees and community-at-large of an opportunity to have their collective accomplishments celebrated and leaving many in our community feeling disrespected.
We will do whatever it takes to ensure that a situation like this never occurs again, even if I have to sing the national anthem myself.
As we approach the Independence Day weekend, Denver - as always - is committed to the values that symbols like our flag and our national anthem represent."
By the way, just in case anyone is actually interested in Hickenlooper's State of the City speech itself, click HERE to read it.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter wasted little in time in jumping on the bandwagon with the mayor. During his monthly appearance on the "Mike Rosen Show" on KOA 850, Ritter criticized Rene Marie.
"If you invite someone to sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at an event, you invite them to do just that. The problem here is she was invited to do one thing, and she choose to do another thing. And that's unfortunate, for a variety of reasons. It's a fair interpretation to say it's disrespectful", Ritter opined.
Ritter added that as governor of Colorado, he's observed how people's facial expressions change when the national anthem is sung and that its singing is a tradition that has meaning for many people. "There is something about that anthem," Ritter said. "It is substantive and symbolic. It is about our country, and it is about a level of patriotism."
Even the Denver NAACP felt prompted to direct some perfunctory criticism at Rene Marie. Menola Upshaw, Denver NAACP president, said Marie erred in failing to make the mayor aware of her song choice. "If she promised to sing the Star-Spangled Banner, she should have," Upshaw said. "I think she knows the difference between Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing and 'O say can you see.'"
Commentary: What should concern us is that this is not some ghetto rat trying to make a statement. Rene Marie is part of the black elite - an elite that has benefited not only from our civil rights laws, but also from the positive discrimination in their favour via affirmative action.
Yet despite all the breaks in their favour since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many blacks are not satisfied. They weaponize their history to continue to leverage us for additional favors and bennies. Self-hating guilt-tripping whites continue to invent spurious doctrines such as "white privilege" and "white guilt" to emotionally blackmail white America into silence and even outright acquiescence. Whites are surrendering to black America without hardly firing a shot. And guilty above all is corporate America, which openly hires minorities AHEAD of whites in order to preclude aggressive Federal civil rights litigation.
And now we're faced with an absolutely unqualified affirmative action presidential candidate in Barack Obama. Can you imagine how blacks will behave towards us if Obama becomes president? Read the Turner Diaries and see how the black-led Human Relations Councils behaved in that mythical scenario. Many of you may shudder at the thought of reading the Turner Diaries because of your political conditioning, but it was written long enough ago that if you read it now, you will see that many of the projected events in that scenario are coming to past.
If the black elite don't feel like Americans despite all of the advantages given to them during the past 44 years, is there really any long term hope for successful integration? Responsible blacks are being outshouted and outmaneuvered by the opposition.