America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad
America the Beautiful
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
America the Beautiful
1st and 2nd verses,
Catherine Lee Bates
I sang these verses in a somewhat quavery but fairly on-key voice to a high school auditorium full of people at a town meeting called by US Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich) after 9/11. One brave lady in the crowd sang with me.
One of the panelists invited by Rivers, a moderate and well-respected member of the Ann Arbor Muslim community was Rabih Haddad. Mr. Haddad was taken from his Ann Arbor home by US officials on December 14, 2001, terrorizing and traumatizing his wife and young children in the process. Haddad was then held without charges, mostly in solitary confinement, for 19 months. The ranking Democratic member (and now chair) of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-Mich), was refused admission to Haddad’s hearing in Detroit for purported reasons of national security. Following a great deal of public demonstrations, controversy, and criticism concerning the government actions, Haddad was then secretly deported. The Ann Arbor News withheld the information about his impending deportation from publication for several days at government request.
I was inspired to write this by:
I Love America by Shirley Buxton.
This is my response to Shirley:
Is this the America you love?
- Secret trials and secret prisons?
- Torture, rape and murder as instruments of state policy?
- No more habeas corpus?
- A Government which contemptuously disregards the Geneva Conventions?
- No right to a lawyer, a trial by jury or even the right to know the charges against you?
- A President who has utter contempt for the Constitution and the law?
- A Nation that attacks without provocation, and lies about the putative reasons?
Shame on you, Shirley Buxton.
The patriots and ‘founding fathers’ you pretend to admire were, in fact revolutionaries who took up arms to overthrow a repressive government. That’s why we call it the American Revolutionary War! Furthermore, the original Pledge of Allegiance you quote was written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy in 1892, and did not include the words, “under God”. This phrase was added by Congress in 1954 during the height of the McCarthy repression.
Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.
Give me liberty or give me death!
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy