Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene dismiss national hymn push for ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’
Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked the Black National Anthem. Image via AP.

Gaetz Greene Rally
'We only have one national anthem and I'm not a racist.'

Amid a push to make official the status of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the national hymn, two Republican members of Congress dismissed the notion Thursday.

Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene spent several minutes slamming the song known as the Black national anthem on Gaetz’s Firebrand podcast, suggesting it wasn’t worthy of veneration and arguing no one knew the song anyway.

The bill (HR 301) cleared the House Judiciary Committee this week, and appears likely to pass on the floor of the House of Representatives this month. But not with “yes” votes from Gaetz or Greene.

“My belief is that we are one country,” Gaetz said. “We pledge our allegiance to one flag. We sing one anthem. I pray to one God, other people might not, but that’s my thing.”

“The notion that we would, like, erode the meaning and significance of our national anthem with the Black national anthem as the national anthem is crazy,” the Congressman continued.

Gaetz dunked on Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler, saying that he should have “demanded that he sing the Black national anthem for us.”

“He would need the sheet in front of him,” Gaetz crowed.

Greene offered her own hot takes explaining her “no” vote on the House resolution.

“We only have one national anthem and I’m not a racist. So I don’t know why I need — why we need to elevate one race over the other. We’re all one nation under God. And that’s the only anthem. We have one flag. And that’s what’s being anti-racist, when we don’t divide ourselves into groups, into races, into identities, ideologies, genders, 50 genders or whatever there may be. That’s how we avoid those things, by being one nation with one flag and one anthem.”

“What about ‘Amazing Grace’? That’s a song people know,” Gaetz agreed. “A hymn implies an element that is maybe not fully reflected here.”

Gaetz and Greene urged a poll on “whether or not it’s beloved” at all, with the latter suggesting “most people have no idea what it is” about the song.

The song has a Florida connection, written by brothers James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson of Jacksonville. The city renamed a prominent downtown park in honor of James Weldon Johnson last year in recognition.

The song was first performed in Jacksonville, sung by school children in 1900 at the then-segregated Stanton School in Jacksonville.

During previous House hearings, people testified to the specific meaning of the song, and its importance for Black Americans historically and in the present day.

Dwandalyn R. Reece of the National Museum of African American History and Culture described the groundswell the song created in the Black community in the decades it became central to cultural canon.

“It quickly began to make its way through communities in the North and South. It received a public endorsement by Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee University, and by 1919 had been designated as the official song of the NAACP. By the 1920s you could find copies of the song inserted or pasted into the hymnals of Black churches across the country,” Reece asserted.

NAACP Board of Directors Chairman Leon Russell noted that advocates “do not call for this great hymn to supplant or replace the national anthem.”

“Although the song speaks to the Black experience, any American who has experienced oppression can relate to its words. Although written in the heart of Jim Crow America, it was adopted as the NAACP hymn at a time when on average three to five Blacks were lynched every day in this country, the song admonishes us not to lose faith. It inspires us to be uplifted,” Russell said.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


6 comments

  • Or that

    April 7, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    “I’m it racist”

    Your not friends with a guy who’s had his fingers in a kids pie too

    • Frankie M.

      April 7, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Two things you never wanna hear come out yo mouth unless you’re a comedian or Chris Rock….I’m not a racist but…or…I have a black friend. But then again gaetz & mtg are both a joke.

      • Right turn

        April 7, 2022 at 3:13 pm

        I bet when they run through the park every black man goes the other way Because they know they will pull a Central Park five

  • PeterH

    April 7, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Republicans are proud of their two House clowns and their long list of zero accomplishments.

  • RichardInJax

    April 8, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    I wonder if Gaetz or Greene object to the song “Way Down South in Dixie” which has served as an anthem of the White South for 150 years. I imagine not. They object to Black people having an anthem that unifies them with America though. Perhaps that’s not racist but whatever it is it’s damn sure just as bad.

  • Brass Biscuit

    April 10, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    Another straw man heroically slain, to the enthusiastic approval of airheads everywhere. Greene and Gaetz expect appreciation for their brave service.

Comments are closed.


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