A modest proposal for a new National Anthem

by Kim on June 27, 2011

“With God on Our Side”
Bob Dylan
(1963)

This song has several things going for it as a National Anthem:

It accurately reflects American identity.
It succintly describes the history of what the US does best: kill people.
It is written by one of America’s greatest poets (who’s just turned seventy).
It is biblical, its title based on Romans 8:31b.
It is a good song for a sing-along.
The Dixie Chicks could sing it at the Super Bowl.
It would go well with gold medal awards at the Olympics.
It is almost right up-to-date, playing over the closing credits of Oliver Stone’s 2008 biography of George W. Bush, W.
Finally, contrary to international opinion, it proves that Americans can do irony — and do it bloody well.
All that is lacking is a verse about murdering Muslims. Perhaps we could have a competition sponsored by FOX news.

Here it is:

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the US [original: Midwest]
I’s taught and brought up there
The law to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The calvalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my llife
If another war starts
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side.

In a many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Earl 06.27.11 at 1:33 pm

No. One need only consider the source.

2

Richard 06.27.11 at 1:43 pm

Yes. One need only consider the source.

3

Hugh 06.27.11 at 3:16 pm

Does v2 really say “…the calvaries charged….”?

4

Richard 06.27.11 at 3:21 pm

Either St Bob is making a very strange theological point, or Kim has mistyped.

5

Ken Fletcher 06.27.11 at 4:17 pm

You really should include the verse he added later:

In the nineteen sixties came the Vietnam War
Can somebody tell me what we’re fightin’ for?
So many young men died So many mothers cried
Now I ask the question Was God on our side?

6

Kim 06.27.11 at 5:09 pm

Hugh and Richard: Oops! Corrected.

7

Kim 06.27.11 at 6:36 pm

Ken: where does the verse fit in? I’ll insert it. After which (pre-empting my suggestion for a competition for an up-to-date verse), how about:

Then to keep us all safe
A war in Iraq
And Afghanistan too,
My fellow necrophiliacs,
And with surges and torture
And a Nobel Peace Prize
The Muslims will know
Allah’s not on their side.

8

raggedclown 06.27.11 at 6:55 pm

The Vietnam verse was in fact written by Phil Neville of the Neville Brothers in 1988. Bob heard it and added it to his performances in that year. It’s less subtle than most of the other verses, and it doesn’t scan.

9

Pam 06.28.11 at 1:55 am

Definitely not
Your average bloke, he’s penned a
Lasting
Anthology of a
Nation’s angst

10

Thomas_L 06.28.11 at 7:12 pm

Doing what the United States does best: kill people? That’s sort of hilarious.

Are you wearing your Che t-shirt? Gee lessee then, Hitler 12 million, Mao’s regime killed 45-60 million, Stalin’s 20-30 million, Pol Pot’s 2 or 3. Islam’s death toll of infidels over the last 1400 years, if anyone kept track, may make those numbers seem insignificant. I think even Dylan may find your enthusiasm a little over the top. Good song though.

11

Earl 06.30.11 at 4:11 pm

“Are you wearing…” etc. Careful careful! Fact are so inconvenient!

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