Few realize that the Star Spangled Banner actually comprises five verses -- the fifth an addition by Oliver Wendell Holmes at the onset of the Civil War:
When our land is illumined with Liberty's smile / If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory / Down, down with the traitor that dares to defile / The flag of her stars and the page of her story! / By the millions unchained who our birthright have gained / We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained! / And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave / While the land of the free is the home of the brave.
Perhaps not since the Civil War itself have the prescient lyrics fit our national dialogue so well, when the greatest threat to our country's liberty sits not offshore or at our borders, but within the very office designed to protect it. It is also a reminder, that through dark times, the nation has endured in the pursuit of its ideals,a and that endurance of principle alone, more than any words or hymns, is our national anthem.
Didn't vote for him? You and 256 million other Americans. The quintessential hashtag of the '16 cycle that promises to resonate as powerfully over the next four years as it has in the aftermath of election day. We won't wear out -- and neither will our protest's refrain.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." And so we live in MLK's legacy -- as the pestilence of prejudice finds its footholds, so must we find our voices. For if ever there was a doubt as to the unreason of racism, it is this simple truth: that out of Africa and into the streets, not one among humanity can trace our taproots anywhere else.
And so when the disengenues cry afoul to the chants of BLM that "All lives matter!" as if to invoke some enlightened salve, then we may declaim that if that was indeed their credo, then to defend all lives would begin with where all life began. So long as those among us who trace more modern roots to the source suffer the un-breaths of injustice, those with more distant ties might yet hear the voice of our common ancestor still latent within, screaming, that so long as even one among us remains subject to oppression, so do we all.