Articles

Garrison Keillor and the Pledge of Allegiance

Garrison Keillor and the Pledge of Allegiance
Profile photo of Doug French

keillorReprinted from DouglasinVegas.com16

Garrison Keillor performed that the Smith Center in Las Vegas a couple months ago and big part of the show, besides erudite wit delivered in his unmistakable smooth bass voice, was a trip into the audience to sing old songs with the crowd.

He evidently has continued these sing-a-alongs, as he writes in The Washington Postthis week. He’s been,

doing a dog-and-pony show that, among many other things, included me walking into the crowd and humming a note and the audience singing, a cappella, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty” and singing very well, sometimes awfully well, and if so, we swung into “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Love Me Tender” and two verses of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” including the one about sounding forth a trumpet and the jubilant feet.

I can attest that people get emotional when they sing together. It does indeed warm the heart,

when you stand in a crowd and sing about the purple mountains and the buffalo roaming and grace that taught my heart to fear and the Red River Valley, roses loving sunshine, singing in the rain and the bright golden haze in the meadow, it does pull people together no matter how they feel about the Second Amendment.

What he doesn’t write about is that he and Bob Dylan are both from Minnesota. During his Las Vegas show, Keillor tells the story (true or not) of Dylan running some lyrics by him, specifically, “lay lady lay.” Keillor told us, “I pointed out to Bob that ‘lay’ is a transitive verb” and thus to be grammatically correct, it should be “lie lady lie.”

Well, we know what happened, Dylan now holds the Nobel Prize in Literature.  In his column of October 25, 2016, Keillor writes, “Bob is embarrassed by the prize. He’s from Minnesota, he has a conscience. He has written a few good love songs and some memorable phrases and the Swedes have embraced him as if he were Homer, which he is not.”

Over the years I’ve wondered about the idea of pledging allegiance to the flag. I’ve been to enough Rotary Club-like meetings where saying the pledge is the first order of business, but can’t bring myself to mouth the words or place hand over heart. I figure standing and being quiet is enough.

I’m delighted Keillor feels the same.  He writes,

The Pledge of Allegiance is a mystery to me, promising fealty to a piece of cloth — and “to the republic for which it stands” — what does that mean? Am I granting my support of gerrymandering, suppression of voting, rivers of campaign cash to buy time on the airwaves that belong to the people? I said the pledge in grade school. I don’t say it anymore. You can’t make me.

Of course I would add I don’t support taxation, warmongering, regulation to strangulation, asset forfeiture, and every other government transgression against individual liberty.

In the October 2016 column mentioned above Keillor writes that the Mark Twain Prize for American Comedy Humor should go to someone who actually writes, because, after all, Twain was primarily a writer.  “He gave lectures for money to pay his debts when he was broke, but literature was his calling.”

Keillor then nominates Carl Hiaasen, “a wildly humorous author from Florida who writes his books all by his own self, he does not hire writers as many of the Twain Prize winners do.”

Having just finished Hiaasen’s “Strip Tease” I support Keillor’s choice wholeheartedly.  I pledge to you that Hiassen’s rollicking tale of strippers, government sugar subsidies, and rotten politicians will make you stand up and laugh, during the pledge of allegiance, if necessary.

Articles
Profile photo of Doug French

Douglas E. French is a Director of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada. Additionally, he writes for Casey Research and is the author of three books; Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money, The Failure of Common Knowledge, and Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Owenrship Myth. French is the former president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.

More in Articles

RothbardChalkboard

The Difference Between Austrians and Everyone Else — In One Easy Chart

Jesus Huerta de SotoAugust 31, 2018
thinker

Individuals, Reason, and Action

Ludwig von MisesAugust 30, 2018
city

Defending the “Gentrifier”

Walter BlockAugust 29, 2018
doctor

Understand How Insurance Works Before Debating Health Care Policy

Gary GallesAugust 28, 2018
Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 9.17.30 PM

The Stirring Elocution of Frederick Douglass

Lawrence ReedAugust 27, 2018
KarlMarx_Tomb_teaser

Marx’s View of the Division of Labor

Gary NorthAugust 24, 2018
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.39.12 AM

The Broken Window

Henry HazlittAugust 23, 2018
ECB Announces Monthly Rate Decision

Facebook icon LinkedIn icon Twitter icon An Eastern Democratic Union: A Proposal for the Establishment of a Durable Peace in Eastern Europe

Ludwig von MisesAugust 22, 2018
federal_reserve_te

Money Supply Growth Inched Upward in June

Ryan McMackenAugust 21, 2018

Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada Inc.
2574 St. Clair Ave West
Unit 1 Suite #181
Toronto, ON M6N 1L8

Any opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author and not necessarily held by the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.

Copyright © 2015 Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada, Inc. All Rights Reserved.