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Ted Turner, the not-so-beautiful

Have you heard about Ted Turner’s latest idea? He wants to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem with “America, the Beautiful.”

Now, this is not particularly an original idea. People have been making such suggestions for years. Usually, however, the argument is made on a musical basis. Let’s face it. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not easy to sing. But that’s not Turner’s beef. He condemns the national anthem as a glorification of militarism and war-mongering.

I would love to debate Turner on this issue. I would be happy to do it right on his own network’s “Crossfire” show and demonstrate to one and all what a boob this man truly is. Why?

Well, my guess is that he has never even read the words to “America, the Beautiful,” let alone sung them. If he has, it’s hard to understand why he — a man openly hostile to Christianity — would choose as his national anthem a Christian hymn.

I imagine the debate would go something like this:

Farah: “Ted, would you sing the second or third or fourth verses of ‘America, the Beautiful’ for us, so we can all make up our own minds about this debate?”

Turner: “Ahh, ahh, ahhh, well, you see, ahhh … I, ahhh, I, ahhh, don’t like, ahh, to sing, ahh, in public, you see.”

Farah: “OK, I can understand that. I wouldn’t want to be pressed into singing on national television, either. Would you, then, just recite for us any of the lyrics after the first verse?”

Turner: “Ahh, ahh, ahhh, well, you know, I don’t think I could recite, ahh, all the words, but, ahhh. …”

Farah: “Well, that’s interesting, Ted, that you feel so strongly about the song, but you’re not familiar enough with the lyrics to recite even one verse for us. Can I ask you this? Have you ever read the words beyond the first verse? Do you have any idea what they are about?”

Turner: “Ahhh, ahh, ahhh, well, yeah, they’re about how beautiful this country is — the natural, ahh, beauty of the, ahhh, landscape, and, ahhh, about, ahhh, reverence for nature.”

Farah: “Not really, Ted. ‘America, the Beautiful’ is about how God has blessed this country not only with physical beauty, abundance and grace, but with freedom, rights and responsibilities under the law. It’s also about sacrifice — the kind of sacrifice Francis Scott Key well understood and wrote about so eloquently in ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ a love of country stronger than a love of self. Did you know, Ted, that this song is sung as a Christian hymn in churches all over America? How do you, as someone who has said that ‘Christianity is a religion of losers,’ feel about that?

Turner: “Ahhh, ahh, ahhh, well, ahhh, I, ahhh, apologized for, ahhh, that remark, ahh, many years ago. And, ahhh, I just think, ahh, that, ahhh, ‘America, the Beautiful,’ ahhh, better represents, ahh, our need as a country, ahhh, to, ahhh, respect our environment. Now, ahh, that the whole, ahhh, western hemisphere is at peace, ahhh, and, ahh, most of the world is, ahhh, at peace, that, ahhh, it’s time to change with the times, because, ahhh, brotherhood is, ahhh, a lot more important than military force, ahhh, and that’s what ‘America, the Beautiful’ is all about.”

Farah: “Well, Ted, to be honest with you, I love ‘America, the Beautiful.’ I think it is one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard. But to deny the role that military force has played in our nation’s history — in preserving our independence and freedom as a people — is ridiculous. In fact, Ted, you’re ridiculous. It’s amazing that anyone takes you seriously at all in this country after all the foolish things you have said and done — ideas like dumping “The Ten Commandments” in favor of some half-baked “suggestions” about loving our environment” and that the Chinese government had no choice except to murder those Tiananmen Square protesters in the street. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You have no idea about what is truly beautiful and unique in America. Furthermore, you have no moral authority and certainly no intellectual credentials to meddle in such a debate. After all, Ted, you’re one of those ungrateful louts who claim to be a citizen of the world rather than a citizen of the United States of America. Why don’t you spend your time dreaming up a global anthem with your friends at the United Nations and the Better World Society?”

With that attitude, I guess I’m not likely to be asked to host a show on CNN anytime soon. And I probably won’t get to debate Ted, either.