My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of kill ‘em all and let ‘em die. God bless Amerika, this ol’ godless Amerika.
These words were written and spoken by rap artist Lil’ Wayne in his song “God Bless Amerika,” which did not receive much attention until a video leaked from the set of the music video.
In the video, Wayne tramples on the American flag.
Some are calling his actions an “atrocity” or “immature” and even “plain dumb.” Twitter users say he should be “locked up” for being such an “idiot.”
I have news for you, America. Wayne cannot be sent to jail for his actions, and is far from an idiot when it comes to this song and symbol.
While other people screamed “’MERICA,” my pre-law mind did what my classes have taught me to do: immediately jumped to a court case.
In Texas v. Johnson, Gregory Lee Johnson did much worse than Wayne— he set the American flag on fire.
At the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Johnson was handed an American flag stolen from one of the targeted buildings during a protest, and when they arrived at Dallas City Hall, he poured kerosene on our Stars and Stripes and lit them up like the 4th of July.
Are you offended? The law does not care either way.
The Supreme Court ruled that Johnson’s act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Therefore, there is no way Wayne can be “locked up” for walking on the flag in a music video. “But Hannah, those lyrics are offensive,” you say.
You know what else is offensive? Most rap lyrics. And it does not stop me, and most likely you, from blaring them in our car.
The song may be offensive, but it has an honest ring to it.
We invade countries and kill their inhabitants, many of them civilians, in order to gain better access to the oil they harbor. I’d consider that stealing, would you not?
Now look at Wayne’s lyrics. Is America “godless” and is America “the land of kill ‘em all and let ‘em die”?
I think we covered that.
So if you feel that strongly about it, go use your protected speech. Make a music video of yourself belting “America (My country ‘tis of thee)” with the right lyrics, waving that flag like you mean it.
Then send me a copy so I can laugh at it.
Hannah Schilling is a senior journalism and political science major from Bossier City who serves as editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to hms...@latech.edu.