Claim: Barack Obama said he would replace the U.S. national anthem with the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.'
[Collected via e-mail, April 2008]
Obama Explains National Anthem Stance
Hot on the heels of his explanation for why he no longer wears a flag pin, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama was forced to explain why he doesn't follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.
According to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10,Sec. 171,
During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.
'As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides,' Obama said. 'There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.'
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this could possibly be our next president. I, for once, am speechless . . .
[Collected via e-mail, September 2012]
Yes, he told us in advance what he planned to do. Few were listening.
The following is a narrative taken from a 2008 Sunday morning televised
"Meet The Press'.
From Sunday's 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, Televised "Meet the Press" the
THEN Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag.
General Bill Gann' USAF (ret.) asked Obama to explain WHY he doesn't
follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.
The General stated to Obama that according to the United States Code,
Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171...
During rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all
present (except those in uniform) are expected to stand at attention
facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Or, at the very least,
"Stand and Face It".
'Senator Obama replied:
"As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking
sides". "There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag
is a symbol of oppression.." "The anthem itself conveys a war-like
message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all that sort of thing."
Obama continued: "The National Anthem should be 'swapped' for something
less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like To Teach the
World To Sing'. If that were our anthem, then, I might salute it. In my
opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthem as well as
'redesign' our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love.It's my
intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our
Middle East Brethren. If we, as a Nation of warring people, conduct
ourselves like the nations of Islam, where peace prevails — perhaps a
state or period of mutual accord could exist between our governments
When I become President, I will seek a pact of agreement to end
hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity,
and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation, have
placed upon the nations ofIslam, an unfair injustice which is WHY my wife
disrespects the Flag and she and I have attended several flag burning
ceremonies in the past".
"Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the
United States and I have put my hatred aside. I will use my power to bring
CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path. My wife and I look
forward to becoming our Country's First black Family. Indeed,CHANGE is
about to overwhelm the United States of America "
Yes, you read it right.
I, for one, am speechless!!!
Dale Lindsborg , Washington Post
Origins: Back in October 2007, one of the hottest e-mail forwards was a picture capturing Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama standing in front of a U.S. flag (at an Iowa political event) with his hands clasped in front of him during the playing of the U.S. nationalanthem (while other persons on the platform with him stood with their hands placed over their hearts). This photographic brouhaha soon
mutated into a (false) claim that Barack Obama "refused to put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance" and then into the (even more false) claim that "he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance" at all (rumors which the Obama campaign soon provided evidence to negate).
While this controversy was all the rage on the Internet, political columnist John Semmens included a bit at the end of one of his satirical "Semi-News" columns (found on the web site of The Arizona Conservative) offering a mock explanation from Senator Obama about his non-hand-over-heart stance, poking fun at the candidate by having him voice the opinion that "the American flag is a symbol of oppression" and that the U.S. national anthem is too "bellicose" and should be replaced by something gentler like "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."
This bit of satire evidently came off as too believable to some readers, as it was excerpted from Semmens' column and forwarded via e-mail (without attribution) as a genuine statement from Senator Obama. However topical it might have been, it was just a bit of political commentary-cum-humor, not Barack Obama's own words.
In September 2008, this same piece began arriving in our inbox headed by the claim that it was derived from the 7 September 2008 airing of Meet the Press and naming the interviewer as "General Bill Ginn, USAF (ret.)" It goes without saying that Senator Obama wasn't among the guests on that day's show (those were Senator Joe Biden and author Tom Friedman). Later versions also attributed authorship of the message to Dale Lindsborg of the Washington Post.
The following (also fabricated) statement about flag burning purportedly made by Barack Obama was appended to later versions of the e-mail:
We should consider to reinvent our National Anthem as well as to redesign our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. My wife disrespects the Flag for many personal reasons. Together she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past, many years ago. She has her views and I
A similar (and similarly false) rumor emerged in March 2011 claiming that:
One of the referees (DNG) in our area was at Concordia College, St Paul,
MN this past week for the first MN high school girls' basketball games. In
the referee meeting prior to the games, the refs were all told they could
NOT put their hand over their heart during our National Anthem. DNG asked
if that was a new MN High School League rule. He was told that this rule
came directly from Barack Obama who does not want people, being paid by
the government, showing any signs of patriotism. At this time they are not
restricting the audience from doing that. Unfortunately, the refs all went
along with it and no one put their hand over their hearts on the
basketball court. Observe your state tournaments too. Please pray for our
(Referees for high school basketball games are engaged at the city/county/state school district level; they are not subject to federal regulation regarding their conduct.)