White Tennessee Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen was incensed that Super Bowl fans did not stand in respect for what he called the “Negro National Anthem” during Sunday night’s big game.
As it has for the last several championship games, the NFL opened the Super Bowl with the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which many agitators have proclaimed to be “the black national anthem.”
Of course, it isn’t a “national anthem” at all, but regardless, Congressman Cohen was not happy that the video of fans in the stands showed that not many were standing as R&B singer Andra Day performed the popular song.
He quickly jumped to his X account to scold the fans.
“Very very few stood at Super Bowl for ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’. The Negro National Anthem. Not a pretty picture of Super Bowl crowd,” he wrote.
Very very few stood at Super Bowl for “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
The Negro National Anthem.
Not a pretty picture of Super Bowl crowd.,
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) February 11, 2024
Cohen’s odd “Negro” phrasing aside — one wonders if he wrote that sitting at a Walgreens lunch counter — his X post was immediately lambasted by those who oppose his premise that people should be standing during the performance of the song.
Cohen barked back at the detractors, claiming that he stands for both songs, and oddly added, “In Memphis, most do.”
I stand for both.And in Memphis, most do.
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) February 12, 2024
Cohen also promulgated the false claim that the “Star-Spangled Banner” has “verbiage” that “relates to slavery.”
“Well, I honor our national anthem and respect it as representing our country and in our pride in it,” Cohen replied to one X poster. “However if you look at the history and some of the verbiage, it does relate to slavery and not in a questioning manner.”
Cohen is wrong. There was never anything in the national anthem that “relates” to the practice of American chattel slavery.
Indeed, there was once a third verse to the song that contained the lyric, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”
But this line referred to the British Navy’s practice of kidnapping American sailors (called impressment) and forcing them to serve in the British Navy. It was not a reference to America’s “Peculiar Institution.” Impressment was one of the chief factors in the War of 1812, which the song was written to document.
Furthermore, that verse was no longer part of the song in the 1930s when it became our national anthem. It had been dropped by the 1860s, and by 1931, few even knew it existed.
Even left-wing site Snopes.com has said that the claim that the verse referred to American chattel slavery doesn’t really add up.
So, not only is Rep. Cohen uninformed about American history, he is purposefully using the song to divide America.