'God Bless America' is the target — not Kate Smith

Wikimedia Commons

Here are a few statues that actually exist:

  • A bust of Che Guevara glaring at a hillside in Bolivia.
  • A statue of Lucifer in Madrid, Spain, and another in Belgium.
  • There are statues of Karl Marx, Stalin, and Lenin all over the world, including a statue of Lenin in Seattle.
  • Same goes for Mao Zedong, who is responsible for roughly 30 million deaths.
  • Just outside a former ghetto in Warsaw, there was a statue of Hitler kneeling in prayer. (It sold for $17 million at Christies in New York.)
  • There's a monument to a fascist soldier in Chicago that was gifted by Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini adored.
  • A large statue of a naked man standing on naked women in a cemetery in Brooklyn.
  • There's a statue of a policewoman urinating in Dresden, Germany.
  • There's the infamous "Manneken Pis" statue in Brussels, which features a little boy peeing into a found and is, frankly, hilarious (they dress him up in little outfits depending on the season or holidays).

RELATED: Recent Yale study proves the left's racist outrage is an act of projection

Here's a list of things that have been branded racist in the past couple of years:

  • Dogs/dog-walking.
  • 911 calls.
  • TSA's body scanners.
  • Classic literature/philosophy.
  • Milk.
  • Knitting.
  • Being cheerful.
  • Not being cheerful.
  • Friendliness.
  • Not being friendly enough.
  • Libraries.
  • Clowns.
  • The Avengers.
  • Diets.
  • Infant mortality rates (that one comes from none other than Kamala Harris, by the way, who tweeted that "implicit racial bias is one critical reason that the maternal mortality rate for Black women is three to four times higher than white women." She blamed maternal mortality rates on racism.)
  • Makeup.
  • Personal space.
  • Vikings.
  • Potatoes.
  • Inclusion.
  • Burger King commercials.
  • Okie-doke hand signs.
  • Rainbows.
  • Compliments.
  • Childbirth.
  • House plants
  • Nail polish.
  • Bacon (The New York Times made this flawless argument in an article titled "Donald Trump is Trying to Kill You").
  • Trying to improve racial tensions.
  • Not focusing constantly on racial tensions.
  • Mentioning racial tensions.
  • Existence (if white).

I could list of examples of perceived racism all day, because that seems to be the new standard: Everything is somehow racist. Every facet of life. Frankly, it's exhausting.

And, as you know, there's an incredible amount of overlap between statutes and perceived racism. I don't have to give you any examples, you already know what I'm talking about, but I will say that they've included Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, Abraham Lincoln, and Joan of Arc, among many, many others.

The most recent example is as unexpected as the whole "walking your dogs is racist" claim. And, honestly, whoever made the claim clearly did some expert-level research. They worked really hard to find this so-called racism.

But it's also a little more nuanced than most of the above examples.

The controversy centers on a statue of Kate Smith, a singer who once called "the Songbird of the South," who gained fame in the 1940s for her rendition of "God Bless America."

Smith's achievements are awe-inspiring. She performed for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, at the White House shortly before the start of WW2. Ronald Reagan bestowed her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She's been credited helping defeat the Nazis thanks to an 18-hour broadcast in which she helped CBS raise over $100 million in war bonds.

And, for decades, both the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers played her version of "God Bless America" at home games. The Yankees had featured it in during the seventh inning since 9/11. The Flyers even had a statue of Smith outside their stadium. She had become the team's good-luck charm after she performed "God Bless America" before Game Six of the 1974 Stanley Cup finals, and the Flyers won.

Suddenly, Smith became known as a racist, undeserving of a statue, destined to be canceled and forgotten.

But this month, all of that changed. Suddenly, Smith became known as a racist, undeserving of a statue, destined to be canceled and forgotten.

The statement reads:

The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with 'God Bless America,' as performed by the late Kate Smith...But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.

The songs?

"That's Why Darkies Were Born" and "Pickaninny Heaven."

"Pickaninny" being an archaic derogatory word to describe black children. She performed the song in the 1933 movie "Hello,

Everybody!" In the scene, she devoted the song "a lot of little colored children living in an orphanage" and sang of how "great big watermelons roll around and get in your way" and "luscious pork chop bushes bloom right outside your doorway."

As for the other song, "That's Why Darkies Were Born," well, have a listen for yourself:

Kate Smith - That's Why Darkies Were Born - 1931 youtu.be

Lyrics:

Someone had to pick the cotton/Someone had to plant the corn,
Someone had to slave and be able to sing/That's why darkies were born.
Someone had to laugh at trouble/Though he was tired and worn,
Had to be contented with any old thing/That's why darkies were born.

Based on that, it looks pretty bad for poor ole Kate Smith. But, as we see more often, the cries of "racism!" are in fact deeply ignorant, based on little more than emotion and sycophantic outrage.

Because the song, "That's Why Darkies Were Born" is purely satirical, as part of the 1931 Broadway revue "George White's Scandals" as a satire of white supremacists. Smith wrote the song with Paul Robeson, actor and civil rights activist. Robeson's father was literally a runaway slave.

Worse yet, both songs came at an early point in her career, in the 1930s, a time when works of satire like these were considered controversial, even dangerous, for the opposite reason. They are just two, largely insignificant, songs of the roughly 3,000 that she recorded over the course of her career.

Kate Smith's niece told USA Today:

Aunt Kathryn really did not see color. She didn't see a person's color. She was very in tune with a person's character. I've always thought that was a model, to not see a person's color but to see their character. And this is why I'm incredibly sad.

The message is clear: the left's outrage machine knows no bounds. Anything, even the fight against actual racism, can be deemed racist.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.